Here’s what I think.
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I love Francine Rivers, but I’m not sure I love The Last Sin Eater. I‘m going to try and not put any spoilers in this review. If any do slip out, I promise they‘ll be minor.
Cadi Forbes is a young girl with an enormous burden of guilt and sorrow for her part in her sister’s death. Having a “questing spirit” (as her recently late and beloved grandmother had called it), she seeks out the sin eater to take away her sins. Her hope is that she can finally be at peace. According to some Scottish and Welch historical traditions, the sin eater is a man who is chosen by casting lots. For the remainder of his life he is to “eat” the people’s sins when they die, taking them upon himself so that they will be absolved. One man sacrificing himself for the souls of many.
Because the sin eater is considered evil (or something to the equivalent of), Cadi is forbidden to go find him, or even ask about him. But she’s determined to look for her answers regardless. She also meets a “man of God” whom she is afraid of but extremely interested in. Some people help her in her questing, and some people threaten her, fiercely defending they’re traditional ways. In the end she (along with some others) gets saved by Jesus when she learns that he is the only one who can truly wash away sin. There are also plenty of twists and revealed secrets, and all the loose ends seem to tie up nicely by the end of the book. Especially the mother/daughter relationships, of which I’m a total sucker for!
I think it’s worth mentioning that it’s written in what I think is supposed to be some sort of Scottish accent. While I appreciate the concept, I wasn’t a huge fan of it in this book. Not to mention there were inconsistencies. Like sometimes it was “man” and sometimes it was “mon”, that sort of thing. Maybe it’s just me though. I tend too care too much about small insignificant details.
So here’s my main thing. In first Corinthians, the apostle Paul talks about those needing spiritual milk versus spiritual meat. Well, this book is a colossal plate of meat. And what bothers me a little is that the main character is only ten. I wouldn’t count this as a children’s book, after all this author is by NOT by any means a bashful writer. So it just seems to me that the story would be more appropriate if the protagonist were a little older.
Don’t get me wrong, Francine Rivers is an amazing story teller. But maybe it’s just that this type of over the top, right in your face, gospel preaching tale is not really my thing. Sometimes it can come off as a little maudlin. Besides, I personally would rather just go read my bible or a devotional. Then again, this book is exactly some (many) people’s cup of tea, so I would still recommend it. At first I was going to dole out a 2/5, but after processing my feelings I’ve decided on a 3/5. Hopefully you will give it a chance and decide for yourself if you like it.
If you have read it, please share your thoughts!