Friday, July 10, 2015

Book Review: The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon

Amazon (currently .99 for Kindle!)

From Goodreads:

If I tell you right up front, right in the beginning that I lost him, it will be easier for you to bear. You will know it’s coming, and it will hurt. But you’ll be able to prepare.
Someone found him in a laundry basket at the Quick Wash, wrapped in a towel, a few hours old and close to death. They called him Baby Moses when they shared his story on the ten o’clock news – the little baby left in a basket at a dingy Laundromat, born to a crack addict and expected to have all sorts of problems. I imagined the crack baby, Moses, having a giant crack that ran down his body, like he’d been broken at birth. I knew that wasn’t what the term meant, but the image stuck in my mind. Maybe the fact that he was broken drew me to him from the start.

It all happened before I was born, and by the time I met Moses and my mom told me all about him, the story was old news and nobody wanted anything to do with him. People love babies, even sick babies. Even crack babies. But babies grow up to be kids, and kids grow up to be teenagers. Nobody wants a messed up teenager.

And Moses was messed up. Moses was a law unto himself. But he was also strange and exotic and beautiful. To be with him would change my life in ways I could never have imagined. Maybe I should have stayed away. Maybe I should have listened. My mother warned me. Even Moses warned me. But I didn’t stay away.

And so begins a story of pain and promise, of heartache and healing, of life and death. A story of before and after, of new beginnings and never-endings. But most of all...a love story.

People love babies, even sick babies. Even crack babies. But babies grow up to be kids. Nobody really wants messed up kids. And Moses was messed up.

The Law of Moses is a new adult romance that follows Moses Wright and Georgia Shepherd, a broken boy and a simple girl who, despite being polar opposites in nearly every way, form an intense connection and become tied together in a way neither expected. The story is told in alternating 1st person, and follows the pair from the ages of 17 and 18 to 24 and 25, respecitvely. 

Georgia is a small town girl with dreams of joining the rodeo. With a lifelong gift for horse breaking, she helps her family run an equine therapy business. She has a gentle, simplistic view of life, and her thoughts revolve around horses and her dreams...until she meets Moses.

"It's working for you. Cracks and all. In fact, if your brain wasn't cracked, none of the brilliance could spill out."

Moses has bounced around from family member to family member since he was abandoned as a newborn, and is finally sent to permanently stay with his great grandmother in Podunk, Utah. 
Moses has a stunning gift for paining, and a more sinister gift as well: he can see dead people. Their memories bombard him, and he can't predict when or where he will see them. The only rhyme or reason is they never speak, and they're always tied to a person he's interacted with. Consumed by imagines and memories that are not his own, Moses furiously paints to rid himself of the dead. Often labeled crazy and unstable, he's feared and shunned wherever he goes. The only one who tries to get to know him is Georgia, and before long they fall in love. 
It can't last of course, and when tragedy strikes Moses, he is forced into a mental health hospital. Terrified or letting Georgia in further, Moses cuts ties....or so he thinks. Years pass, and a twist of fate lands them right smack back into each other's lives. From there we're swept off in a whirlwind of heartbreak and healing, and we watch as Georgia slowly breaks the laws of Moses once and for all.

I can't open Facebook or Goodreads without seeing something about The Law of Moses. With a 4.44 star rating on Goodreads and a cool-as-fuck cover, I happily bought it. 
I swear, I'm destined to always be the odd person out when it comes to the "hip" books. The stories everyone raves about have me feeling like "really? Did we even read the same book?". Unfortunately, The Law of Moses wasn't an exception. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a bad book, but it was not the amazing 5 star read that everyone professed it to be.

I didn't buy the bond between Moses and Georgia. Georgia claims to be in love with Moses during the first 100 pages, and Moses later reveals he felt the same. I'm assuming we're suppose to feel a gut wrenching loss when they're separated, but so little time is dedicated to showing any sort of connection that it just wound up feeling a bit creepy and desperate. Literally all we see are a few conversations, Moses being an ass, Georgia being idealistic, them sleeping together, and Georgia endlessly pining over Moses's various physical attributes and his artistic ability. It read like a fling instead of the love it was advertised as. We see a better connection between Moses and his best friend, Tag, than we do Moses and Georgia!
It got much better towards the ending, when the two had something holding them together, but until then it was awkward, forced, and fleeting.

