Indie Review: The Sin Collector: Thomas by Jessica Fortunato

TITLE: The Sin Collector: Thomas
AUTHOR: Jessica Fortunato
FORMAT: Kindle
BUY IT: Amazon
RATING: 4/5 [in the genre] or 6/10 [all books I’ve ever read].
FOR: Fans of The Sin Collector. Duh. People who love the occult and old myths. People who like vampire books, though this is not about vampires. Anne Rice fans.

This story is meant to be read following Book One in The Sin Collector Series.

Thomas has taken vows. As an immortal, he is impervious to harm on the battlefield. As a Collector, he alone can take away the sins of the fallen and allow them to move peacefully into the next life.
But valor never comes without sacrifice.

Far away from combat is his home, and her name is Lucy. Lucy is a human and frail from the explosion that nearly took her life, but Thomas’s duty pulls him from her before she can recover. His letters are his only connection to her, and to her caretaker, Thomas’s best friend Emmilina.

Thomas has gone to War for his God and for honor but there is an even more personal mission that drives him.
He will find other Collectors, and tell them the secrets he has learned.

The Basics: This long short story, or short novella, is a lovely companion to The Sin Collector and a nice interlude before the release of the sequel. It satisfies the curiosities of fans of the first book who met Thomas briefly and, like me, were intrigued by his history. It also takes you more in depth into the protection ritual practiced by the Collectors, as well as Collector lore that could very well become important later on (I hope). Focusing on the two most influential parts of Thomas’ life, it is a sweet slice of tragic love and duty. Of what it really means to serve selflessly, to be a Collector. While it left out some details that I really craved (e.g. the sin-eating ritual), I definitely enjoyed it.

Plot (4/5): In such a short work, Fortunato is clever enough to focus on small snippets of time, layered upon each other to give the background we need. My favorite scenes described Thomas’ efforts in World War II, though I wish there had been more views into the actual battles. I thought it dragged a little during some of the exposition, but for the most part, it was a fast-paced read. However, my main concern is the lack of attention paid to sin collecting. Like the first book, it talks about the sin-eating ritual but never goes into depth. I want to know what it involves. How you do it. What it feels like, viscerally. I hope to see this in the next installment.

Concept (5/5): As I said for the first book, very original. Fortunato takes a little-known myth and makes it her own. With all the allure of vampires but none of the blood sucking, the Collectors have a nicely fleshed-out mythos that kept me flipping pages, even during slower parts.

Characters (4/5): Thomas was the deepest of the characters, since we saw through his eyes. I also really enjoyed Cricket. Though he played a small role, I thought it was a very important one in the shaping of Thomas’ attitude towards his duty. I thought Emmilina and Lucy could have been fleshed out more. They felt flat to me, props more than people. I would have liked to see a little more what made them so likeable and unique to Thomas.

Style (5/5): Simple and clear, with some very pretty descriptions here and there. Like much YA writing, Fortunato’s style doesn’t try to compete with its subject matter and get too clever for its own good. It’s here to show you Thomas’ world without getting in the way. If you like a sparse, plot-heavy style, it’s perfect for you. If you like something more flowery, there is less of this, but Fortunato still can write some very lovely descriptions. I never had trouble picturing where I was.

Mechanics (5/5): Some of the problems of the last book (e.g. misplaced commas) have been ironed out in this one. I didn’t notice any distracting typos or grammatical mistakes. It was nicely polished.

Take Home Message: A fun look into the history behind the Collectors. A great quick read.

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