Title: The Left Hand of God
Author: Paul Hoffman
Publication Date: January 1, 2010
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review: I received a copy of this book through the First Reads program on Goodreads.com. At first, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the book or really even what to expect after reading the short teaser description. I started off very intrigued and was quickly sucked into the world that Hoffman created for this first novel in a series.
I was worried that I wasn’t going to like the book because the title and first couple of chapters made me worry that it was going to be religious fiction, which is not really my cup of tea. But as it turns out, the religious aspect is a catalyst to the story and instead it seems (from this first book at least) that it is more a criticism of blind religious zealotry (while also providing interesting critiques of other aspects of society as other groups of people are introduced).
This book definitely had all the elements that keep my attention: dystopian themes, a fantasy setting, conflicted characters, and, at times, a seemingly anti-hero protagonist. The setting is a timeless one, as many arguments could be made both for the idea that it is in the future and that it is set in the past – which really allowed me to set that question aside and just focus on the story.
The author’s use of language to describe what is happening is excellent. He uses unique metaphors so I had little trouble understanding the tastes, smells, etc. of things that only exist in the world of this book. I also had no trouble vividly imagining the various battle scenes – while they aren’t overly-described, the descriptions are just enough to get a clear picture without slowing down the action.
I would say I had a hard time putting down this book and the only reason it took me a week to read it was that I was busy and didn’t have as much time to read as I would like. I definitely recommend to anyone who likes fantasy novels, especially with dystopian overtones.