Have you ever finished a book and been just left with: “WOW!” I just finished Beloved the last of the Crystor Series by C.K. Bryant and… WOW! This was such a highly anticipated book for me and I was a little leery because of other books that I looked forward to which have been a disappointment. This was NOT the case here!
But let me back up a bit. I read Bound and Broken almost 2 years ago and was devastated when I realized the cliffhanger ending did not have another book to follow it yet. So I waited… and watched and when the book didn’t come I did what I always do – I tracked down the author. I found her blog and instantly fell in love with her. She is a sweet soul and we share a faith in God that I could feel through her blog writing even more than her stories. The other thing we had in common was unfortunate: she was very sick and she had finally gotten up the courage to admit publicly that she was suffering from the same disease I have struggled with for years – depression. My heart cried for her. I no longer worried about the book coming out, but about her as a person. I wrote encouragements on her blog (along with many other people) and told her not to worry about letting her readers down but to just concentrate on with whatever it took to heal. I prayed for her and from that time on I followed her blog out of concern for her as a person, not just the author of a fabulous series.
Not long ago her blog took a new path. She was beginning to feel better and even write again! What amazing news! This last book was released April 13th and I praise God for it… not the book (though it is AMAZING) but that C.K. Bryant is well enough to write again. What an answer to many prayers (mine and so many others).
So now to talk about the entire series: These books are incredible! They go beyond the realm of “paranormal” and well into “fantasy.” I say this because there is a completely different world involved. Despite trying I simply cannot write about this story without talking about the Christian allegories I found.
Reading these books after praying so long for C.K. Bryant’s health gave me “lenses of faith” through which I saw the books afresh. As I re-read Bound and Broken, and then especially Beloved this changed how I saw the relationships that were portrayed in the books. I couldn’t help but consider the similarities between those and the relationship we can have to Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father.
Even the book titles took on new meaning: Bound - we were once bound in sin, Broken - we come before God with a broken heart, Beloved - we are now His beloved people.
I don’t think Bryant intended the story to be taken as an allegory because there are many places where the picture is only partial, but here are some of the things I saw anyway:
In my mind Octavian is a type of Christ. No, he’s not perfect as Christ was, but he does come down to Kira's world and save her… taking her to his. Then some of that falls apart because in Heaven we will not have to continue to battle our demons as Kira does. However, the relentless pursuit of his bride is a beautiful picture of Christ. No matter how many times Kira messes up or pushes him away Octavian looks only to love her and protect her. He wants what is best for her regardless of the price to himself.
I especially like the scene when Octavian’s father tells everyone that despite their broken hearts Octavian must hold up his bargain to leave everything he loves and go serve another king. I can almost hear the heartbreak of God giving up His Son to fulfill the necessity of the cross. And despite the pain, Octavian goes. I see the family who grieve for this as Christ’s disciples who did not know if he would ever come back. Of course in this story Octavian doesn’t think he will ever come back and it is only through the mercy of the king to whom he is pledged that he does (see… the allegory does break down in some areas - but that doesn’t mean it didn’t give me little glimpses.)
I also love Kira as the bride. She is like us. She is weak and has little faith at first but through adversity she is made stronger and most importantly it is through sharing in Octavian’s blood that she is given gifts and has the ability to grow into a strong warrior.
So as far as Christian allegories go that’s about all I’ve got. I would highly recommend this series to anyone – they are well written and have a great plot as well as good strong morals. Two thumbs up from me!