Thursday, February 17, 2011

Review: The Judging by Ellen C. Maze

 Publishing Information:
Title – The Judging (Corescu Chronicles #1)
Author – Ellen C. Maze
Publisher - TreasureLine
Date Published – Dec 2010
# of pages - 344

Genres & Themes: Paranormal fantasy, Vampires, Horror, Christian

GoodReads – 14 Ratings, 4.5 Average Rating – 14 Ratings, 5.0 Average Rating

My Rating: 5/5

Plot Summary:

What happens when you want to do the will of God but are cursed for all eternity? Hungary, 1640. A village priest, enamored with his God and loyal to his sheep, awakens to find the village on fire. Searching for survivors, he is confronted by a dark creature with sharp teeth and red eyes. With the stab of the demon's fangs, the priest is transformed from a servant of good to an unwilling agent of evil. Present day. Four centuries pass, and Dr. Mark Corescu, that same village priest no longer recalls his origins. Corescu uses his position in the medical community to maintain a mortal façade as he pursues his true calling. Corescu seeks out evil men and women in a ritual he has dubbed the Judging.
--from the Goodreads description


* Follows multiple points of view

* The Judging is the book Beth Rider writes in Ellen C. Maze’s Rabbit series. You do not have to read both series to understand the stories. They stand separate. But it is fun! See my reviews for:

What I thought: 

It is a dark and menacing night for Father Mark Corescu when he enters a burning building against all reason and comes into contact with a creature that changes his life and his fate forever. It is 1640 when the creature changes him into a vampire. Flash forward to present day and meet Doctor Mark Corescu. Mark has been alive since 1640 using his vampire skills to find and bring evil doers to justice – hunting them down until they repent of their sins and turn to God, then promptly killing them (feeding from them) so they’ll have no chance of returning to their old ways and falling from God again. Mark believes this is the will of the Lord. That is, until his prayers are answered for a companion – Hope – and she begins to make him question everything he believes in.

I don’t know what I expected when I picked this book up but perhaps I was expecting something along the lines of my experience with other authors  - getting excited to see a new series from them, only to pick it up and find that the characters, the plot, the moral (if there is one), the setting, etc. are near copy-cats of their first series. But if that’s what I was expecting, I was dead wrong. The Judging feels nothing at all like Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider. First of all, it’s much darker. It’s classified as Christian horror like Rabbit, but Rabbit just doesn’t hold a candle to this one in terms of the creepy factor. Where the Rabbit series focuses on the lust of blood because the vampires (Rakum) simply just want it, The Judging goes beyond that and makes blood lust a moral decision for the protagonist. I was seriously creeped out. It gave me shivers just thinking about it and made me wonder if I’d end up with bad dreams at night.

Secondly, the spiritual focus of the book felt different than the Rabbit series as well. While Rabbit seems to focus on lust and idolatry, The Judging seems to focus on, well, judging others. It’s the age old question – what right do we have to judge others and say what God is willing to accept? Furthermore, how are we supposed to know when God is talking to us or if we are simply doing what we think He would want. And is there a difference? One of the biggest ‘wow’ factors for me is when Ellen C. Maze reveals what the purpose of all the Bible quotes at the beginning of each chapter should mean for the reader. It’s a lesson that Mark learns near the end of the book, so I can’t say exactly what it is in order not to spoil it, but I think people should really pause and consider what’s going on here. For me, the addition of the Bible verses to the story is what made it all very much worth reading in the end. I learned a lot about myself from it.

Lastly, The Judging has a bit of a mystery element to it. I wasn’t expecting this at all. However, it’s element that adds a lot to the story and made me want to keep reading to find out more. There are so many unknowns at the beginning of the book – why did Mark go into the burning building? Who was the creature that turned him into a vampire? Who are his companions and why are they immortal if they’re not vampires? Who is Hope to Mark and why did he pray for her? What will happen to the reporter who stumbles upon a decades old mystery that points to Mark? And finally, is Mark really doing the will of God by judging evil doers night after night?

Mark’s world falls apart in this first adventure of the series. But what happens next? I’m eager to find out what happens to all the characters in Damascus Road. I’m also eager to be creeped out yet again! I never knew I’d be so in love with the horror genre. Actually, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as Christian Horror. Ellen C. Maze is the reason I began reading horror and she is the reason I continue to. It is creepy fantastic – with a purpose.

Disclaimer: I received a free paperback copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Recommended to: Christian fantasy/horror readers,psychological horror readers that like a spiritual bent to the story

Where you can purchase this book:

Add this book to your tbr list:
Visit the The Judging Goodreads page.


  1. WOW! Erika! I am blown away! I'll be eating on this review for ages...

  2. Very interesting. I don't normally read paranormal but I may have to read one of these books.


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