For Better and Worse (Book Review)

  • Author: EB Roshan
  • Series: Shards of Sevia, book four
  • Available Now
  • Synopsis: Newlyweds Anna and Boris anticipate the coming of their first child, while undermining the work of the prejudiced White Horse organization.
  • Disclosure: I received a complimentary ecopy of the book from the author. Opinions expressed are my own.

Scripture Connection

Dear friends, don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that.

Luke 12:4

Spiritual Themes

Characters pray frequently, throughout the book. Additionally, there are some brief discussions about morality, as well as good deeds. Something I appreciated is that the author conveys the biblical truths of God’s grace, through conversation, which flows more naturally.

One of the themes I noticed, a few times, is the idea that following Jesus doesn’t solve all of our problems. Oftentimes, Christian books depict the characters praying (for safety, perhaps), and then maybe thanking God when the prayer is answered. In this case, the characters pray with the understanding that God may not answer in the way they hope He will. However, the characters are also grounded with an eternal perspective.

I selected the theme verse based on a conversation between Boris and Arjun, which I really liked:

Arjun: When I’m alive, I’m in God’s hands. And when I’m dead?

Boris: You’re still in God’s hands… we all are.

This conversation also makes me think of Phil. 1:21, “To live is Christ, to die is gain.” And it’s such a refreshing theme to read!

What I Liked

The title of the book is For Better and For Worse, based on the traditional wedding vows. I really like the title, because, while the book is very much about the marriage between a man and a woman, it is also about the relationship between Christ and His bride— exemplified in Boris and Anna’s relationships with God. The characters must grapple with what it means to walk with God, even when things aren’t going the way we want for them to go. This is such a beautiful and important message.

I haven’t read the previous books in the series, but I could tell that Anna was originally more “on-board” with Boris’ work on behalf of Arjun and other Tur characters. I appreciated that Roshan showed how Anna’s new status as a mother caused a shift in her priorities. I felt that this was realistic, and it’s an angle that I don’t always see explored in books, which often depict couples happily risking their lives together.

The book was well-paced. While it took me a little longer to “get into,” because I haven’t read the series, once I was invested, I wanted to keep reading. The alternating perspectives also built into the suspense, with character changes at crucial moments in the plot.

I liked the social justice themes the author explores through her treatment of the Sevia/Tur conflict. Scripturally, it is SO important to care for the orphan, the widow, the oppressed and the “alien living among you,” and I really appreciate that Roshan emphasizes this theme. I also like the nuanced approach she takes. She reveals the bloody history of the Tur people, but she also demonstrates their dignity and the wrongness of their being oppressed. The Sevian people, despite being those in power, are not all bad. We see the graciousness of those related to White Horse members, and the humanity of members of that prejudiced group.

There was one “blurry” scene, where a character wasn’t thinking clearly due to an injury. I felt the author did a great job writing this scene.

Content Consideration

There’s a scene where Boris, in a fit of rage, shatters a picture frame. I felt concerned for Anna when this happened. Granted, it’s not her property, but this felt pretty close to domestic abuse, and didn’t seem to be addressed as such. We also witness his rage in another scene, where it is definitely not praised. I’m just concerned because I think some books do glorify this kind of behavior. I don’t think that is this book’s intent; I just wouldn’t want it lumped in with other books that do glorify domestic violence/anger problems.

Recommendation Status

Recommended with reader discretion, due to the one content note above. This was an overall engaging read, with some meaningful themes.

Published by Stephanie Agnes-Crockett

Hi, there! My name is Stephanie and I’m a Fresno, CA native. After studying at Biola University, I received my MLIS (Masters in Library Science) from San Jose State University. I live with my mom, poet Kimberly Vargas Agnese, and serve as her unofficial agent. We reside at MeadowArc, a food forest in its infancy. I am called to, and passionate about, purity. In fact, the name Agnes means “pure.” Before I was born, my mom felt led to include the name Agnes in her name, and in the names of her children. My full, hyphenated name includes 26 letters (but not the whole alphabet).

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