Secret Sacrament

Secret Sacrament struck me as an odd amalgamation as if Louisa May Alcott wrote an epic fantasy screenplay for Disney Most of the novel reads as a simple relatively staid middle grade level coming

Secret Sacrament struck me as an odd amalgamation - as if Louisa May Alcott wrote an epic fantasy screenplay for Disney. Most of the novel reads as a simple, relatively staid middle grade level coming of age story, but it occasionally lurches into scenes of sex and violence. Gabriel, the healer trainee protagonist, was too much of a vanilla goody-two-shoes for my taste, and in general both characters and cultures were painted in too broad of strokes for me. For example we were told the main villain was convincing and evil, but we were only shown one let's-kill-the-hero cacklefest and one je accuse scene. Also, we aren't told much about the love interest except that she's pretty, a healer, and as brave as the rest of her tribe. It wasn't enough for me to buy into the characters, although simple characters wouldn't have bothered me so much if the novel had stayed firmly in middle grade mode (who cares that the people are simple in Walter Farley, after all?). Also, I have seen the tribal/conquering culture dynamic done with much more detail and creativity in other novels. The combination of painted faces, dancing around fires, canoe races and brave fighting falls pretty squarely in the stereotypical. Sherryl Jordan is a talented writer, but I was left with the impression that this genre didn't fit her. Bestseller Secret Sacrament Author Sherryl Jordan Viral Books Terrified, a young Navaron child watches helplessly from his hiding place as a young Shinili woman is brutally beaten and abused by a group of drunken Navaron men Too frightened to answer her pleas for help, the child runs away, taking with him the sacred bone carving of the Shinili people In doing so, he forever binds himself and his fate to them Gabriel is no ordinaryTerrified, a young Navaron child watches helplessly from his hiding place as a young Shinili woman is brutally beaten and abused by a group of drunken Navaron men Too frightened to answer her pleas for help, the child runs away, taking with him the sacred bone carving of the Shinili people In doing so, he forever binds himself and his fate to them Gabriel is no ordinary boy His life is now marked out for greatness by powers beyond his understandingHe s never wanted to follow in his father s footsteps and become a wealthy, sea faring merchant, celebrated by all in the ancient empire of Navora but cold and distant to his family Haunted by a terrible childhood secret Gabriel spurns family tradition and duties as the eldest son, to pursue a life of helping others Derived from a deep sense of guilt and strange mysterious visions Gabriel knows that he is destined to become a healer, with the power to decipher dreams, no matter what his overbearing family argues But against his will, Gabriel finds himself caught up in the power struggles of a corrupt Empire, endangering all that he loves His decision to hold true to his destiny is one that will cost him dearly, and one that threatens to tear apart the entire Navoran Empire but which might just end up saving an entire people.. Award winning New Zealand author Sherryl Jordan began her writing career with picture books, but soon moved on to novels for older readers Her breakthrough came with Rocco, published in the United States as A Time of Darkness, and since that time she has gone on to pen many titles for young adult and juvenile readers that have been published both in her native New Zealand and throughout the world The recipient of a 1993 fellowship to the prestigious writing program at the University of Iowa, Jordan used her time in the United States to speak widely at schools and conferences about her books, which blend fantasy with bits of science fiction and romantic realism All my young adult novels have been gifts, she noted in the St James Guide to Children s Writers I don t think them up They hit me over the head when I least expect them overwhelm me with impressions, sights, and sounds of their new worlds enchant me with their characters and dare me to write them.. Bestseller Book Secret Sacrament Checked out from library. After reading several non-fiction books I was hoping to find something easy and fun in fantasy. This book was a gamble and I didn't really get what I wanted, but there was no great loss.Overall, I liked the book in the way one likes a book of tropes. There's something familiar and easy about it. A three is the most I could give it though. It was a meh plot line, meh story, meh writing, meh characters with a touching ending.Jordan tried to cover a lot of ground in one book and managed