Kindred by Tammar Stein
The first time I meet an angel, it is Raphael and I am eighteen.
Miriam is an unassuming college freshman stuck on campus after her spring break plans fall through. She's not a religious girl--when pressed she admits reluctantly to believing in a higher power. Truth be told, she's about as comfortable speaking about her faith as she is about her love life, which is to say, not at all. And then the archangel Raphael pays Miriam a visit, and she finds herself on a desperate mission to save two of her contemporaries. To top it all off, her twin brother, Mo, has also had a visitation, but from the opposite end of the good-evil spectrum, which leaves Miriam to wonder--has she been blessed and her brother cursed orvice versa? And what is the real purpose behind her mission?
Going into Kindred I had no idea what to expect. The summary was rather vague and I had read only a few reviews. The novel started off a bit slow and jumped around a lot, but I ended up liking this original and intense new release by Tammar Stein.
To start off, Kindred was a very religion centered novel. There were many references to Christianity, Judaism, the Bible, God, the Devil, and more. I'm not religious at all so I didn't always understand what was going on. I wouldn't say I was extremely uncomfortable reading it, but some people might be.
The main character Miriam is visited by an archangel and she is sent on a couple of missions to "save" people. After feeling she failed her first mission, Miriam leaves school and starts working at a newspaper firm down south. Living there she meets a variety of new people and makes a good friend in Emmett, the owner of the local tattoo parlor. Emmett was a sweet guy under all his ink and was always there for Miriam when she needed someone the most. Miriam's life was never easy after being first visited by Raphael. She starts to suffer from chronic diarrhea, aches and pains, and sleeplessness. When she gets another vision and discovers the identity of the next person she needs to help Miriam hopes succeeding in "saving" them will make God happy enough to cure her. Miriam is forced to question her faith and belief in both herself, God, and, eventually, her twin brother Moses as the novel progresses. She suffers a lot and is faced with some difficult decisions.
The first few chapters jumped around a bit but after I got into it I was very intrigued by Miriam and Moses ("Mo"). Their experiences with good and evil was a different concept and religion was presented in a unique way in Kindred. The plot was very complex and a variety of sub plots tied together by the end. I was constantly wondering what was going to happen next.
College age characters are few and far between in YA literature so it was interesting to read about a girl entering the "adult" world and living on her own.
All in all, Kindred was a unique and complex start to a series that while at times slow was an overall interesting read. I learned some religious references and ideals I'd never heard before and Miriam was a main character I did like. I'm looking forward to seeing what's next for Tammar.
Overall: 3 out of 5 stars
February 8, 2011/Knopf BFYR/272 Pages/Young Adult
Source: Publisher/Author (ARC)