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The Sea of Monsters
Rick Riordan
Paladin of Souls
Lois McMaster Bujold
Batman: The Night of the Owls
Scott Snyder, Judd Winick, Justin Gray, David Finch, Peter J. Tomasi, Pat Gleason, Tony S. Daniel, Scott Lobdell, Duane Swierczynski, J.H. Williams III, Jimmy Palmiotti
Nightwing, Vol. 2: Night of the Owls
Kyle Higgins, Eddy Barrows, Ruy Jose
Comes a Horseman - Robert Liparulo A rash of seemingly ritualistic murders are being investigated by the FBI, but the connection between the deceased isn't clear at first. A man believing himself to be the antichrist attempts to prove to a "council" (dedicated to welcoming the antichrist) that he is indeed the man they have been waiting for, hoping to secure more of their trust and resources. All religious conspiracies worth their ilk are connected to the Catholic Church. This story is no exception.

I liked this more than The 13th Tribe, and people wanting to dip their toe in this genre might appreciate this one more than The 13th Tribe because it focuses less on debating about the nature of God and more on a religious conspiracy that's spanned back many generations. The story wasn't anything extraordinary for this one (where as The 13th Tribe did have a story that was different), but it is fast paced and engaging and presents an interesting POV on prophecies and the lengths that people will go into to secure their own safety even if it seems excessive.

The author has a bit of a formula for causing his characters to descend into the realm of uncertainty about their religious convictions. Seems his formula of choice is having someone close to the character die in a car accident due to a drunk driver and having said driver get off because something went wrong with the judicial process. So, the protagonist doesn't outright hate God, but the relationship has suffered from what is viewed as a betrayal from someone who supposedly loves and protects His own.

With that being said, I appreciate how the author tries to handle this as realistically as possible. He acknowledges through his writing that a person's relationship with God can be just as complex, just as much of a struggle, as relationships between people. And in the case of Alicia who is agnostic, she doesn't suddenly become on fire for God, but the possibility that she could is left there for the readers. The book doesn't condemn her for being agnostic or try to argue that this way of thinking is wrong as some Christian books do. It seems to illustrate the fact that the choice, the relationship, is up to the individual.

There were some loose ends and dangling plot lines that were highly unneeded, though. The Pip storyline that had taken up a great deal of the novel fizzled out to nothing. One of the councillors of the organization seemed bent on proving the new "antichrist" is a fraud, but that petered out to nothing. And it's not that I'm against these dead ends, but they weren't ended in a graceful manner. They were just cast aside and forgotten.

Also I wasn't feeling the whole idea about there being a group of Vikings who hated Christianity so much that they spent generation after generation helping the people who are trying to find the antichrist. They don't share any religious convictions with those people. I just found it hard to swallow that the Vikings would be that willing to help on the merit that Christianity equals bad. It wasn't explained well enough to make me believe, and the Viking himself just seemed out of place in the story when looking at the overall big picture of it.

I wasn't really sure how the guy claiming to be the antichrist actually found out about the council or that such an organization existed since I wouldn't think this would be something he could easily find out. And the ending was mostly a letdown after spending so much of the book on such a frantic note. But I still thought this story was much more engaging than The 13th Tribe.