to do it more or less. Which is more than many authors who try to cover the length of time and grandeur of the plot can say. The writing however was a little amateur (it was obviously a lot of work and didn't seem to come naturally.) There was a lot of over usage of words like beautiful. Sometimes settings and things were weakly described and summed up as amazing or some other synonyms. The main character is in awe often. Originally, I thought this story was written in third person omnipresent, which it could be said to be, but it seems clear when the third person changed from character to character. There was a pretty large cast of characters in this book, which is typical of fantasy. I didn't need a chart at the beginning of the book.I'm not giving this a two or one star review, so I don't feel like I really have to explain myself to the people who love it. Does it seem like people tend to read the 1 to 2 star reviews more often than the highly rated ones? I do want to briefly address what I found lack luster in the book.The plot line is a chosen one type. The world wasn't well explored. Many notions about it were taken for granted or explained if and when they were relevant. That's partly due to a need to keep it short and easy to read for youngsters, but I hate giving that excuse. There are impressive books out there for kids that I love reading. The resources for this book's plot were kind of spread thin. There are several time skips, some very large. I've never read and loved a book that threw in huge time skips (as part of a coherent linear time-line.) The plot isn't character driven or driven by an immediate adventure or quest. It's driven by a prophecy and the politics of country falling into corruption. Jordan appears keenly aware of her time line and the sequence of events that need to happen in the plot. In a way this is so apparent it takes all the mystery out of it, which works for some I suppose, but it isn't my cup of tea. It doesn't seem like she cared if there was much left unsaid though, since in the Foreword she mentions Myron dies. The best part of this book was the plot; it was well structured and seemed to get the most attention, even if it was predictable.The characters were a bit lack luster. They didn't feel entirely fleshed out and felt a bit like playing pieces in a game. The characters I liked the most were the ones who showed flaw - Petra and Tarkwan and Gabriel's mother seemed like real characters. They have enough history to have depth and have flaws that get them into trouble. Gabriel's major flaw is supposed to be that he's a coward and he has a sort of naivete. These flaws are normal, forgivable reactions to the reader. He doesn't have any particular flaws or quirks that make him more interesting (he does like to run). And I have to say it takes a lot of courage to be a medic of any kind. I think it takes all the courage in the world to help people even when you know some of them are going to die and to continue helping people even after some do die. Occasionally, Gabriel's personality seemed inconsistent. Also, how many times do we need to be reminded about his looks and that he has wavy/curly red-golden hair that's frequently damp. I'm pretty sure I've read a similar description in another book with a character who had "damp curls." Do you people, with curly hair, have some kind of dampness issue? Everything in the world (other than the immediate politics) is taken for granted. There's clearly a theology we're meant to take as a kind of Christianity I guess. There's nothing in particular about the world that's unique or interesting. It's as if Jordan is promising not to surprise us or scare us with anything unfamiliar. There will be no worlds through wardrobes, no moving stairs or talking pictures, no fairy folk living underground, no monkey librarians or talking dragons or humanoid trees or some mythology or festivity that we're truly unfamiliar with. There's nothing with an outstanding sense of creativity, quirk or unexpectedness. Part of this might be due to this feeling more like it should've been written to an adult audience, but was condensed and made a middle grade book. For a middle grade book it seems like there's a longing to be more erotic and sexual. I imagine it would've been better if it had been written to adults. Aside from the erotic parts, the world would probably be more in-depth. Something that kind of confused me was that it almost seems set up as if it should be a part of a series. At the end of the book it's clear that it's the end of Gabriel's story. Ironically, the end of the story could still be seen as a coward's way out. Courage is in the eye of the beholder.*Edit: I've found some grammatical errors and correcting them.

