As an orphan, Thomas Cale finds himself in the care of the Redeemers, a dark religious group who value strict penitence reinforced by torturous punishments but aren’t above indulging in pedophilia. The Redeemers are not taking in unwanted children out of kindness but with the not so hidden agenda of training an army. Led by Cale, a rag-tag group of friends escape from the Redeemers to make their way on the streets of Memphis. As Cale grows into his abilities as an unexcelled warrior, the Redeemers are keen to get him back but he has no intention of returning to those who abused him no matter what it takes. Along the way Cale is befriended by IdrisPukke who educates his palette while teaching manners and expanding his worldview.
Although the premise of this series is sound with its gapping holes in the plot, Hoffman’s execution is nowhere near strong enough to successfully pull it off. The fast-paced action doesn’t make up for flimsy character development as demonstrated by the lack of explanation for things like how a lowly bastard boy is suddenly transformed into a major league fighter. While the first part of the book focuses primarily on Cale, the continued unpredictable change of character perspectives is disruptive to the flow and will leave readers floundering as they try to follow along. The overall tone is dark and gritty but without a depth of world building, this tale fails to adequately hold the readers attention.
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