Book Review: Sacrifices

Sacrifices, A Life of Death 3, cover

I hope that everyone is having a good week so far, regardless of how one is spending it.

Even though I have been having a little troubles getting things recently, I am still kind of glad that I can do what I enjoy and that I have a resource, other than sites like Project Gutenberg, that I can get a title or two from.

For quite some time, I have been waiting on a title that I requested a review copy of to arrive, and I had received it just when I thought that I had only one or two books left, as the first of three preordered titles also came.

Today, I will be reviewing that title that I asked for, which is called Sacrifices by Weston Kincade.

Alex Drummond has been leading a fairly peaceful life, or at least as peaceful as it can be for a homicide detective in a small town, and has become a fairly respect figure in society, while keeping his unique talents under wraps.

However, when cremated remains show up that gives Alex vision of people who were somehow involved with drugs and rumors of a gang forming at his alma mater turns into trouble, Alex finds himself and his family in a dangerous situation that may lead to the suffering of the many residents, as well as themselves.

I must say, I really liked this book.

From the very moment that I opened up this book and started reading it, I did not want to put it down for any reason, though I do have to satisfy the same needs as every other human out there.

Weston Kincade, ever since I read his early works, back in the year that I originally got the domain I use today, has been able to capture my attention and maintain it throughout the duration of the time that I have spent reading his stories, regardless of what kind of errors he made or typos he and the people helping him overlooked, and this book, his most recently released work, is no different from those titles.

If I had to say why, it is because his writing style is fairly entertaining, unlike many of the books out there that get labeled as classics or masterpieces, and he is able to create images in my mind, as well as many other things that I expect from somebody that I would consider great, as opposed to a joke.

All of this comes together and helps thing feel more like I am watching movie, and one that Hollywood cannot seem to produce anymore, than a actual book.

Readers of fiction want to be able to escape reality temporarily, just like moviegoers, and the fact that Weston has been able to do this time and again really shows that he understands what is important to have have in any work of fiction, regardless of the genre is it called, and that he has not yet lost his edge like many other great writers that have lived and died have experienced.

Seriously, if people could deliver something more like this these days, we might have more people that could truly stand on the same stage as Agatha Christie, Jun Mochizuki, and Hiromu Arakawa, though the latter two do more manga than prose fiction, which Weston mainly creates.

Unfortunately, the writing industry is just like any other business out there, so they will put out something that can sell more often than they will reject a piece of writing with a big name attributed to it because it truly did not deserve to be published, so until readers start demanding more quality works, nothing is really to change.

Still, Weston Kincade and the many other great writers that are alive today should receive praise for what they do right, because they need all of the encouragement that they can get, and I kind of hate when I have to deal with things like the Yu Yu Hakusho movie, where the negatives were so bad that I could not find anything that I liked.

I also liked how things did not feel dragged out.

In the country where I live, which, other than the UK, seems to be the only major country that produces book that get film adaptations, a lot of the series produced here feel like they are being dragged on for no reason at all towards the end of the trilogy, with Veronica Roth's Allegiant of the Divergent series being one of the worst offenders, and this pattern has turned me off to more than half of the series being released today that are not manga.

Here, however, Weston seems to have broken that often repeated pattern by actually producing something that I am proud to call a sequel to A Life of Death, and much more so than the The Golden Bulls.

While, as noted by Scott Rhine in the book, this was not a coming of age story, it seems to have everything that I liked about the first book in the trilogy, with how realistic, interesting, and believable the characters were and never really added in anything unnecessary.

Yes, other than the visions of the deceased that Alex and Jamie have, there is nothing that really connects the three stories together, like many of the popular trilogies out there, but I think that is why Weston was also able to accomplish something that very few, if any, writers could accomplish before him, which is to produce a great finish.

I had my doubts as to whether or not Weston could even pull this off, even if I did believe that he could do it, and because he was able to do this, I feel like giving him a major round of applause.

Another thing that I liked was how I was misled while reading this book.

As many of the regular visitors should know, I have read quite a few books in the detective, mystery, and crime fiction genres, and my experience with those kinds of works help me to notice the elements of detective fiction that Weston had incorporated in the second book in the trilogy.

However, those elements and the fact that things were as easy to predict as they were ultimately led to its downfall, because I did not any of things that I expect from Agatha Christie's work or series like C.M.B., Q.E.D., and Detective Conan, the latter of which I regularly here, as there are things that are supposed to be present, regardless of whether the work is a whodunit or not, and one of those important aspects is misdirection.