  1. Award winning New Zealand author Sherryl Jordan began her writing career with picture books, but soon moved on to novels for older readers Her breakthrough came with Rocco, published in the United States as A Time of Darkness, and since that time she has gone on to pen many titles for young adult and juvenile readers that have been published both in her native New Zealand and throughout the world The recipient of a 1993 fellowship to the prestigious writing program at the University of Iowa, Jordan used her time in the United States to speak widely at schools and conferences about her books, which blend fantasy with bits of science fiction and romantic realism All my young adult novels have been gifts, she noted in the St James Guide to Children s Writers I don t think them up They hit me over the head when I least expect them overwhelm me with impressions, sights, and sounds of their new worlds enchant me with their characters and dare me to write them.

449 Reply to “Secret Sacrament”

  1. Checked out from library After reading several non fiction books I was hoping to find something easy and fun in fantasy This book was a gamble and I didn t really get what I wanted, but there was no great loss.Overall, I liked the book in the way one likes a book of tropes There s something familiar and easy about it A three is the most I could give it though It was a meh plot line, meh story, meh writing, meh characters with a touching ending.Jordan tried to cover a lot of ground in one book an [...]


  2. Secret Sacrament struck me as an odd amalgamation as if Louisa May Alcott wrote an epic fantasy screenplay for Disney Most of the novel reads as a simple, relatively staid middle grade level coming of age story, but it occasionally lurches into scenes of sex and violence Gabriel, the healer trainee protagonist, was too much of a vanilla goody two shoes for my taste, and in general both characters and cultures were painted in too broad of strokes for me For example we were told the main villain w [...]


  3. Picked this up at the library and just sat down to read it No peaking at GR reviews, didn t even enter it in my currently reading shelf Refreshing way to read a book, because it puts me in a much forgiving mood than usual and forces me to receive the story as it is, without preconceptions.I enjoyed the decent first half A fairly average coming of age story about the usual special main character who attends a prestigious school to learn a special skill, but Gabriel s genuine passion for his care [...]


  4. Secret Sacrament was a brilliant story following Gabriel s life, which is forever changed when he takes an amulet from a Shinali women and leaves her to die Gabriel s life is full of ups and downs, and sends the reader on an emotional rollercoaster.The beautiful writing brought this world to life, and the relationships that Gabriel develops throughout his life are lovely and heart warming, particularly his relationships with Ashila and Salverion.The mixture of settings from the simple life of th [...]


  5. Sort of YA ish, but a good story It does remind me of a nursery rhyme about the little girl with the curl, right in the middle of her forehead The good people in this book are very, very good, almost saintly The bad ones arehorrid Baddies who are so bad they practically wear black hats, and rub their hands together while cackling Buwahahahaha


  6. Gabriel has never been the son his father wanted to have On his father s death, Gabriel relinquishes his role in the family s trading company in order to become a healer Despite his natural talent and astonishing success, Gabriel remains troubled by the dying woman he refused to help when he was a child But Gabriel is part of a prophecy, and his actions will shape the future of two nations.Gabriel is an engaging main character His terror as a child caused him to make a decision he forever regret [...]


  7. Gabriel, oldest son of a noble house in Navora, is expected to take over the family business when his father dies suddenly He wants nothing to do with it He wants to be a healer Gabriel gets his way and becomes a well known and respected healer When his brother is brutally murdered, Gabriel gets a rare chance to visit his family in the farming community.While running for exercise one morning, Gabriel encounters a woman of the Shinali tribe Ashila and Gabriel feel an instant connection He falls i [...]


  8. I re read this about 10 years after I first read it because I recently read the sequel, The Time of the Eagle I bumped the rating up to 4.5I think this is one of my favorite Jordan books, and I do like it slightly than the sequel, but yes, I d forgotten how BADLY this book needed a sequel with that ending, wow The villain is a little flat, but not as flat as he is in the sequel since we spend time with him It s not heavy on the action, but there s just something about this world and the charac [...]


  9. A seven year old boy witnesses a brutal attack on a woman from another tribe He takes a bone carving from her as she lays dying and is wracked with guilt for years A prohecy from his own nation and the tribe Shinali drive his destination.At 14 Gabriel declares at his fathers funeral he wants nothing to do with his family s business and wishes to becom a healer As the prophecy unfolds Gabreil finds great honour in the healing Citadel with the empress, treachery, murders, plague, battle evil power [...]


  10. I loved this story It is a high lot good You ll have to read it to understand that phrase.The story of Gabriel, a young healer, is wonderfully told Gabriel is a great character, clearly and sympathetically drawn as are the members of his family, teachers and the people of the Shinali tribe.This has an ending that was completely unexpected, right for the story but definitely shocking This is a book I will re read and recommend to other s looking for a thoughtful and entertaining read.


