The Sixth Seal

Anastasie Eloise Bertrand has spent the better part of fifteen years in a state mental hospital convinced that she is the reincarnated protector of an ancient and powerful book. After her case is assigned to a new psychologist, Ana feels she might finally have an ally and someone who believes in her. But the call of the book is strong, and Ana is soon torn between the good doctor, and escaping the confines of the hospital to seek out the book and discover the truth about her destiny.

But time is quickly running out. While Ana wrestles with the puzzle pieces of her past lives, a dark and powerful syndicate known only as the Horsemen deploy their agents to find the book, and to awaken its terrible power through an ancient ritual, a ritual which could cost Ana her life.

If Ana is to stop the Horsemen, she must awaken memories of a bold warrior princess from ancient China, a radical French woman nicknamed The Maid of Orléans, and a clever Jewish double agent from Nazi Germany. Only then will she have the knowledge she needs to gather her fellow protectors and bind the great book of power.



Critic Evaluation

Cover Design Score: 6

I like the overall cover design but the seal is white and hard to see. If it was etched out in gold or a dark metallic colour it would stand out more. 

Book Blurb Score: 6

The blurb does reflect the story but I feel it could be sharper:

Anastasie Eloise Bertrand has spent fifteen years in a state mental hospital convinced she is the reincarnated protector of an ancient and powerful book. After an unsuccessful escape attempt, she meets a new psychologist who begins to suspect that Ana is not as crazy as everyone thinks. 

But time is running out. A dangerous secret society assembles to take control of the book. While struggling to understand her true destiny, Ana must find her fellow protectors and prevent the terrible power of the book from being unleashed.

Formatting Score: 10

I didn't find any issues

Grammar & Spelling Score: 7

There were no grammar or spelling issues. However I did find inconsistencies and one homonym.
The inconsistencies:
Chapter 2 - lower case 'd' for Doctor when addressing the doctor:
"Yes, doc?" "Of course, doctor..." "So much for choices, doctor." "Under what circumstances, doctor?" 
Then the shift to upper case: "Just so you know, Doc, when I sleep I dream,
When addressing the person it should be upper case. However when talking about 'the doctor' it should be lower case -- check Chapter 17

In chapter 3: "The heavy door ease closed behind her" - should be "eased"

Chapter 5 & Chapter 22 Joan of Arc or Jeanne d'Arc not Joan d'Arc; Chapter 5: Orleans should be  Orléans 
Chapter 14. Frauline should be Fräulein
Chapter 17. Fuhrer should be Führer

Chapter 31. His golden lochs -- should be locks

Plot & Structure Score: 9

Excellent opening -- straight into both the action and the character's central internal problem -- who is she? Even better that she fails to escape which sets up the next plot point.
The pacing is brisk, very much enjoyed the alternative episodes with different incarnations of the main character. This worked well, particularly with the cliff-hanger elements and working out who the main character could trust. There are some surprises here.

Character Development Score: 9

With each episode, Ana, the main character, learns more about herself. Her story unfolds and is propelled by exciting action sequences. The other characters could only offer her parts of her story which felt like a jigsaw was being filled in and there were no information dumps about her or the book. Great work.

Originality Score: 9

The reincarnation aspect combined with her constant struggle for self-knowledge felt very original. 

Pacing Score: 9

Well paced, never bogged down with information dumps.
The internal struggle -- the quest for self-knowledge -- acted like an internal driver while the action sequences were well-written. 

Use of Language Score: 9

Particularly enjoyed the descriptive elements. Here are two that stood out:

Chapter 3: the para commencing, "The temple was dwarfed by the palace but it was no less opulent..."

Chapter 11: the opening para, "Xi Shi met the water with the same determination..."

There are a few times where words are repeated, which had the effect of taking me out of the story, e.g.
Chapter 8: Para commencing "She pulled the van out on to the access road... She pulled the visor down...." Para after line of dialogue: "He pulled the handgun out of the bag...he pulled back on the gun."

Overall Readability Score: 9

I enjoyed this story -- the interlacing of Ana's past lives and her quest to find out who she was and her relationship with the book was compelling. Ana is a great character, which kept me wanting to find out what was going to happen next. The supporting characters, particularly the 'gatherers' were also well-drawn and sympathetic.

This book received a critic's score of 83 out of 100 possible points.

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