Realm of Angels - Light by J.R. Thomas tells of stories of the bible. We begin with Gilliad, an angel who is sent to Earth as God is still creating it. He watches, over many days, studying the new changes the Lord has made. He and his brethren talk about their explorations and the things they have experienced here. Adam is born in God's image. Eve follows soon after. The angels return to Heaven, while Adam and Eve are left to tend to the gardens below. The majority of the book is told from Gilliad's views and follows his own personal journey through these historic times, right up until the birth of Jesus.
I received a copy of this book as a prize from a Firstreads giveaway. This review is just my opinion. Your own reading of the book might be affected depending on whether you are a religious person or not. My personal thoughts about religion is that I'm agnostic. I have the believe, though I'm not especially drawn to religion. So, I sort of saw this more fictional than others might see it.
I think that the author had a good grasp on details. There were good explanations of scenes and the things going on. However, that's where the majority of the book was focused. Most of us are likely to know the tale (or at least the basics) of Adam and Eve, as well as several of the other bible stories in the book. However, the author relied a little too much on that. The book was full of the things Gilliad would do in the day, with the main stories going on in the background. Much of the book was focused on characters eating and the various explanations of food spanned for long periods of time, at some points. So much so that, effectively, the actual plot of the book took a back burner. Even later, after tale of Adam and Eve had ended and we were thrust into future events, the author still relied on having characters eating for a substancial portion of the time. We were informed about what type of crust a family might have on their fish if they had the money for it. We were informed of a family who were forced to put up with the smell of their neighbour's food who chose to eat offal, kidneys in particular. We were also told of a child whose father might choose to bring home some fresh lamb since he had been paid well recently. The author is good with explaining things, but I think that they need to learn to expand the story a little more rather than dwelling on details. It's good to add descriptions for a reader, but sometimes it can make a story tiresome.
In several portions, Gilliad looks upon the art in a temple and he notices the various similarities between the depictions and what goes on in the world, even finding that the life mimicked art later when Adam and Eve were conned by the serpent (Satan). I think that the author could have relied a little more on these art works. In the way that they were used in the book, Gilliad looked upon them occassionally and he could sort of foretell events because of them. Yet, later on, these components were lost entirely and they kind of serve as a useless plot device; good one moment and then gone the next. I think that they could have been used much more and they might have aided the story while the author could get lost in description.
Overall, the author writes and describes things well, but needs to work on telling the story more, rather than relying on peoples' knowledge of the plot. The overall pace of the story left too much time for Gilliad's explorations amongst the gardens. The story didn't really lead anywhere overall, it was simply to explain the (possible) events of the Bible and this author's interpretation of it. It was an alright book. I read it quickly, being that sometimes I skimmed when the explanations got too long and all the characters were doing was exploring. I'm kind of disappointed by the end, admittedly. I know that it was the birth of Jesus. Thought ought to have been such a monumental scene for the book, but somehow it just seemed kind of dull. I don't really think that the book is worth more than three stars. It was alright and the author had a fair go at explaining the events, but it fell somewhat short of how special it ought to have been, considering that these events are God creating life on Earth and Jesus being born.