  11. This book holds a powerful thought process It makes you think about what each object in this book symbolizes in this world And how exquisite, the ending, the death, and yet the beginning of the Time of the Eagle The sacrifice, the love, the charming way this novel weaves the tale of Gabriel The richness and the quality of the cultures and ways of life the amazing characters who steal your hearts.This book is entirely worthy of five stars It will forever be amongst my list of the Greatest Books E [...]


  12. An interesting story about a boy who decides he wants to heal and help and what he has to do to fulfil that wish.Gabriel saw an attack on a helpless Shinali woman, the tribe his people are supressing, have invaded This has stayed with him all his life She gives him a bone, this bone reminds him of her and gives him strange visions.When he has an opportunity to meet with some Shinali he finds that things aren t as straightforward as he may have been lead to think.There are moments where it s a li [...]


  13. This book was unbelievably hard to read The story is beautifully and lyrically written I felt that the author believed every word she wrote It s a tale of sacrifice and love and of giving of yourself when it s the hardest thing to do I was very moved by this book There are only two things I would wish differently of it One, I felt that the prophecy needed to play out a bit And Two, I thought that the antagonist needed to come to a nasty end.


  14. I think I would give this book 4 stars simply for how well it managed to engage my emotions However, I couldn t say that I liked it It was a very anxious read for me I thought I knew which direction the story was going to end and I didn t like it I almost lay the book down for fear of the ending The main character in the story was the only one I didn t find believable The story is well written.


  15. The book reminds me of a Poccahontas story of some sorts The young man in the story line is so gentle and i love it I wish i could have the same hardworking mentality and dedication Its funny like every time he is faced with a problem, he runs I could never live and die the way he does it kills me LIke he just lies down and dies I mean who does that Besides that its a good book especially for anyone who is interested in fantasy or historical fantasy kind of books.


  16. I d had this book in the back of my mind for years and then I came across the info on a back page of my blogThe ending where he dies, at peace with himself and the people, He lifted up his arms and began to run there s eucatastrophe in that.


  17. Typically Sherryl Jordan thought provoking, emotional and heart rending Very well written I will probably never read it again, because I prefer my books a little happier, but I would recommend it to any fan of hers I was particularly touched by the scene where Myron and Gabriel walk through the valley together.


  18. I was surprised how much I liked this book I thoroughly enjoyed the author s description of energetic healing It reminded me that the power of thought is a very important part of getting better I ve been reading so much chick lit lately, it was nice to have the story told through a male perspective, too.


  19. I love this book It s a great fantasy read and is considered a children s book but I would recommend it to kids 12 and up It s one that I read in middle school and am lucky to have gotten a hardback copy I have read it several times and am actually reading it now The plot is different and original and the main characters likeable It s wonderful.


  20. Revised edition.Gabriel is part of the wealthy ruling elite Navoran whose life is forever altered by witnessing the beating of a woman of the lower Shinali race.Gabriel has a destiny to work towards changes to society, fulfilling the prophecy that a Navoran man will help the Shinali reclaim their native land.I can t wait for to read the sequel Time of the eagle


  21. Excellent fantasy with a rich, beautiful setting and compassionate characters I thoroughly enjoyed this book I read it a few years ago and wasn t aware there was a sequel, now I have something to look forward to D


  22. I really like her style of writting This story is about different cultures clashing and about fearing others who look and behave differently than you There is some cool magic powers in the characters too There s also a good love story in it.


  23. Sherryl Jordan s ultimate skill made a fictional time and place seem very real The story had me gripped from beginning to end This book is a must for anyone who likes the inspirational fictional genre with a spiritual theme running throughout.


  24. This book caught me by surprise I enjoyed the developemnt of the main character and his morality It somewhat tugged at me to be better Worth the read and even a second perusal Recommend to anyone.




  25. I enjoyed reading this book The ending was quite sad but I only truly realised how powerful and meaningful it was when I read the second book.





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