Today I'm handing over the blog to Carrie-Grace. Hope you all enjoy!
That was a cool read, yes. But the second book. *inserts drumroll*
From the Dark to the Dawn totally edged out all the previous books on my favorites list. *sends them off to Lady B for comfort* A classic tale combined with copious research and tight plotting make this one of the best books I’ve seen by a modern author.
In the final battle between Queen Boudicca’s Iceni warriors and the Roman soldiers, the Romans capture a boy and his chieftain father in the aftermath of the battle, forcing them to take the long trek to Rome as slaves. Only Philip is the wrong sort of boy to enslave, and his poor Roman captors would have done well to leave him alone. In his anger at their cruelty, Philip vows that his slavery will not last forever and that one day he will destroy Rome’s tyranny. When he and his father arrive in Rome, a Roman lord, Marcus, decides to buy Philip as his personal attendant. The tension between the two quickly escalates as Marcus determines to break Philip, and Philip determines that he won’t be broken. But when Philip beats up Thallus, the brother of Marcus’s fiancée, his master surprises him by his leniency. Thallus retaliates by challenging Marcus to pit Philip against one of his Goth slaves in a wrestling match. Philip’s indulgence from Marcus depends only on his ability to win, and soon he rises quickly in the favor of his master and of his master’s friends.
But his prosperity is not to last. His enemy, Thallus, dares Marcus that his slave will not kneel before him, and immediately Marcus commands Philip to do so. When Philip refuses, Marcus administers a harsh whipping with his own hands. Determined now more than ever to free himself, Philip runs away, stealing his master’s purse and cape as he leaves. But he cannot allude Marcus forever, and in his desperation, he seeks refuge with a Jewish bread maker—a follower of the Christ God. At first Philip scoffs at the man’s beliefs, but when Marcus finds him and sentences him to a life of disgrace, he visits the Jew again and surrenders to his God.
His life of Christianity will not be easy. Even as he seeks to witness to his master, Marcus increasingly hardens himself against the message of the Gospel. And he is determined to crush Philip’s newfound faith no matter what it takes.
Will the darkness in Rome ever give way to light?
First of all, the amount of research behind this book was incredible. All the little details from the togas to the culinas *pins Gold Star on you if you recognize those* pull the reader into the setting and make the book come alive. These must have taken years to find, because Alicia effortlessly weaves the setting into the plot, making it a part of the story. You can tell how much she loves her time period and her characters. Everything is well thought out, and the plotting is very tight.
And then her character arcs. *happiness* My personal favorite was Marcus’s. I have an unfortunate weakness for villains, and his story arc satisfied me completely. My favorite part was [Scene Near the Middle of the Book]. Mmm, yes. You must read that bit. I think Alicia did well in not portraying Marcus simply as a heartless villain—she made him sympathetic to the reader, especially in his family relationships.
One of the things I loved about Philip was his passion for Christ after his conversion. He served the Lord tirelessly in sharing the gospel and in serving in the Roman church. His courage in the face of persecution always amazes me every time I read it. Even his weaknesses before his conversion became his greatest strengths after his conversion.
Beric was a wonderful father. A gentle man, yet strong in his leadership. He helped Philip in his transition from a chieftain’s son to a slave and supported and rebuked him whenever necessary. And Daniel was nice too, along with Cleotas and Moriah. *hugs all the charries*
But Thallus. A villain in the truest sense of the word. Do not like him, peoples. He is not at all worth your time. *shudders and hands you dark chocolate instead*
One of my favorite parts about these characters is how they were true to life. After their conversions, they didn’t act perfectly—they still struggled with purity and courage for Christ under Roman persecution. Sometimes they’d misunderstand each other or lose their tempers during stressful moments. They provided an accurate portrayal of the sanctification process which I loved.
In conclusion, peoples, three profound, thought-out words. Ready?
Read This Book.
And I hope you’re blessed by the reading of it. ^_^
Carrie-Grace McConkey is a homeschooled teen living in Michigan. Memorizing Scripture is one of her passions, and she also enjoys inductive Bible study, using many of the tools she's learned from participating in the National Bible Bee. Her interests include sketching, writing, scrapbooking, and Cinderella.