Whether it was the Rifter, or John, or Jath’ibaye, it no longer mattered. They were all one. At the center of both of Kahlil’s lives was his dedication to that single man who was his deity, ward, friend, and lover.
Warning: this review contains spoilers pertaining to the previous installments
. Any further spoilers pertaining to this book is placed in tags.
I approached this book with trepidation. It is by far the most difficult installment to read in The Rifter trilogy, because readers go into it knowing there is still a gaping hole of knowledge that has yet to come to light. Kyle’s story is a lot of “telling.” John’s story is a lot of “showing.” And while we know from the previous books, or have the gist, of Jathibaye’s
history (i.e. who he is, what he’s done, and his current role in Basawar), we now have to experience it. Some may argue that foreknowledge gives us the strength to face our obstacles. Does that make it any easier to read His Sacred Bones? Hell no.
Most of this final book is John’s story. Only the final 30-40 pages continue the cliffhanger ending of Kyle when he reaches the northern ruins. Furthermore, the portion pertaining to John’s story involves him being separated from Ravishan for the majority of the time. This may be a turnoff for the romantic in all of us, but it actually works in this case.
So the majority of the book chronicles John’s introduction to the Faidum, his awareness and awakening to the Rifter’s power and immortality, his ascension to power, and Ravishan’s fate (at this point, we know what happens; we now experience it). And let me say again: this was one of the most difficult things I have ever read. We all remember John as the ecology major in Nayeshi. We’ve seen him murder Dayyid in order to save the most important person in his life. And now, we have to witness how he becomes the man who destroyed an army in one day, ascended to power as a ruling force rivaling the seven houses, and caused the cataclysm that destroyed the Payshmura Church. It was a constant ache in my heart – the guilt and weight of responsibility from one who never wanted to hurt anyone when life was simply just paying the bills. To be responsible for the death of thousands when he could never imagine even just one prior to Basawar. We see how John fights so hard to claim humanity, then try to emulate it knowing he is anything, but. It broke my heart many times over. What readers were missing up to this point was John’s evolution from humanity to God’s incarnation, and now we get it. Therefore, Ravishan’s absence for most of John’s story actually worked. The action was intense and struck me breathless – my brain was numb and I could literally feel my heart palpitating! Ginn Hale depicted scenes of violence and destruction better than anyone I know.
And then there’s Kyle’s story: the conclusion to this fantastic adventure that crosses both boundaries of space and time. Everything happened quickly – emotions crest to a terrifying peak and the impact of such colossal forces threatened to overwhelm my literary senses. I dare any reader to not feel sympathy for even the “bad” guys involved. I wanted to hate Laurie, but I couldn’t. She was right, Basawar offered nothing, but pain, violence, and loss to her
. I was torn to shreds, because I wanted a story where EVERYONE had a happy ending. But that is not so.
Don’t worry, Kyle and John get their HEA. But this vast journey left a trail of destruction and death in its wake. Lots of people died to get to this point in the story. I can’t think of even one loose end – it seemed like everything had an answer one way or another. I personally don’t believe things happen for a meaningful
reason in real life; that yes, there is cause-and-effect, but that doesn’t mean there has to be some divine reason for something shitty to happen. However, if there is one person who can make me believe, it is Ginn Hale. I hated how certain things had to happen, but by the end I accepted it. That in the world of Basawar, perhaps there is
a Parfir who makes us go through the pain of experiencing these sad events, because they are necessary in the bigger picture.
The third book also offered a Christmas coda for readers. It was later posted online for everyone else to read here
. It was a nice, short read and thought it was a nice extra for readers who want just a little bit more of John and Kyle.
So this concludes my review for The Rifter. I know I keep saying this, but this series is not just a “good” read. It is an experience, and one that I feel very grateful for having. Because not many stories can pierce your heart and stir your soul like a spoon in a bowl of alphabet soup – where it wrecks you with the spectrum of emotions that rivals any rainbow after the storm. John and Kyle may not be up there with some of the more popular M/M pairings out there(i.e. Toreth x Warreth, Hsin x Boyd, Vadim x Dan, Laurent x Damen), but to me they are truly my favorite. Because love like this that defies space, time and death deserves remembrance and a permanent place in my heart.