Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie

Dystopian Novel ‘Reverence’ Clears High Bar



Book One of the Reverence Trilogy

By Raena Rood

One Foundation Publishing, 2022

Genre: Fiction/Dystopian/Apocalyptic/Christian Fiction

Pages: 305

Via: Author Request

Note: We received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

“Well, doggone it!” says I, Kimber the Magnificent. “You’d think one of us would learn. Never start a Raena Rood novel at night. If you do, you’ll be up till the wee hours finishing it. Cuz you can’t put it down! But you know Mom!” – Insert eye roll here. –

You know we loved Rood’s Subversives trilogy, right? Well, we did. Think nice, thick, juicy New York steak. With a T-bone chaser. And sirloin steak on the side. We didn’t know how this next trilogy would stack up. Which just shows you what we know.

Here’s the 4-1-1:

Basic Plot

Twelve years ago a global pandemic, the Job virus, wiped out the world’s population. Vita Nova survived by going into lockdown and building a humungous barricade wall to insulate residents from the sick and the dying.

The area outside the wall in what used to be Pennsylvania is The Dreaded Unregulated Zone. It’s a wild and untamed land of the Lawless. They’re marauding bands of brutal and ruthless murderers. You so do not want to go into the Zone. Ever.

But Vita Nova is overcrowded. Its resources are becoming scarce. So city leadership has implemented two programs: The Compulsory Program and the Volunteer Program. The former requires anyone over age 60 or with a chronic illness to be put to death. The latter offers residents the chance to be “revered” at a public ceremony and receive a Final Week of luxury and pampering at the lavish Rolling Meadows country club in exchange for their Sacrifice – ending their own lives.

Kimber: “For the good of all,” my paw print!

Kira Liebert lost her mother to the Compulsory Program two years ago. She’s now a “volunteer advocate,” arranging a swank Final Week for Volunteers and fulfilling any special requests during same.


Young Will Foster is a resident of The Tenements. He’s a “sanitation engineer,” a job that requires the disposal of dead bodies outside the barricade.

Will has no family. An awful job. No future. It’s only a matter of time before he’s forced to become a Compulsory. So he walks into Kira’s office to “Volunteer.” He has just one request for his Final Week.

He wants to spend it with Kira.


So… who is Will Foster? What’s his story? Why did he volunteer? And why does Kira’s stomach flutter every time he’s near? Why is nothing as it seems? And is Vita Nova a utopian sanctuary, or something else?

“What is the truth?” she asked. “Why did you bring me here?”

And then… Oh, wait. To find out what happens next in this intense, emotionally gripping, faith-based roller coaster ride, you’ll have to read the book!

“No matter what happened today, someone who loved Will would take care of him. That was all that mattered.”

Still a Thing?

Oh yeah. Is the Broadstreet Market in Harrisburg, PA still a thing? Cuz one of us really wants to go there. And slurp up a bowl of creamy vegetable soup. One of us also remembers Canon in D Major (from her own wedding). Ditto Emmitsburg. Hello, “Pickett’s Charge”! 

“Stay awake…” Dahlias… “This is for you, Mom…” For such a time as this…

A Cameo!

Wait. Where were we?  Oh yeah.  The name of a certain well-loved doggie has a cameo in this evocative, richly textured and compelling story. Just sayin’.

That’s one of the best things about Raena Rood novels. Expert attention to details. Prodigious world building skills. Superlative writing. Abundant action and suspense. Three-dimensional, believable characters and credible dialogue. Careful, thoughtful formation of a nimble, coherent plot.

All draw you in from page one and keep you on the edge of your seat to the end.

All the Dots

Rood connects all the dots. She doesn’t leave you hanging. Or guessing. It’s a breath of fresh air. (We didn’t get the whole rose thing cover art when the initial cover reveal rolled out. The ARC version has a new cover. But now we get both. You will too.)

A High Bar

One other thing. We didn’t think another book could measure up to the Subversives trilogy. Cuz that’s a pretty high bar. Along comes Reverence… Well. Just shows what we know. Again. Cuz Reverence is one heckuva barn burner. Think The Hunger Games meets Logan’s Run meets Romeo and Juliet and The Twilight Zone. Only faster. Fresher.

Can’t wait for the next installment from this talented author.

You gonna eat that?


Our Rating: 5.0

7 thoughts on “Dystopian Novel ‘Reverence’ Clears High Bar

  1. Thank you both for the continued love and support! I shared your blog post to my Facebook feed (personal and author page). What a wonderful review from two of my favorites! –Raena

  2. I have yet to read a book by Reana Rood, and this one sounds wonderful. I’ve added it to my TBR.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s