I’m going to start by saying that I’m not really a fan of Christian allegory. I’ve read some great ones (e.g. Chronicles of Narnia and Streiker's Bride) and some that really missed the boat for me, both in terms of story and allegory (e.g. Streiker's Morning Sun). So I was a bit apprehensive when I picked How Sweet The Sound up and realised it was allegory.
I had nothing to worry about.
Justin is the grandson of the King, and has been betrothed to Christina since he was a boy. They have only met a few times, as she lives with her parents to the distant island of Terranin. But trouble is afoot, and the King sends Justin, along with bodyguards Gabe and Michael, on an undercover mission to discover what has happened, and to find Christina and bring her back. When Justin’s small group reach Christina’s home, they find it abandoned, her parents murdered, and Christina living with Lucien, the self-appointed Emperor of a now-depraved and deprived land.
I found Christina very annoying at times with her reluctance to trust Justin and her unwillingness to leave Lucien's 'protection'. But that's the nature of an allegorical story about the relationship between Christ and the church. There are no real surprises in the plot in that it follows the biblical record, but it's interesting to think about the way the author has chosen to portray this in an allegorical fantasy.
The story is told in a rather distant third-person point of view, almost omniscient. I don’t usually like this style, but it worked here because the story is almost like a fairy tale, set in a faraway land with a handsome Prince trying to win the hand of the fair lady. There were some editorial issues (e.g. telling, head-hopping, typos and paragraphs that were too long for the Kindle screen), but nothing that distracted from the story. It should be noted that there were some scenes that, while not graphic, means that this is an adult novel.
Overall, I enjoyed How Sweet The Sound a lot (especially the ending). It is well worth reading.
Thanks to Meredith Resce for providing a free ebook for review.