The Next Target by Nikki Arana
David C. Cook – June 1, 2012
Rating: Moving and compelling.
Click here to read what this story is about
To be completely honest, I didn’t like this book at first. It kind of felt like being pounded over the head with the Bible, with someone’s faith that was not my own. But that was in the beginning of the book, before the story really started to unravel. That was before I understood and connected with the characters. Now that I finished it, and reflecting on everything that happened, I can honestly say that I enjoyed the journey.
The suspense, once it kicked into gear, had me sitting on the edge of my seat. It had me talking to the characters, momentarily forgetting that they weren’t real. There were some heightened moments of panic when I knew that though Austia was trying to do what she felt led to do, she was also about to make a big mistake, she was going to trust the wrong person. Austia was a character with a lot of faith and courage. She became someone that I admired for her willingness to go and do exactly what she thought God was leading her to in a manner filled with love instead of hate.
Though I did come to really enjoy this story, I have to admit that I hated the romance part of it completely. Austia and Zaki’s romance happened way too fast for me and it came across as disingenuous. Zaki goes from this hardened undercover agent to this man so blinded by love that he can’t think straight character. The fact that she was okay with Dave and ignored all the warning bells that something wasn’t right, played into the storyline that fanatical Muslims would stop at nothing and they could pop up anywhere. This may be true, but the only two reasons that Austia trusted Dave were because her brother introduced them and his name was the same as her dead ex-husband. Neither reason was enough to trust so blindly. While I think Austia’s relationship with her brother was pretty accurate, I am curious to see his reaction when (if) he ever finds out everything that went wrong with his attempt to invite her neighbors over for dinner.
This story is heartbreaking, not just because innocent people died because of the religious fanaticism and intolerance. The most disturbing part of this story is the truth that honor killings still go on today and background believers suffer so much. .After giving up everything that have known and grown accustomed to (if not accepted at some point) they face constant suspicion and distrust.
I would definitely recommend everyone to read this, regardless of religious preference, and ignore the romance aspect.
A copy of this book was given to me, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.