Imagine being a regular High School student, confident that your life is normal. Then just days before your 16th birthday, you find a chest that turns your entire world topsy-turvy. That's just what happens to Crystal Miller, or rather Crystal Wynter to be more correct.
Crystal learns that her mother struck a bargain with local witches to allow her to conceive a child. But her mother may not have known just what she would have to trade for her miracle.
Crystal has always had unwavering faith in God, after all, he answers her prayers. Well, most of them. Which is one reason she has such a difficult time coming to terms that she is of magic. Not just a practitioner of magic, like the witches or the shamans, but made up of magic itself. Is there place in religion for magic, and a place for God in magic? This is a question Crystal must answer for herself, there is no one else like her to help her answer this.
Shortly after learning she is magic, things begin to go wrong in Mount Claymore. There is the accident that almost kills her boyfriend's mother, then the mugging of her mother/aunt. Just which is Crystal supposed to think of her as? Patricia Miller did raise her, but Patricia is also her aunt. Yet another question for Crystal to sort out.
Then the new boy in school comes clean that he is the latest son in a long line of witch hunters. A witch hunter who is in town to "cleanse" the world of the witches responsible for Crystal's existence. And then there are the shamans, who want to use Crystal to further their purpose. Crystal is enmeshed in a drama centuries in the making.
I really liked A Question of Faith. I'm avowedly an agnostic Heathen, but the question of reconciling faith in a singular omnipresent God with the practice of magic is an interesting one. And not one I've seen posed this way before. Faith in something beyond you, and faith in yourself and your powers, makes for an interesting premise, and one that is handled very deftly by Ms. Zoltak. It's also not guilty of being "preachy" about the religious elements, and that takes a light hand. Books heavy on the religious side don't sit well with me, but the threads of the different kinds of faith wove together quite seamlessly.
I'd very much recommend this book. It's aimed at YA readers, but it does certainly have an appeal to adult readers as well. There isn't much focus on HS, and it's daily grind. The focus is on the characters as opposed to the physical HS setting, so it's not tightly marketed there. There is some lovely character development in Crystal, and I genuinely care for her. She's having a crisis of faith, in every possible way, but she picks everything up and mends it into armor to help her fight. The supporting characters, at least the "main" supporting characters have some development, but the book is strongly about Crystal, as it should be.
I'd recommend it to YA readers, adult readers who like light fantasy, readers who like a touch of Christian faith in a fantasy novel, readers who like having strong female protagonists. I'd actually recommend it to most of my friends, there's a bit in it that will appeal to just about everyone.
I did receive an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an unbiased review, in the interest of disclosure.