There are so many different plots going on in this book, and I never really got which was the main point, aside from the obvious. We're given hints of ideas and short twists into other directions, so much so that at the end it felt like things were either unresolved or just kind of slapped together. Like Moses being able to see the dead - that could've been such an amazing storyline. Why is he seeing them? How? What does it mean? Can anyone else do it? None of that is answered, and not a single character seems to question it! 
Even if the author didn't want to answer what was going on with Moses, his talent could have gone in so many different directions. Instead it just sat there, something for Moses to angst over and get paid for, but never showcased outside of the events towards the end of the book. There's a part in the book where Moses talks of traveling Europe and using his talents to show people what their past loved ones are showing him, and it only covers a couple of paragraphs with no details. That was something I wanted to know more about!
It took nearly half the book for me to realize this was a paranormal book, even though it's the least paranormally book I've ever read. For the first part of the book I just thought Moses was off his rocker.

There's a couple other things that were glossed over or just quickly wrapped up, things that didn't really need to be in the story. A subplot of the book is the recent disappearances of some local girls, and Georgia being attacked in the very beginning of the book. It's talked about then, and at the very end of the story, but nowhere else. It was superfluous to me.
There's so many plot twists, but it was frustrating as I kept guessing nearly all of them before they happened. 

The pacing of the book is odd, too. The time jump isn't very smooth, the flashbacks are jarring, and it was slow as molasses in some spots and entirely too fast in others.
The little synopsis I wrote up there? That took up nearly 2/3 of the book. It's hard for me to review this one since the big twist happens towards the end, but I can't tell you a lot of things without spoiling!

Part of the problem was that I just didn't care for either character very much. My favorite person was Moses's best friend, and I wish he had more screen time (page time?). He was funny and cut right through Moses's crap. The second book in the series, The Song of David, is his story, and I'll probably grab that eventually.
I found Georgia to be annoying, and dumb. I get that during her teenage years she's young and naive, and I think that's what the author was aiming for,. To me though, Georgia came across as flat out stupid. Between saying "I seen" and not knowing who Michelangelo was, I wanted to just shake her. She's been to school, so it's not like she's uneducated!
Moses is harder for me to nail down, and I flipped back and forth on liking him. Sometimes I ached for what he feels, and other times I wanted to shake him nearly as much as I did Georgia. I did enjoy reading his perspective more than Georgia's, and he was easier to connect with. 

"I love you. You scare me and fascinate me and make me want to hurt you and heal you all at the same time."

I did enjoy the book for the most part, even though it took around 150 pages to start picking up. I think my expectations warped my enjoyment of the story, since I was anticipating being blown away and it was just an average read. 

Because she had wanted me when no one else did, I had immediately been suspicious. I had immediately distrusted her. And I had always held it against her.

That's not to say that I didn't like it, though. There's some good character development for both Moses and Georgia, especially at the ending. I cried more than once, and the story definitely shows some powerful emotions. Towards the end I was getting sucked into the story, and would reach up to brush my hair out of my face only to find myself crying without realizing it. While there's definitely some scenes that hit hard, the edge of remorse and pain is constant and subtle during the last quarter. It crept up on you, and made the big scenes all the more potent.

The way Moses talks about art and how he interacts with the dead was absolutely fascinating, and left me wanting more. 
The closure we're given was spot on, and heartfelt. I loved how the author had her characters think of "5 greats", or five things they were grateful for when things got difficult. It was a very positive message, and integrated well into the story. 

I liked this story, and would recommend it if it sounds like something you'd be interested in. Take it with a grain of salt, and grab some tissues. It's a refreshing read for the new adult genre, that's for sure. 


Rating: 3 stars
Genre: New adult, contemporary romance, paranormal, very slightly biblical
Length: 328 pages (softback)
Series: Standalone with a spinoff
POV: 1st person, alternating
Steam/sexual content: Very mild
Warnings: Nothing too disturbing, just sad
Cliffhanger: No
HEA: Yes
My own book

- The Bibliophile Babe


  1. I do like retellings of stories we know, but this one doesn't quite sound like it would be for me. I'm glad you enjoyed it regardless of the problems.

  2. I always hesitate to pick up the books that get a ton of hype, it's hard when you do and it just doesn't click with you the way it seems to have with everyone else. Sorry this wasn't quite the 5 star read you were hoping for!