Book Review: Reign: The Chronicles of Queen Jezebel by Ginger Garrett

reign

From the moment her marriage to prince Ahab thrusts her into the intrigues of palace life, Jezebel’s exotic beauty opens doors and her will breaks down walls. Torn from her homeland and wed to power in a strange country, Jezebel vows to create a legacy and power all her own. Some might call her a manipulative schemer, bent on having her way. But they don’t know the whole story, and she was much, much worse. As she moves through the halls of power, her heart struggles between devotion to the gods she worships, the prince who loves her, and her thirst for revenge. She sparks a battle between her strangely powerless gods and the God of palace administrator Obadiah — a God who confronts her with surprising might. She will fight, though victory may cost her everything.

Given to me in ebook format via www.netgalley.com.

Slight downside with this ebook edition in that the text was very small and with no easy and reliable way, whilst reading on a kobo at least, to increase the text size or spacing to anything more comfortable. This made it a slower and more painful to read than I would have liked. It was easier to read on a laptop using ADE’s magnifier, but since this is not available on a kobo – and the book not available to upload to an ipad with magnification – it sort of negates the practicality of an ebook. If you have any kind of vision issues, this book *in this current format* is not appropriate for you.  As to the story itself:

The focus of the story changes between Jezebel, Obadiah the Chief administrator of Israel, and Ahab the prince of Israel and Jezebel’s betrothed.

Jezebel is the unwanted child of a pair of twins born to the high priest of Phoenicia and is brought up knowing that she is unloved by both humans and gods alike. The book starts with her sacrificing her sister – the family favourite – to the gods at the direction of her father.

Ahab is the uncouth son of a mercenary, the latter having fought his way to become King of Israel. 17 years old, Ahab has been a fighter as long as he can remember, and has killed more men than he cares to count. He is to marry Jezebel in order to consolidate the union between Israel and the Phoneticians

Obadiah is the son of a prostitute and a drunk, but is more finely bred than Ahab, better dressed and rather more sensitive.

The differences between Phoenicia and the much younger and poorer Israel are well described – Jezebel has grown up in a much more prosperous country, whether she realises it or not, and is shocked and disappointed when she is sent to a country still at war where all the palaces she lives in are built for defense rather than comfort and affluence.

Other differences soon come to light – Jezebel worships her gods, which means regular child sacrifices to keep them appeased. Obidiah worships Yahweh. Elijah the prophet has warned Ahab not to bring Jezebel to Israel, and when he does, Yahweh condemns Israel to several years of famine. Once Yahweh releases Israel from famine and drought, Ahab – previously ambivalent as to which god to worship – follows Yahweh much to Jezebel’s disdain.

Over the next years, Israel becomes stronger under Yahweh and Ahab. Jezebel attempts to consolidate power and a dynasty for her and her sons, but never realises that she could be happy. She becomes more maternal towards her third child than she did to her previous two, and doesn’t realise that she loved Ahab in the end.

Whilst I did like the book, I feel that in being such a high level story, it did tend to be a little shallow in parts. I know that Garrett is trying stay within the realms of the narrative presented in the Old Testament (which doesnt allow much leeway for much digression from the story presented to us), but I came away feeling that I could have had just a little bit more….

For those that are not of a religious bent this can be read without fear of being preached at or sermonised to. Those who are seeking a little reassurance within their faith will also be able to take some comfort from this book.

 

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