The Left Hand of God (Paul Hoffman)


Sixteen-year-old Thomas Cale has grown up imprisoned at the Sanctuary of the Redeemers, a fortress run by a secretive sect of warrior monks in a distant, dystopian past. He is one of thousands of boys who train all day in hand-to-hand combat, in preparation for a holy war that only the High Priests know is now imminent. He has no reason to think he’s special, no idea there’s another world outside the compound’s walls, and no hope for a life any different from the one he already knows.

And then, Cale opens a door.

What follows is a daring escape, an unlikely alliance, a desperate pursuit, a journey of incredible discovery, and an adventure the likes of which Cale could never possibly have imagined, culminating in Cale’s astonishing realization that he alone has the power to save his world… or to destroy it.

I snagged an ARC of this book through the Goodreads Giveaway Program. I was notified of winning the day the giveaway ended, and my copy arrived in the mail a mere four days latter. Penguin Group shipping FTW!

I tend to be leery of books with heavy religious content (and with its brewing war between holy fractions, Left Hand of God assuredly qualifies as one), but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading this. It has a very YA feel with dark underpinnings. I’ve heard it described as a ‘dark Harry Potter’ and I’d agree with that description, although I feel Left Hand is more simplistic in structure and I’m not sure if it has as good a grounded start from which to expand. I’d be interested in seeing how the rest of the books in this projected trilogy develop; though I can’t say I’m in a burning rush to go out and get them.

I felt a little removed from the story the whole time I was reading it. Everything felt passive to me, for all the adventures the characters were getting into. It was rather like the difference between sitting down and being told a tale and being off on an adventure of your own, you know? Or like idly wondering how the characters will get out of some conflict versus feverishly worrying how the hell the characters were possibly going to get through the conflict alive. But while the plotline didn’t thrill me and I didn’t particularly care for the world Hoffman has built, the characters that peopled this world were pretty fascinating. Yay, sociopathic protragonists! Or at least, yay, the male ones! Frankly Hoffman’s female characters could have done with quite a bit of fleshing out. Eh. Maybe that will happen in the next book.

Despite the rather lackluster praise I’ve written above, I did like this book. I just didn’t love it. I have no intention of rereading it, and I’ve happily given away my ARC. I’d give this three, maybe three and half, stars.

Originally posted at:

Posted June 2010, moved October 2013
0 comments, 0 likes at time of move

holy war depends
on children
yet again

Also posted at:

Posted June 2010, moved October 2013
0 comments, 0 likes at time of move

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Hoffman, Paul, left, hand, god, fiction, fantasy


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