Title: Sins of the Messiah
Author: Jaye Valentine, Reno MacLeod
Cover Artist: Reno MacLeod
Publisher: M&V Tailz
Genre: Paranormal M/M, Urban Fantasy
Length: Novel (51,000 words, 125 PDF pages)
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Review Summary: An incredible journey with a lot of symbolism, combined with a mind blowing adventure in a world where anything goes.
In the year 2029, the world becomes a better place thanks to one man.
Malcolm Wilder, a brilliant but unassuming university student, engineers an inexpensive solution to our dependence on fossil fuels. The new energy-for-everyone economy ushers in an era of world peace, and creatures once thought to be the stuff of legend decide they can safely reveal their existence to mankind.
A decade later, Malcolm is a corporate giant living in exotic Dubai. His business partner and lifelong friend, Levi Tanner, is concerned that Malcolm isn’t taking adequate time to enjoy his fame and fortune. Levi convinces Malcolm to accompany him to Mortal Sins, an entertainment complex catering to people seeking adult recreation with various supernatural species. Malcolm soon discovers that the world still has problems of Biblical proportion, but as all Hell seems about to break loose, an unlikely visitor brings the world an unexpected message of hope.
Sins of the Messiah is the re-edited version of two previously released books: Messiah I & II – 3 of Cups and Page of Wands. 3 of Cups was reviewed on the site almost a year ago but I didn’t review Page of Wands because I was advised by the authors that they were going to reissue both books as soon as publishing rights reverted to them. This is my review of the newly released book.
The world before the emergence of our hero, Malcolm, was not a happy place. There were predictions in 1970 about setting up colonies on the moon and a manned mission to Mars, control of the weather to eliminate drought and famine, and the eradication of cancer and other diseases. None of this ever came to pass. Instead, oil was king and the oil barons in the Middle East held the rest of the world hostage. By 2020 dependence on fossil fuels and other global crises had run the world economy into the ground. 10 years later when everything seemed grim and there appeared to be no hope, 20 year old Malcolm Wilder, a brilliant MIT student, figured out how to harness hydrogen power and create and distribute it cheaply. The contrast between the before and after Malcolm world was remarkable. There was no more energy dependence on the oil rich nations and the wealth of the world shifted.
However although Malcolm was a brilliant scientist and deserved all the accolades heaped on him it seemed reasonable to assume that other forces were at work which helped bring about this radical improvement in the fortunes of many nations in the world, and it soon became evident what and who was behind his incredible accomplishments.
In the meantime, almost without being noticed, there was an interesting development when in 2031 vampires, weres, angels, demons and other supernatural beings who had lived on earth all along, figured it was safe to come out. At first they lived in peaceful co-existence with humans, but things changed soon after.
Shortly after his 30th birthday Malcolm’s best friend, Levi, persuaded him to take some time off from working 24/7 and go with him to Xanadu Island. When they arrived at Mortal Sins, a night club on the island, although he was impressed by the mind blowing technology and pleasures provided by the supernaturals, it wasn’t until Mal saw Suki, a demon and his designated companion for the next 24 hours, that he knew he would never be the same.
Sins of the Messiah is the story of how one man changed the fortunes of the world but was himself manipulated and controlled both in his personal and business life. Everyone around Malcolm had an agenda, even his best friend Levi who had lived with him almost all his life but about whom Malcolm knew practically nothing until it was too late. The threads woven throughout this book showed how secrets were kept from Malcolm because he failed to recognize he had been duped and who was pulling the strings.
Sins is not for the faint of heart and if you’re squeamish about blood, or if religious themes bother you, you may want to give it a pass. Also there’s shifted sex between Malcolm and some of the other characters so be warned if that’s a turn-off for you. However, if you love urban fantasy and duplicitous, volatile, in-your-face characters, amazing world building, and a plot that contains many surprises and keeps you on the edge of your seat, as well as an incredible and imaginative ending, you will appreciate the complexity of the story. The ending reminds me of Armageddon with the accompanying fire and brimstone.
This novel has some of the most impressive world building. The world was painstakingly crafted – it was dark but enticing and at times it was brilliantly lit and so awesome that I had to admire the authors’ ingenuity. The characters were just as impressive as the world, in addition to being complex and conniving, and just when I thought someone was not redeemable he showed qualities that made him seem capable of love.
Their attention to detail and excellent characterizations are always selling points for me with these authors and here the characters are wonderfully drawn even though some of them are extreme. This writing pair loves to take historical characters and turn them around on a dime into full fledged living, breathing, three dimensional people and they seem to have a gleeful zest for shocking readers with their portrayals of biblical figures by showing us their feet of clay and frailties. Sins of the Messiah is reminiscent of movies that star likable heroes but the villains steal the show because their personalities are so compelling and vibrant.
The story is brilliant, the characters are complex, the plot is original and pushes the envelope in every direction and I loved that there were no sacred cows. This was a 5 star read for me because of the complexity of the plot and characters as well as the prose, even though some of the characters were over the top and the violence was excessive, at times verging into horror, however that’s a trademark of Valentine and MacLeod. There were many characters that deserved special mention, among them Levi who was depraved but he loved Malcolm although he was like everyone else taking care of No. 1. Suki the demon was another well drawn character, both good and evil, loyal to a fault – you’ll have to find out where his loyalties lay. As for Malcolm he was also well drawn, but despite his intelligence and genius he was unaware of what was going on around him which made it easy for others to control the agenda, and I thought that Levi was much more dynamic and complex. The most remarkable figure was Lucifer but you will have to read about him since anything I say in the review will be a spoiler. I probably don’t need to mention there is a lot of sex, because you’re probably aware of that if you have read any books by MacLeod and Valentine. 🙂
Sins is highly recommended if you like intense, suspenseful plots with characters who defy logic but still make you believe in them.
Sins of the Messiah is the first book in the series and I can’t wait for book 2.
Discretion advised for readers sensitive to religious themes and graphic violence.