Havah: The Story of Eve

Havah: The Story of Eve by Tosca Lee
Publisher: B&H Publishing Group
Number of pages: 354
My copy: paperback, ordered from Amazon

A single decision has the power to unravel mankind.

Created, not born.

The world’s first woman, without flaw, until one fateful choice. Now all humanity must pay for the mistake.

From paradise to exile, from immortality to the death of Adam, experience the dawn of mankind through the eyes of Eve — the woman first known as Havah.

* * *

I have had Tosca’s book on my TBR shelf since 2009, and I meant to read it soon after I finished reading her other novel, Demon: A Memoir. Somehow, this book got pushed farther and farther down Mt. TBR until I almost forgot about having it. It wasn’t until I was thinking of a good book to start 2011 with that I remembered having this one, so I dug it up from my books, and cracked the book open again come 1st of January.

Around October last year, some of my Goodreads friends started a year-long reading challenge to read the Bible in its entirety. I have tried reading the Bible from cover to cover back in college but I failed miserably when I got to Chronicles. When I heard of the challenge in the group, the challenge addict in me jumped in, choosing to read The Message translation of the Bible for easier reading. The thing with reading the Bible is it’s so easy to be disenchanted with the stories there, especially if you’ve heard the stories in it over and over, particularly in Genesis. What else there is to read about Adam and Eve anyway? They were created, they lived in God’s presence, then Eve got tempted and got Adam in with her. They were banished from the garden, they had kids, and then the world started with them. Not that interesting, right?

They say familiarity breeds contempt, and I guess that has happened to me in the case of Genesis. Tosca Lee breathes life into the story of creation, particularly with the first woman ever created in Havah.

I have seen paradise and ruin. I have known bliss and terror.

I have walked with God.

And I know that God made the hart the most fragile and resilient of organs, that a lifetime of joy and pain might be encased in one moral chamber.

So it starts. I fell in love with Tosca Lee’s writing with Demon, and I knew Havah is going to be just as beautifully written as the former, if not more. This retelling of Eve from the moment of her creation to their fall to their exile and her mortal life was told in Eve’s point of view, making the novel feel more personal compared to Demon.

I am not an expert in theology so I can’t say how accurate this was or if Tosca missed addressing something in this novel. However, I can say that reading Havah became more than just leisurely reading but almost a personal journey. Eve, christened as Havah by the adam because she “…will live, and all who live will come from [her], and [she] will give birth to hope.” (p. 102), spoke to my heart as she told her story. I guess it’s because she’s a woman, and I sympathized with her struggles and her woes. How I could I not? In a sense, I was also Havah — I sinned against God so many times that I know I am so far away from Him, but I crave for His presence just as Havah sought Him, too. It was that brokenness that got to me the most. I do not blame her for her act of disobedience and in the fall, because as she said quite eloquently, “If not for our transgression, we would not know redemption.” (p. 349) In a sense, Havah really embodied how it is to be a human in this broken world: a constant struggle to find God in our surroundings, in the people and in life, pressing on even if sometimes He seems empty and silent.

Since this was told in her point of view, this will seem like a female-biased novel, but I think (and hope!) that guys will still be able to find themselves in this novel, too. It’s hard to describe this novel in its entirety because there is so much beauty and pain and love in this book.

It took me a while to finish reading this, but I know I made the right choice in starting 2011 with this novel. This is still fiction, of course, and this does not replace the parts written in Genesis, but it definitely helped me understand that part of the Bible more. I had no doubt that this would be a good book after enjoying Tosca’s first novel, but Havah just totally blew my mind and heart away. And if you decide to pick this one up, I hope it does the same for you too. :)

How mighty, how great the One must be, I thought, to send the heavens careening, and yet hear the cry of a single heart. (p. 28)

Rating:

2011 Challenge Status:
1 of 20 in TwentyEleven Challenge (To YA or Not to YA)

Book trailer:

YouTube Preview Image

You can also watch Tosca talk about Havah in this video.

Other reviews:
Emily is Smiling
My Only Vice
Christian Fiction Review

10 for 2010: Most Anticipated for 2011

The best thing about being a book blogger this year is I get to find out about all the new titles coming out in the next few months and years. Before, I’d just rely on bookstore releases and sometimes I find out about them late! Thanks to the great blogging community and social networks, I find out about future releases so early! So early that sometimes the waiting time is unbearable. :P

So presenting today’s 10 for 2010: Most Anticipated Books for 2011.

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

1. What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen (May 2011) – If you’ve known me for a while now, you’ll know that Sarah Dessen is one of my favorite contemporary YA authors ever. Just Listen got me started on the contemporary YA genre, and I’ve devoured all her books ever since I read that. When I found out that she’s releasing a new book in 2011, I squeed. I absolutely cannot wait for this next novel — in fact, I am already planning a Dessen marathon to prepare myself for this new release. :)

2. Deadline by Mira Grant (May 2011) – Feed was one of my favorite books for this year, and the one year wait for its sequel is already long enough, don’t you think? More zombies, more politics and more blogging must be in Deadline…and maybe even a radio thing? I don’t know. But I am definitely looking forward to this one.

3. Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later by Francine Pascal (March 2011) – Two words: Sweet. Valley. Need I say more?

4. Bumped by Megan McCafferty (April 2011) – I loved the Jessica Darling series, and I like Megan McCafferty. This dystopian sounds really awesome, and I’ve seen very good reviews about this, too. :)

5. The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan (March 2011) – While there are other zombie books that I liked more than Carrie Ryan’s series, I am still in love with her writing. After I’ve read The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Dead-Tossed Waves, I cannot miss the third one. I hope more questions will be answered by then. :)

One of Our Thursdays is Missing6. One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde (March 2011) – Just like Sarah Dessen, Jasper Fforde is on my auto-buy list. Thursday Next is one of my favorite heroines, so it’s imperative I get a copy of the sixth book. And maybe refresh myself with the series, too.

7. Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews (May 2011) – I think I’ve professed my love for the Kate Daniels series enough this year? :) If not, I must say it again: I love this series. And like all the other fans I know, I cannot wait o get my hands on the next installment in the series. :)

A Monster Calls8. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (May 2011) – Okay, so I’ve only really read one book and a novella from him, but I like him already. While I wait for his new book, I will finish the two other books in the Chaos Walking series. Yes, I will.

9. Winter Town by Stephen Emond (Fall 2011) – Happyface is undoubtedly one of my most favorite books in 2010, so knowing that Stephen Emond will release a new book is just exciting. I love the premise too: “…told from two perspectives and accompanied by scrapbook entries and comics, childhood friends grow up, grow apart, and eventually fall in love.” Being the president of his fans club, it is my responsibility to get a copy of this as soon as its released. :P

10. Forbidden by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee (Summer 2011) – This is my most anticipated collaboration for 2011. Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee, two of the big names in Christian fiction — this is going to be good, I can tell. :)

Runners Up:

  • Allison Hewitt is TrappedAllison Hewitt is Trapped by Madeleine Roux (January 2011) – I saw this book on The Book Smugglers and I loved how it started out as a blog, too. Blogging and zombies again – one of my favorite combination. Must get this one.
  • Sweetly by Jackson Pearce (August 2011) – I love the cover, and I love the Hansel and Gretel retelling idea. I enjoyed Jackson Pearce’s Sisters Red, so I am excited to get my hands on this one, too.
  • Where She Went by Gayle Forman (April 2011) – I loved If I Stay, and the idea of the sequel is just…well, awesome. I can’t wait to know what happened after Mia’s ordeal.

Check out my other 10 for 2010 posts!
10 Favorite Male Characters
10 Favorite Female Characters
10 Favorite Couples
10 Favorite Authors

I’m giving away some of my favorite books in 2010 in my Anniversary Giveaway! Know why Patrick Ness is one of my auto-buy authors now through The Knife of Never Letting Go! Every comment you leave is one entry — the more comments you leave, the more entries you get! :) Click the image for the mechanics and the list of prizes!

Ted Dekker + Tosca Lee = Forbidden

I wasn’t supposed to post any more today because…well, I was planning to reserve posting for another day. But this is something to squee about, and I just have to post it.

Of course it’s about books. :P

So I was talking to my friend Ted just a while ago, and I was talking about browsing Amazon again and sampling like crazy (I never stop haha), and then he lays a bomb on me:

You know TED and TOSCA are collaborating right?

And I’m like: NO, I DON’T!

I’m afraid I haven’t been checking much on Christian fiction, since I have been too focused on YA and fantasy among other stuff. But this…this is big news!

Backing up now. To those who don’t know, Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee are two of the best Christian authors out there. Ted Dekker is known for coming up with a book (and sometimes more) in a year. He writes mostly mystery and suspense, and it always has a deeper connection to spirituality and faith without being overly preachy. He wrote The Circle Trilogy and Thr3e (and more), some of my favorite novels. Tosca Lee, on the other hand, is the author of two awesome (and sometimes controversial) novels, Demon (a story of a demon who asked a human to write his memoir) and Havah (a novelized story of Eve), and she’s currently writing Iscariot, the story of Judas in first person. Amazing, right?

AND THEY’RE COLLABORATING! ON A NOVEL! THAT WILL BECOME A TRILOGY!

Okay let me just take a deep breath and spazz here for a while. Waaait.

*breathe*

Okay, done. Here’s the scoop (from Ted Dekker’s Facebook):

Four hundred eighty years have passed since civilization’s brush with extinction. Perfect order reigns. Humanity’s greatest threats have all been silenced. There is no disease, no malice, no hate, no war. There is only peace.

Until the day when one man discovers the truth: Every single soul walking the earth is actually dead. The human heart has been stripped of all that makes it human. Now only he is alive and only he has the knowledge that can once again awaken humanity.

But the way is treacherous and the cost is staggering. For, indeed, in that day life itself is…Forbidden.

