by Jerry B. Jenkins
544 pages, Contemporary
Reviewed by LLizzieG

A powerful story, but reader discretion is strongly advised.


Brady, a young man raised in a trailer park, has lots of talent but little motivation. Instead of seizing what might have been a golden opportunity, Brady drops out of high school and begins a long, downward spiral.

Meanwhile Tomas Carey, a sincere but struggling pastor, accepts a position in a maximum security jail.

The two are destined to meet.


Sin is clearly portrayed as such in this book. A large part of the story is devoted to Brady's lifelong nosedive including theft, alcohol, prison, and more. Throughout the book, however, it is clear that he is making bad choices and must face severe consequences for them.

Spiritual Content

"Riven" alternates between Pastor Carey and Brady's points of view. Christian themes are clear throughout the book, but shine most in the latter part. When Brady lands in death row, he finally begins a search for Truth. He meets with Pastor Carey, who shows him from the Bible how to be saved. After Brady accepts Christ, he spends endless hours memorizing scripture, which leads to amazing events in the prison. I gained a whole new appreciation of Christ's sacrifice on the cross because of this book.


Brady ends up on death row for murder, which is described vividly but not gratuitously.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Smoking, drug use and alcohol consumption are all included in this book.

Sexual Content

A high school girl makes suggestive advances on Brady and later in the book, Brady enters a relationship with another girl. Nothing explicit.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

Curses are mentioned, though not written down. One character says that prisoners will make bombs out of anything, and describes one particularly crude method.


I literally sobbed for the last thirty pages of this book. It's a powerful story of forgiveness and redemption, not to mention a vivid reminder of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. That said, reader discretion is definitely advised. This book is not for young readers!

Fun Score: 4
Values Score: 5
Written for Age: adult

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