Reviewed by Joseph C. Posner for Readers' Favorite
A Matter of Blood is not the type of literature one would expect for a retelling of one of the Bible’s most well-known parables, but in her latest novel Lauren Salisbury produces a well-executed story which articulates Jesus’s message in a fantastical world. The book’s protagonist
is Jake Amarel, who leaves his family pastureland behind to make a name for himself in the big city – Berlath. Jake is an aspiring inventor, whilst his family members possess powers which allow them to manipulate energy and matter. Seeing as Jake has been adopted, he does not harness the same abilities as his father or his brother, Nathan. Jake’s time in Berlath is fraught with danger and difficulties, and all the while, the sense of estrangement from his family pushes him to make decisions that have severe consequences. Will Jake survive the Berlath underworld unscathed? Will his family reconcile with him once they see the path he has taken?
The most successful aspect of Salisbury’s work is her world development. The fantasy elements are craftfully blended and the reader immediately enjoys the presence of creatures such as Mammoxes and Flurtoos. This is a credit to the author who skillfully utilizes the genre to convey her story. A notable issue is the pacing of the book. In some places the story takes too long to unfold, whilst other parts – such as the twist near the end – could have been dedicated more pages. This book is engaging and entertaining, whilst Jesus’s powerful message of reconciliation is cleverly interwoven into a vibrant fantasy world.