As readers, we sometimes take chances on books outside our comfort zone. It may be with a new author, writing style, series or genre, but whatever the reason, we take a chance and hope we won't regret it in the end. Then, there are times we confidently dive into a book with preconceived notions that it's going to be an incredible read. It doesn't always end up that way, but what a treat when our instincts prove correct. Shiri, by DS Taylor, falls into the latter category. From the moment I read the blurb and talked about it HERE, I knew I'd love this book. I was right.
Shiri is a brilliant historical fiction novel about triumph over tragedy. Set in ancient
during the reign of the Pharaohs, Shiri, a shepherd girl witnesses the
murder and destruction of her family and village. Against all odds, she sets
off on a journey for revenge, justice, and in the midst of war, and
enslavement, finds love and hope. Egypt
's writing style that captivated me from page
one. He is an excellent writer who crafted memorable characters that I easily
fell in love with, while also writing despicable characters that I wanted
to see die a long and painful death. But another one of Taylor 's strengths was the dialogue, well written, and
witty in all the right places. Even his descriptions were a joy to read. They
were rich and vivid but never overdone. And he was able to describe violent fights
and sex scenes in great detail without becoming grotesque or overly graphic. Taylor
Shiri was one of my favorite characters in the book, smart, strong-minded, brave, determined, loyal, everything I like in strong female protagonists. However, I do have one mini rant about the book and it has to do with the first five words of the novel which are (SPOILERS): “She was born a woman . . .” I cringed when I read that line. I still do. When I read it I imagined giving birth to my first child and the Doctor looking up from between my legs and saying, “Congratulations, it’s a woman!” David, you know I’m a big fan but, we are not born women, we are born girls or female if you want to be dry and technical and later mature into women. End rant.
The other thing I want to mention is that the book was divided into three parts. The first two focused on (SPOILERS) Shiri and Josef. I was completely wrapped up in their love story to the point that I had trouble transitioning to Part
III of the book. I felt as though I had to put Shiri in the background to
shine the spotlight on another character, Tiye. And at first, didn’t want to
care about Tiye’s character and even fought it for a few pages . . . but, the
story and Taylor’s writing, won me over once again and I quickly saw how
important this storyline was going to be to Shiri’s character, and guess what?
I fell in love with Tiye and her story as well.
Lastly, as a writer I understand as far as the plot is concerned, you can’t ‘put it all in there.’ Proper storytelling and editing compels you to get rid of unnecessary scenes that don’t drive the plot forward. However, there were two scenes that never really made it into the book that I would have liked to have read. (SPOILERS) The first was Josef’s reaction when Shiri told him she was pregnant. And second, the moment Shiri held her daughter in her arms for the first time. As I read, I anticipated these scenes in particular. It may be in part because I’m a mother, and these moments were very important in my life, but regardless, I remember being a little disappointed when these two moments were glossed over or written in as afterthoughts. Again, I understand you can’t write in every moment into the story, I’m simply reflecting a sentiment I had as a reader.
In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It was a compelling story, brilliantly executed, and I highly recommend it adults who enjoy historical fiction filled with action, adventure, love, and wonderfully crafted characters.