In this book, on the other hand, Weston wrote the story in a way that I thought somebody else was involved in Alex's case because the one that was believed to be responsible was thought to be dead, and made me think that Weston could potentially make a name for himself in the field of crime fiction, if he so chose to try his hand at it, especially considering that not all works in that field are considered whodunnits.

Unfortunately, Weston has no interest in dethroning either Agatha Christie or Dashiell Hammet, writer of The Maltese Falcon and creator of the Continental Op, according the interview I had with him back in 2013, so this is probably as close as I will ever get to seeing him do something like this and I am just fine with that because I want him to write the story that he wants to write.

Still, it is always impressive when a writer can improve over the course of their career, and I feel like giving Weston a ton of applause just for that reason.

Hopefully, Weston does not peak with this book, because I do not want him to turn into the same kind of joke that John Grisham became around the time he wrote The Whistler, even if I know that Weston's abilities will decline, just like Agatha Christie eventually became unable to write anything as decent as what I read from her so far, though I am glad that I have yet to read her worst work.

The thing that I liked the most though was how I felt like crying at the end of this book.

Now, it is not unusual for people to cry when their favorite series have comes to end, and Weston knows very well that I am a fan of A Life of Death, but I am not usually a person that gets bothered by the fact that a series ended, as I know that things usually get worse if they go on for too long, which is a big reason why I tend to avoid the shows made and aired where I live.

No, the feelings of feeling like I was about to cry were because of things that could only be found in the likes of Clannad, Narcissu, and Planetarian.

While people might complain about how Narcissu is rather clichéd, though that does not mean it is bad, and the staff at Key writes things that are essentially pointing at something and saying it is sad, people in general cannot really feel sad about something unless they are given a reason to feel sad or sympathsize with the characters or others, and that is a big reason why fiction gives me more insight into humans and why we behave we do more than actually talking to people, since people are not too happy with my mostly introverted self.

When we try to make people feel sorry for others, we often tell them to put ourselves in their shoes, thinking that will make the individual understand what that person we want the other individual to empathy for is going through, but, according to an online post by Sen on Calm Mind Down, this does not really work because we are still ourselves and we our projecting our current level of consciousness onto others, instead of really trying to understand others, which is why I am annoyed when people think I am heartless for not falling line with the status quo. After all, I have strengths that people cannot even dream of because they are so used to how they are living now, and if I did not have the limitations that I do now, I would just feel weird instead of happy, even though there are one or two things that I never happened to me.

To really understand people and feel empathy for them, we need to understand things from their perspective and what their strengths and weakness are, and that is something that Weston has been able to do fairly well, even in the worst works I have read from him, which is thankfully not bad enough that I would rip him a new one.

The official summary of the book, which can be found at the link provided before I actually went into the review and the book itself, suggests that something major is going to happen in this book, and, because of it, I expect for there to be some heartbreaking moments, even if they are not on the level of Yusuke Urameshi's wake, or even Ushio Okazaki dying soon after Tomoya decided to raise her, and the way that Weston delivered things towards the end really delivered by showing that Alex was in pain because of the events and that he was not strong enough to do what needed to be done.

If he had not done things like this, I would not really get the reason why Weston named the book what it is named, and I probably would have been more disappointed in this title than the second book in this trilogy, not to mention that he would have failed just like many other writers had.

However, because things were they way they were, I feel like giving Weston another major round of applause. I might not be in a position to say that Weston Kincade is the greatest writer who ever lived, and he probably would not think he is either, but this is why I think he is one of the best out there.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, especially if I do not want to spoil things too much for those that have not read the book yet.

Because my attention was held from beginning to end, things did not feel as dragged out as things normally do in the last book of a trilogy, Weston was able to mislead me, and I almost finished this book in tears, this was one of the best books I have read.

Although I did like the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, such as typos or things that were not really that important, but I wish were explored more, nothing really bothered me too much.

As a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth mentioning.

Considering there was so much to like and nothing all that bothersome, this was definitely worth reading.

I recommend this to fans of Weston Kincade, A Life of Death, as they will like this the most.

As for everyone else, this is worth giving a try, as none of the titles in the trilogy really requires knowledge of the other titles, though it could help a bit, and it is one of the few books out that actually ends a trilogy properly.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon or buying the reviewed title via the link provided toward the beginning of this post, which would actually help both Weston and I, so that I continue finding more worthwhile reads for you guys, and doing whatever you do when you find something that impresses you.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.