Book Review: “The Sand Dweller” by Molly Neely


I don’t do book reviews very often on my blog. Perhaps this is something I should rectify, since, being an author myself, I know how important book reviews are to emerging and established authors alike. Reviews are the best form of publicity you can get for your work. After all, you can shell out your hard-earned cash for all the frills and thrills of advertising and touring, but if a potential reader doesn’t see how other readers have felt about the work—ehhh—they are a lot less likely to give it a read. It’s about time I start putting my money where my mouth is.

I recently read Molly Neely’s The Sand Dweller and it was a delightful read. Neely has weaved the story of Malachi Ben Sanai (son of the demon general Azazael) into well-known theological history easily and almost seamlessly. From the Battle of Megiddo, to an arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, Neely brings us on the journey of a young half-breed seeking redemption through the centuries.

Malachi’s fate is forever entwined with Ra, the son of Lillith. Pawns in their parents battle of wills, these two men grow with an instinctual hatred for one another but that is where their similarities end. While one embraces the darkness of Hell, the other only wishes to be truly redeemed by the Almighty and find a place in Paradise. If only Hell would leave him in peace to do so.

The author provides us rich characters and has an unmistakable eye for detail and uncanny ability to connect dots between what we know and what she envisions. I really did enjoy this book a lot.

And now for the downside:

It is a very quick read. I finished The Sand Dweller in two hours and 15 minutes once I was able to really hunker down and dive in. This is not to say it makes it bad, but I truly believe more could have been done to really immerse us. Often fast-paced, I can’t help but wonder if there couldn’t have been more character focus (the characters themselves promise rich variety and I would have loved to see focus about them on a personal level as was put on the plot itself).

Don’t take this as a bad thing! The fact that it was such a quick read and drew me in to the point of wanting to know more in-depth things about the characters only showcases how much I liked it. Gimme more!  (On a side note: I think I overheard a rumor somewhere that Neely is writing a follow up based on this book, but I could be wrong. If I’m not then I am excited to see what she delivers!)

If you want a quick, delightful read then I definitely suggest The Sand Dweller. It is out of my wheelhouse for typical reading, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying it. I mean, two hours. Come on.




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