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The Sending

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Matt Koceich

Find the Garden of Eden or your family dies... Mark practices a little-known form of ESP called remote viewing. He's able to leave his body behind and travel to any time or place in the world. His bosses want Mark to find the real-world location of where … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Matt Koceich
Publisher: Marcher Lord Press
1 review about The Sending

Good Premise, But Struggles With Execution

  • Nov 27, 2010
Mark Grant has a remarkable gift--he can see places and events from far away. With the promise of millions, he chose to use his gift to help Mindgate, an organization whose goal is to find the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden. He was led to believe they want to find it to help humanity. It is only after his family is kidnapped, he begins to unravel Mindgate's true motives. Can he find the Tree of Life in time to save his family? With the clock ticking, Mark is forced to decide between his own selfish desires and his calling as a guardian. Winner, by popular vote, of Marcher Lord Press Select contest, The Sending has a great premise, but often struggles in its execution.

One of my least favorite tasks is to write a less than positive review of a debut novel, but here goes. I'll start with the good stuff first though. I loved the premise of this book. It is a very cool idea to have someone who can, through remote viewings, locate the Garden of Eden. I enjoyed Koceich's description of these remote viewings and his imagination in creating another world. I also liked that Mark was working for the bad guys. I completely believed the reason the villain, Konrad, was looking for the Tree of Life and I thought this part of the story was a nice touch that made the book more interesting. However, I struggled with most other aspects of The Sending.

I didn't care for the main character, Mark. I love flawed characters, but not rude, insensitive, and irritating ones. He had moments of being a good guy, but he never felt sincerely good. As a result, it was difficult to stay interested in following his story or pull for him to succeed. Additionally, Konrad, while successfully portrayed as evil was flat and though eccentric didn't seem to make a particularly challenging opponent. Several of the supporting cast had potential, but unfortunately not enough time was spent developing their characters. As it turned out, my favorite character was the jaguar, Sengal. Maybe it's because I love big cats, but more than likely it was a result of presenting him as a noble beast that stirred up allusions of Aslan.

This is an ambitious book and has issues with coherency and cohesiveness. It felt like Koceich tried to cover too much material and as a result, the story seemed to lack direction. There are parts that feel as though the intent is to be a bit of The Shack type of story and others more typical suspense/thriller. It wandered at times and had scenes that didn't feel naturally placed. It never fell into a good rhythm which made it difficult read.

I also had problems suspending disbelief on some of the speculative, spiritual aspects. Possibly I'm narrow minded, but I wasn't able to accept the idea that God would give a non-believer the opportunity to experience all that Mark did. Would God allow a non-believer to know the location of Eden and would He have one of His servants train that person to use a heavenly weapon? I couldn't reconcile what I believe about God with some of these events and therefore had difficulty accepting portions of the story.

The Sending was heavy in spiritual/theological teaching, especially towards the end. It's pretty typical of what you'd expect from a `traditional' Christian novel. It has numerous prayers, doubt, sin, self-evaluation, and evangelism. While I agree with what was presented, my preference is for a more subtle approach with themes that blend into the story.

I admire anyone who spends hours of their life pouring out their heart and dreams onto paper for others to read and oftentimes criticize. Authors have a tough job of trying to please complete strangers and I respect their efforts. I wanted to like this book, but with sketchy characters, heavy spiritual themes, cohesiveness issues, and dubious speculative logic, it simply wasn't the book for me. I hope it is well received by others and it touches them in wonderful ways. Perhaps I'll love Koceich's next book.

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