Through conversations with my fellow Clean Reads authors, I had the chance to read Julie Fugate's Betrayal, the first book in the Kings of Renown series. I didn't know what to expect when I started the book, but came away quite impressed with the characters.
The story follows three teens, high school outcast Tara Cox, the daughter of a man involved with criminal activity; Inara Mason, a young girl who believes her father controls her too much; and Leo Price, a former juvenile delinquent trying to follow a better path. Their lives become entwined, each finding a connection through a seraphim angel, and eventually come together to untangle a bigger mystery about why the three teens are all connected to one another.
The book does a great job of mixing drama, romance and spiritual theme with a dose of the paranormal. Though it takes a while to build to events that show how the three teens are connected to one another, the character development keeps you drawn in. Julie does a great job making Tara, Inara and Leo sympathetic characters, the type of people that younger folks, and even older folks, can relate to.
The book does follow Christian themes but it doesn't engage in preaching. Rather, they are mixed into the story and focus more on the fellowship between people rather than heavy-handed talk about morals. The focus on fellowship allows for the relationships between the characters to be the emphasis of the narrative.
Though it's billed as the first book in a series, the events in Betrayal are wrapped up well and hardly any loose ends remain.
Those who aren't big fans of romance or spiritual books may not be interested in Betrayal, but anyone who enjoys a good story with strong characters will like this one. It's the characters, by far, that make this book work.