I received this book for free from Goodreads First Reads in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Createspace, indie on May 24th 2014
Genres: Philosophy, Religion
Source: Goodreads First Reads
Tom Roddin, a successful Nashville architect, awakes one morning to find a cryptic note on his bed providing him the power to make life and death choices for people of his own choosing - the gift of Hope. Confused and in doubt about the origin of the note, Tom is confronted by an unexpected visitor who confesses knowledge of the note and presents herself as a fellow gifter and his instructor. Leveraging an approach she learned from her own instructor, Marina Kostitsen engages Tom in a discussion about the gift's purpose and how her own choices have had a significant impact on the life of her recipients and herself. The story follows Tom on his journey to use the gift and justify his choices. His strict Christian upbringing almost cripples his ability to make decisions of death, but as time and hope arise from each choice, Tom begins to accept the responsibility of the gift. Dealing with the power of the gift and the consequences of his choices takes him on a soul-baring journey that tests his moral foundation and redefines the boundaries of situational ethics. Seemingly confident toward the end of his journey in his role as a gifter, Tom's world quickly unravels with a series of events that forces him to dig deep into his pure heart before making his final two choices. Revenge, sympathy, and a promise are intertwined as he makes a final attempt to hold true to the pureness of his heart and the ultimate purpose of the gift...the validation of Hope.Amazon •
Mature-Content Rating: Language, Violence, Abuse, Mention of Rape, Religious Views
“Am I really equipped to make decisions like this? Can I justify that man’s death by assuming he is better off or that his family is better off? How in the world would you know without seeing how his life would have played out?”
The idea behind Life over Death itself is thought-provoking and interesting enough. It hammers down heavily on subjects such as morality and religion- mostly edging toward Universalism- and “the validation of Hope”. Tom is gifted with ten miracles in exchange for ten deaths, each of which is his own choice. He was chosen for the gift because of his pure heart, and of course he struggled with the morality of his gift and wether or not to share his secret with his wife. Though the book does have a great story line, it could have been executed better. It tends to repeat the same train of thoughts often.
The narration switches from Tom’s point to view to the view of people he has met/ will meet. He shakes up an otherwise mundane mundane tempo and gives a little insight into Tom’s decisions.
The dialog can get extremely wordy and is sometimes unbelievable, giving huge information dumps to give backstories on characters or just theological/religious/philosophical babbling.
Overall, Life Over Death has an interesting concept but could have been executed better.