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    Steven James
    Thomas Nelson / 2019 / Trade Paperback
    $10.99 Retail: $16.99 Save 35% ($6.00)
    4.5 Stars Out Of 5 12 Reviews
4.6 Stars Out Of 5
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4.8 out Of 5
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Value:
4.8 out Of 5
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4.7 out Of 5
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Displaying items 1-5 of 12
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  1. Age: 35-44
    Gender: Female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Thinking Thriller
    October 21, 2019
    eLynda
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    What do we do when tragedy strikes--can our faith handle it? Are self-cognizant artificial life forms really alive? Can an android truly understand and worship God, be forgiven of sin, be saved? Perhaps these deeper questions of existence are not ones a reader typically encounters in a suspense novel set in the not-too-distant future, but Steven James' new book asks us to consider these and many other questions.

    This book immediately jumps into the action, with the main character, Kestrel, experiencing a personal tragedy followed closely by a terrorist attack. It leaves her struggling with many important questions despite her pastoral vocation, allowing the reader to explore the weighty topics alongside her. The physical pain, emotional trauma, and intellectual battle are all portrayed in what I felt to be an authentic manner, sometimes disturbingly so.

    Running parallel to the personal story is the larger mystery of the terrorist attack, and the race against the clock to prevent another. At the same time, there is a question about what the newly developed technology is, kept a closely guarded secret until the official unveiling at the press conference.

    The futuristic technology was convincing, and close enough to current scientific trends to be frighteningly plausible. Their power for good--and for evil--is spot on; as the main character thinks early in the novel, "And technology is a clock you cannot turn backward." So how far, as a society, are we willing to push, knowing that bad will come along with the good?

    A word of caution to those who may be sensitive to certain situations: Kestrel is a single female pastor of a Methodist church; Nick is a divorced federal agent; alcohol is consumed on numerous occasions, but drunkenness is never portrayed. The book does contain violence, to be expected in a suspense thriller, but it remains non-graphic. I really appreciated that this book remained clear of language despite its realism, something that has been creeping into even the Christian market lately.

    Overall, this is a fast paced, relevant suspense novel that takes the reader on a breathless ride at the same time it asks us to think about what makes us human. The answers are not given to the reader, but contemplation is unavoidable, and I loved that additional layer to the futuristic suspense that this book delivers.

    I received a review copy of this book from the publisher through Celebrate Lit but was under no obligation to post a positive review. The opinions expressed are both honest and my own.
  2. Davenport,Iowa
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    would we really like robots with AI
    October 19, 2019
    Thereadmaster
    Davenport,Iowa
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This review was written for Synapse - eBook.
    This was a spooky idea for a book. Would we really want robots with artificial intelligence that were so real looking that we couldn't tell they weren't human? In this time robots could even be taught to feel pain. Some people love the artificial intelligence and others are fighting back. I loved the characters. This book is well written and makes you really think about whether robots with AI have a heaven of their own. I love how this author portrays his answer. I received a copy of this book from Celebratelit for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
  3. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    What Does The Future Hold?
    October 18, 2019
    Deana
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    When I was growing up it was hard to believe that in the future I would live in an era where cell phones were so small they could fit in the palm of your hand or laptops that you take with you and were able to connect with a click to the web. I remember watching The Jetsons and thinking how cool it would be to have flying cars that whisked you away to your destination. With the above mentioned subjects, the author has given us a glimpse into a world that isn't that far fetched of what it could be like in ten or twenty years in this wonderful display of creativity.

    The book may not be for everyone but I really enjoyed reading the story and letting my mind imagine what would happen if we had "Artificial robots that helped us through hard times. Kestrel is a pastor of a church who is grieving the loss of her child. I know people will say she was in sin because she had a baby out of wedlock. What the story portrays is a look at sin in a different way. I wasn't sure at first where the author was taking us. As I began to learn more about Jordan, I understood how the author took something that wasn't suppose to have emotions and gave Jordan everything a human could feel.

    Jordan's curiosity about God was one that many of us have wondered before. Why would God allow bad things to happen and watch His people suffer? Can Jordan really experience everything a human does? With technology taking leaps and bounds everyday, it is not too far fetched to have an Artificial pop up in the market place. Do you remember when a test tube baby was unheard of? The author expands our thoughts and allows us to question our beliefs. I found the story to be emotional at times and loved the secondary plot of a terrorist threat. The twists at the end are unexpected and really enhanced the story.

    I don't want to ruin anything that may give the book away so I will leave you with these thoughts: The story is rich in faith and really takes a look at the question many have asked. Is God real? In this thought provoking science fiction book we are able to look past what we can see and get a sense of what it is like as characters experience faith, grief, forgiveness and hope.

    I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
  4. 4 Stars Out Of 5
    A pretty good book
    October 15, 2019
    Patti P.
    Kestrel, her AI Jordan, and Nick Vernon create an interesting trio to read about. I found the story to keep my interest and attention. The idea of reading a book set in the future with artificial intelligence, and suspense made me wonder about what the book would be like. As a conservative Christian, I had to broaden my ideas to accept a female pastor, but the storyline really worked at some points. However, the idea of a devastating event forcing a Christian to step away from his or her faith is completely believable.

    Jordan, the AI, poses thoughts and questions that cause Kestrel to stretch her ideas and beliefs. The multiple storylines caused me to occasionally lose focus and interest in the book.

    So if you want to read a book set in the future dealing with artificial intelligence and the future, check out this book for yourself.

    I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.
  5. NJ
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: Female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    captivating and thought-provoking
    October 13, 2019
    MJSH
    NJ
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    "Life is so precious and brief and fleeting, and... experiencing all that it has to offer without despairing at its brevity truly did lie at its heart."

    Wow, what an incredible and powerful sci-fi thriller from Steven James! This is the first book by the author I have read and I am stunned by his creativity, his flawless execution of a detailed and complex plot, and his seamless and emotion-packed writing style that grips you from page one and doesn't let go. The philosophical, spiritual, and social questions and dilemmas the author raises through an intensely personal look at a world 30 years into the future, where artificial intelligence is so advanced to look human, will linger days after you finish the book. This thought-provoking novel about the essence of human-ness - addressing grief and suffering, faith and hope, love and forgiveness, and the afterlife - will resonate with everyone, not just fans of sci-fi or thrillers. It is one of the most captivating and stirring novels of 2019 and an absolute must-read.

    The story is written in multiple points of view:

    1) first person narrative from Kestrel, a Methodist pastor suffering from losing her daughter

    2) third person present omniscient narrative from Jordan, Kestrel's artificial companion and

    3) third person narratives from Nick, the police officer tracking down domestic terrorists, and a couple of the villains/terrorists working to violently destroy the next innovation

    The multiple points of view bring the plot together on a larger scale and enhance the reading experience rather than confuse or detract. The three major characters Kestrel, Nick, and Jordan are multi-layered and well-developed and their interactions truly tug at the heart-strings. Who would have thought that interaction between an artificial intelligence and a human would bring tears? But be prepared. Jordan is nothing like any robot you've met and he WILL make you cry.

    I received a copy of the book from Thomas Nelson via Celebrate Lit Tours and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.
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