Author: Rich Shapero
Genre: Historical Fiction
First Published: 2013
Page Count: 432
Film/ TV Adaptation: No
Rating: 4/5 Stars
It has a rocky start, but there is a dark, captivating story that reeks of originality in these pages.
*Original/ gripping storyline *Wicked Villain
“She’s our dream, our purpose, our sustenance.” Zack Knox, a mysterious beauty named Sephy, and other travelers arrive at a mine camp called Breakaway where they each hope to make their fortune. Little do they know that Breakaway is home to a cult run by an oppressive priest named Trevillain. The miners slave away in the darkness all for the sake of the goddess they blindly worship, aptly named Hope. Trapped in Breakaway, Zack and Sephy must try to overthrow the destructive leader even as they fall deeper into the mysticism of Hope and her faith.
The fact that this story centered around mining and the pursuit of gold should’ve put me off the book; it is one of my least favorite topics. However, Shapero’s story is such an original take on the topic and right on par with what’s hot in film and literature right now. Even without the presence of zombies or nuclear waste, the book holds that same air of isolation, despair, seemingly pointless toil, and oppression that humans feel when placed in a group survival situation. The creation of the cult, the self-titled priest, and the elusive goddess Hope completely change the dynamic of this story about the pursuit of gold. But the power of the cult theme would be nothing without a good villain and Shapero delivers. Trevillain is drunk on power and leans on the crazy side in the same vein as greats like the governor in The Walking Dead. I mean, Trevillain has the word villain in his name! You know the guy’s going to be bad news. He rules with an iron fist and, like all delusional leaders that see themselves as the earthly voice of their god, he is weary of giving up his influence. It makes the fight for our main character all the more harrowing.
While I loved the darkness of the story, it took awhile for me to come around to it. The beginning is extremely confusing as the author introduces us to a lot of characters at once. They are all important by the end of the book, but it took that long for me to straighten out who was who and whether I needed to care about them or not. I also read passages where I literally had no idea who or what the characters were talking about. I still don’t know how to account for this as I’m a pretty focused reader. On top of that Sephy and Zack get close way too fast which made absolutely no sense to me. This all happens in the first two chapters which I try to block out of my memory because they really bring down the book. I was in utter confusion until the group reach Breakaway and I still don’t know what to make of it. The author shouldn’t try to rush the relationships and focus more on the development of the characters since we will be so invested in them later on.
Though it has a rough start, there is a fantastic story to be discovered in The Hope We Seek. If you’re a fan of apocalyptic fiction, this story should resonate with you because it’s got the dark elements that are popular in that genre but these elements are nurtured in a very believable setting where man’s pursuit of riches can often taint the mind. The book paints a tale of a crazed mining camp that worships the mysterious Hope in the beginning, but, slowly, before the reader knows it, we are ensnared in the magic of Hope and are unable to tell the difference between reality and fiction along with the main characters. Definitely check out this book!
*I received a free copy of this book for this review from the author.