Trigger Warning: All These Things by Mark Tiro briefly depicts incidents of violence and rape. If you are triggered by such events or wish to avoid reading them, proceed with caution.
Happy Sunday, everyone, and Merry Christmas Eve to my readers who celebrate it! As my holiday gift to my readers, I’m posting another review. Today’s review is for All These Things (The Spirit Invictus Series Book 2) by Mark Tiro.
All These Things follows Maya as she faces the strangest case in her history as a Public Defender. The District Attorney has filed murder charges against David for the death of his young daughter in a car accident. The DA’s argument? He was trying to kill himself and, by extension, his daughter. The truth, though, is much stranger than the DA or Maya could have ever imagined.
Tiro illustrates Maya’s journey as she not only attempts to prove David’s innocence but as she faces the ghosts of her past. All the while, the reader is left to wonder: What exactly happened leading up to the car crash? How—and why—is David so peaceful when he has lost his daughter and is facing life in jail for something he did not do? Most importantly, how is her experience with David going to alter Maya’s view of the darkness clouding her life? The result is an emotional roller coaster with many twists, turns, and spiritual revelations.
Tiro has written another gripping, mind-altering piece of fiction, albeit in a very different style than the first book in The Spirit Invictus series. All These Things is much more straight-forward than Implicit: Soul Invictus, and so I think it will appeal to a wider range of readers. Still, it is no less spiritual or deep. David presents a theory about reality which is very much in line with the lessons about love from Implicit: Soul Invictus. His arguments about the world being an illusion also align with Plato’s The Cave, an allegory which I have discussed previously on this blog. (I’m not afraid to admit that I’m kind of obsessed with it and so appreciated this sort of view being depicted in Tiro’s work.)
Readers watch as Maya struggles with David’s lessons about reality and the illusion that is the world, and I could feel her struggle every step of the way. Tiro presents Maya in a way that her resistance—and, later, reluctant acceptance—of David’s views makes complete sense and is entirely relatable. After all, who would want to accept that the world is just an illusion and all that is real is love? Maya’s horrific personal experiences make her even more relatable and likeable as a character, even though her anger and competitiveness can get in the way of her relating to anyone—including the reader.
The relationships between Maya and her friends are perfectly complex and enjoyable to read. I especially appreciate her relationships with the other women at the Public Defender’s Office and with the man with whom she shares her office, Donald. The relationships are playful and fun yet also deep and prone to disagreement, as all real friendships are. Maya’s love life is, understandably, unstable and unhealthy. Tiro justifies every complexity in Maya’s relationships and ties them, sometimes indirectly, with a particular set of tragedies from her childhood. Through these relationships and her encounters with David, Maya becomes a truly three-dimensional character, perhaps even more so than in the first book.
The legal jargon in the book, fortunately, is not a huge focus. Tiro realistically discusses the procedures and use of penal codes throughout the novel, but this usage never distracts from the main story nor does it slow down the narrative too badly. I am in no way versed in legality terms but I found it easy to make it through the passages which contained them and still understand what was going on.
All These Things is meant to be the sequel to Tiro’s Implicit: Soul Invictus, which I reviewed here a couple weeks ago. However, this book reads more like a prequel than a sequel in many ways. We get to see Maya before she becomes a law school professor, back in her days as a PD, and learn more about the bizarre case which she wanted to write about in Implicit: Soul Invictus. Tiro has admitted that All These Things was the first of the books he had written with Implicit: Soul Invictus coming later, and I think that that order shows in the books. In fact, I wish that I had read this book first. I came to understand Maya much better, including her experience with the spiritual world before the events of Implicit: Soul Invictus. Such background would have helped me to understand Maya’s journey in the first book much better, and I feel that I should go back and re-read Implicit: Soul Invictus now that I am armed with this new knowledge.
Overall, All These Things is an excellent piece of fiction with an engaging plot and dynamic characters. I spotted a few minor proofreading errors along the way, but they did not detract from the novel in general. While it is out of the intended order, I would actually suggest reading this book before the first book. Much more will make sense in the first book if you do. Even if you read them in the intended order, I think that fans of the supernatural and spiritual fiction will love both of these books, although for different reasons each time. You don’t get the same reading experience from both books in the series, but that’s part of the appeal to Tiro’s work.
If you want to read All These Things by Mark Tiro, you can order it as a Kindle book from Amazon. The Kindle book also includes a preview of Implicit: Soul Invictus and a note from the author about his process. To learn more about Mark Tiro, you can visit his website or check him out on Facebook.