Thursday, July 20, 2017

Review: Atheists Who Kneel and Pray

Atheists Who Kneel and Pray
by: Tarryn Fisher
Published: July 13, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Yara Phillips is a wandering muse.

She dates men who need her, but always moves on to something new, never staying in one place for very long.

David Lisey is in need of a muse.

A talented musician lacking lyrical inspiration. When he first sees her, he knows he's found what he's been looking for.

Yara believes she can give David exactly what he needs to reach his full potential:
A broken heart.

David’s religion is love.

Yara’s religion is heartache.

Neither is willing to surrender, but religion always requires sacrifice.

5 Stars

“Please forgive me for leaving. I don’t know how to be what you need and I’m afraid you won’t let me try.” 

Writing a review for a book that you make 36 (woah!) highlights in is complicated, it's obvious this book spoke to me in ways other books do not. Then again, it is Tarryn Fisher, and she is one of my favorite authors for a reason. She wrote the books that I recommend to my friends repeatedly, she wrote Mud Vein, the novel that changed everything for me, and now she's written Atheists Who Kneel and Pray, which is decidedly not a religious novel. What it is about, though, is love, and how dedicated a person can be to something when they are in love. They will do anything for that love, they will move mountains for it, and they will worship that love like one does worship in a church.

" I felt his voice. It moved something in me. But, I wasn’t going to do that again. I was done."

It is impossible not to sing praises about Atheists Who Kneel and Pray, a romance novel like no other. Fisher briefly left behind the world of romance to bring us Bad Mommy, a psychological suspense novel that delved deep into the character's psyche and motivations, and while AWKAP similarly features Fisher's skill at bringing to life a character's soul, it is in a much less dark fashion. She makes you sympathize with the villain, feel anger towards the heroine, and fall in love with the hero who stayed all winter. It is about the path love takes when it plants itself like a seed, the nurturing it requires to grow and blossom, and the destruction that can be caused by the weeds that want to kill it. Fisher brings to life a romance that is real, that is honest, that hurts, but also is the salvation of the characters.

"The men I’d been with had been cloying in their need for me. They wanted and expected and it drained me until there was nothing to do but leave. It was entirely one-sided, but none of them ever thought that."

Yara and David. David and Yara. Their names fit together perfectly, their lives do too, but Yara is so haunted by her past and her belief that love is not meant for her. Yara is the type of character you love and you hate, you grow hopeful for her change, and become angry when she runs. Like many of Fisher's characters, she has hang ups, but her personal development is what makes the story. It's a pretty story that soon grows dark, haunted by her jealousy and expectations. David, though, is an artist with so much more depth than your usual rock star romance features. He sees into Yara, beyond her value as a muse, and accepts that his love for her will take his devotion to make work. Both of their existences have been shaped by their experiences, like they were being formed for the moment that they met.

"His eyes, a mossy green, were used as weapons. They were honest eyes, and so you trusted him, all the while he undressed you with them."

AWKAP is a novel I could connect to, I saw bits of myself in Yara, in her inability to accept David's faithfulness, and even in Petra as she coveted something she believed would bring her happiness. (view spoiler) Yara was so desperate to be worldly, thinking it would replace those missing parts of her, that she wouldn't need love from those that mattered in order to be truly happy. Though we all know it isn't true, it does make for a unique book with gorgeous settings and allows for a very poignant experience through the eyes of the main characters.

"My drug was wanderlust. I got high by starting over. We always had a drug. We could replace one with another, but humans were addicts. "

Tarryn Fisher books all feature her a visceral literary style, but Atheists Who Kneel and Pray is by far the most emotionally charged novel yet. The reader experiences the high and lows and understands that every move the character makes is led by that sentiment. She weaves a tale about all the various types of love, from family and friend to that of a beloved. I would go so far as to say it is Fisher's most complex yet, because it is based on one emotion and focuses on how it rules someone's life. Fisher fans will love that she is back to her Mud Vein ways, but with a love story that wraps around your heart in a fashion similar to The Opportunist series. Atheists Who Kneel and Pray was magnificent, a book that deserves a spot in this year's Top 10, and one that will stay with me forever. I only wish I could get that first-time read feeling from it again.

"I want the pain to stay where it is, hard and heavy. It makes me feel close to her. I am inspired, but I am empty."

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