Firstly, huge thank you to Odyssey Books for getting in touch and sending me a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
The Last Qumranian takes place in a world where time travel has been used to create a reality where the birth of Christ was stopped. A world where Lukas narrowly manages to escape with his life when the Qumran compound he has known all his life is attacked by a mysterious military group. Alone in an unknown place he has to do everything he can to survive and get back to the compound to reclaim what’s rightfully his.
The description of the novel really intrigued me, as who isn’t fascinated by the idea of time travel and alternate timelines? I really liked how you’re immediately thrown into the biggest event that has happened at the compound. You quickly grasp the relationships between all of the characters and their rankings in this society within a matter of pages. However, even though I enjoyed the fast pace of the opening chapters, it didn’t feel like Lukas had any time to breathe until much later in the novel which made it difficult for me to digest what was going on.
I think it was also the pace that made it difficult for me to understand how I felt regarding Lukas. There are times when I really understood him and was behind him, but then there were a lot of instances where he felt a little too perfect and didn’t have much of an identity outside of being a ‘Hedge Master’. However, as this is the first novel in a trilogy, there is still plenty of time to learn more about him with this novel as a foundation.
Although I didn’t feel a connection to most of the characters, I really liked the ‘strangers’ that took Lukas in. They felt so friendly and genuine and I thought they were well written. I also thought Basile’s descriptions of the setting and the more violent scenes were well done too. There were several scenes towards the end of the novel where I actually felt uncomfortable reading them (and not in a bad way!).
I am pleased I gave this novel a chance, whilst it certainly isn’t making it onto my favourites list, I thought it raised some interesting ideas and I can understand why so many people seem to love it even if, ultimately, it wasn’t for me. I recommend that you check out the other reviews on GoodReads as The Last Qumranian has a lot of positive ones that are well worth checking out too!