Awesome. Only Ted and Tosca can do something like this. I. Can’t. Wait. Summer 2011 is too far away. :(

BTT: Unknown Favorites

This week’s Booking Through Thursday question is interesting, and a bit hard — at least for me:

Who’s your favorite author that other people are NOT reading? The one you want to evangelize for, the one you would run popularity campaigns for? The author that, so far as you’re concerned, everyone should be reading–but that nobody seems to have heard of. You know, not JK Rowling, not Jane Austen, not Hemingway–everybody’s heard of them. The author that you think should be that famous and can’t understand why they’re not…

Okay this is just kind of hard. I feel like most of my favorite authors are known authors, but maybe it’s because I’ve been reading them for so long and I found some people who also love the books that I love to read, so it feels like a lot of people read it. Did that make sense?

But I think it would be awesome if more people read:

  • Frank Peretti – author of This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness to name a few, and one of the best Christian fiction that I’ve ever read. I’d like to think his books are not only for the Christian people, because it’s really awesome. :)
  • Camy Tang – I only discovered her about two years ago, and her chick lit books remain a favorite on my shelf. I always recommend her to friends who are looking for good, quality (and clean) chick lit, and she’s a really nice person, too. :)
  • Tosca Lee – I was blown away by her book, Demon, and even if I haven’t finished Havah, yet, I know from the first few pages of it that it’s also a beautiful book. I can’t wait for her third novel that comes out in 2011 — the story of Judas Iscariot. Don’t you think that’s just yummy?

I think that’s it. More people should read their books, really. It would make the world a better place (and maybe I’m not kidding there hahaha).

On another note, not really related to BTT. Earlier today we dropped by at Fully Booked during afternoon break just for kicks, and I got caught in a book splurge again. *headdesk* I was only intending to look for Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth to make sure it’s still there, waiting for me to buy it next Friday. (It’s not.) What I found instead, was Shelley Adina‘s final book in the It’s All About Us series, The Chic Shall Inherit the Earth. And there’s only one copy left.

Ugh. I hate it that I could have bought Carrie Ryan’s book last Friday, only I didn’t because I wasn’t in the mood to buy a hardcover book. I wanted to buy it last Sunday, but I didn’t because I was waiting for the sale in Eastwood. AND NOW…it’s gone. :(

Alas. Maybe the paperback is meant for me.

But I’m happy to find Shelley Adina’s book because that meant my collection is complete. My wallet isn’t so happy, though, and this means I may have to bring lunch to work for a week to compensate. :P But I can’t wait to see what happens to the protagonist and the antagonist, and if she and the guy from the first book will finally get together. I was planning to read it after Persuasion, but alas, it cannot wait. So sorry, Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth, you’d have to wait a bit. This won’t be long. :P

Demon

Demon: A Memoir by Tosca Lee
Demon by Tosca LeePublisher: B&H
Number of pages: 336
My copy: paperback, ordered from Amazon

Recently divorced and mired in a meaningless existence, Clay drifts from his drab apartment to his equally lusterless job as an editor for a small Boston press — until the night Lucian finds him and everything changes with the simple words, “I’m going to tell you my story, and you’re going to write it down and publish it.”

What begins as a mystery soon spirals into chaotic obsession as Clay struggles to piece together Lucian’s dark tale of love, ambition and grace — only to discover that the demon’s story has become his own.

And then only one thing matters: learning how the story ends.

* * *

What a haunting book. I heard about Tosca Lee from Camy, and after reading about the book on the official website (especially after reading this page) I knew I had to get this book.

Demon: A Memoir gives us a view of the whole Salvation history from another point of view: a demon. It’s kind of creepy at first when you think of it, but like Clay, I got curious. What could a demon know about salvation? What could he possibly tell Clay, and what could Clay possibly gain from all this?

The novel had no frills about it. Clay wasn’t a righteous guy, he wasn’t even religious at all. He’s drifting in his life, finding no meaning until his encounter with Lucian. Tosca draws a very different picture of a demon — not one with an image we know, with horns and bat-like wings, but drawing from the story of the first fall: Lucifer. There were no bargains for the soul for Clay, although it seemed like he almost sold his soul to the devil as he became obsessed with the story.

Lucian was a very interesting character too, taking on a lot of forms of humans because he liked to “test” them out. He started out as a Mediterranean-looking man and then later met Clay as a woman and then a geeky teen — it seemed like he could not get enough of the “clay” people, regardless of age. He was also fascinated with humans eating, and made sure Clay was eating almost every time they met. His hurried manner at some parts of the story makes you wonder who exactly is out to get the demon — Lucifer? Another hoard of demons? But why? And why is he talking to Clay in the first place?

Like I said, it’s a way to view the story of our salvation from another side. It almost comes to a point that I felt some sympathy for Lucian and I wished there was something better for him…and in the same way, it made me realize how lucky I was to be created in God’s image and likeness. How infinite my chances are, how much patience God has for me. How forgiving God is for someone like me who commits the same mistake over and over again. It’s…amazing. And humbling.

The ending of the novel is satisfying in a way that it’s not wrapped in neat bows nor it is terribly disturbing. The book reminds us of a choice that everyone has to make in this life. What will you choose?

Rating:

Note: Review originally posted at Refine Me