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I have been an avid reader from as early as I can remember. Since becoming a Christian in my early 20s, my passion for reading led to specifically Christian fiction and this has developed into reviewing them on this blog. I love reading debut author's novels or those author's who have not had many reviews thus providing them much needed encouragement 
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Friday, 28 March 2014

End Of The Innocence, (Black Earth, Volume 1)

Black Earth: End of the Innocence

On the evening of his high school graduation, Nathan Pierce collapses on stage. Plagued with visions of a strange girl intent on killing herself, he wonders if his mental instability is a consequence of the deadly car accident he was in days earlier.

Heather Rhodes, wracked with guilt because of the fatal wreck, finds she is unable to forgive herself and begins to question her own beliefs. While the death of a newborn weighs on her heart, on her mind is the strange gift she was able to use to protect her and Nathan in the accident...a gift that Heather wonders may have just been a figment of her imagination.

Cynthia Ruin, aka The Pink Rabbit, decides that her high school graduation night should be used for partying, not walking down the football field. At a nightclub in Scottsdale, Cynthia finds more than she bargained for when a stranger from her past decides to exact his revenge on her for a prior rejection.

All three come to realize that their current problems are nothing compared to the stars that are falling from the sky. During the global crisis, the President of the United States makes it her personal mission to keep the country on the right track to becoming a world superpower, while a hostile entity known only as Absolute threatens her administration.

Meanwhile, word starts to spread that the falling stars may not be stars at all....


Review: 

This is the first book I have read by David Alderman and the first in a newly created genre created by him called Edgy, Christian Speculative Fiction. He describes this as:

"Christian speculative fiction - in general terms, science fiction/fantasy/horror/supernatural fiction with Christian themes and edgy content, such as sexual themes, language, drug use, and violence. This unique genre crosses the lines of both secular fiction and Christian fiction, and creates a new breed - not just to appeal to a wider audience, but also to shed light on realistic, entertaining writing that has the power to appeal to both Christians and non-Christians alike"

From reading about this from The Crossover Alliance, (a site he created for like mind authors and their books), this new genre has caused controversy in Christian Fiction circles due to the themes of sexual content, drug use and violence. He has valiantly defended these claims and after reading this first book I have no problem with the inclusion of these controversial themes.

In this book, there is only one sex scene, a rape, and it is not graphic at all, its description is short with little detail, therefore no shock, no offense, no smut, no eroticism (and believe you me, I am quite a prude when it comes to sexual themes in Christian fiction!). What I did find is that it painted the culture that Sin, one of the main characters, lived in and her attitude to this culture. It also showed how easy it is for anyone to fall victim to sexual sin, even Christians, when the right triggers, and circumstances are in place and their relationship with God is not as it should be. For the Christian, sexual purity all comes down to spiritual warfare and having a right relationship with God. This is shown in this novel. 

I am glad I had researched David's rationale, attitude for including these edgy themes in his work, it has resulted in my not getting my defences up before I started reading, expecting something graphic, downgrading, offensive and dishonouring to God promoting sexual promiscuity and idolising sex. Researching David gave me an insight into this author's mind and heart toward writing and towards God and it is all good and very encouraging. I would suggest that if any reader has any reservations about the themes in his writing, they owe it to themselves to investigate his rationale of this new genre through his blog at David N Alderman.

After reading this book, this author is one that I have no problem following. He writes well, his plot is well developed and paced well. It keeps you coming back for more as it is fast paced. His characters are very relational, nothing two dimensional here, you will find yourself loving the main characters, Nathan, Heather, Griffin, Jasper and Hush to name a few and hating the other main characters, Alpha 1, Evanescence, Mr Silver.

I would have thought is could be tricky blending fantasy, science fiction and horror together but Alderman does a very good job, although this is based on having read only this book so I have nothing to compare it to.

Alderman has achieved what he set out to achieve: blending the themes of Christian eschatology, (the end times), the battle of good versus evil, supernatural elements, alien invasion altogether without being disjointed or fractured. Apparently one reviewer of the final book has stated that Alderman joins all these together into one cohesive end plot very well for its finale. This I am looking forward to.

I applaud Alderman for creating this new genre and this series. Both are exciting, very escapist, very creative and shows his talent to create a world of many and varied characters and worlds, dark yet not totally oppressive, not religiously preachy, but believable.

Highly Recommended


Sunday, 23 March 2014

Every Eye Will See by Graham Carter


Every Eye Will See 

For almost a millennium Planet Earth has experienced an
unprecedented period of peace and prosperity. The devil and his followers are in chains. The planet is ruled by the King of kings and those saints who were part of the first resurrection. Sarah Glen is one of them.

Sarah governs ten cities in the Azure Mountains. She loves the people under her care and enjoys her role of administering the Lord’s justice and mercy. Whenever her earthly duties allow, Sarah heads to Paradise where the wonders of her heavenly home continue to surprise and delight her.

But it is all about to end. 


Satan and his forces are released from prison, and they begin to wage war against the saints. As the powers of darkness gather for the final assault on the King and His followers, one demon in particular, Melas, sets out to take revenge on the one who imprisoned him a thousand years earlier – the immortal Lady Sarah.

Review:

When I read the first edition of No Eye Has Seen in 2010, I had discovered one of my favourite authors, and one of my favourite books in my collection. When I then found out that Graham had written a sequel, Every Eye Will See, but his publisher was reluctant to publish it due to low sales of No Eye Has Seen, I was frustrated and angry. My attitude was that based on the quality of No Eye Has Seen, the sequel, had to be published. If it was on par with or better than this book, it had to be published. And seeing I loved No Eye Has Seen so much, I was not going to give up hope.

After contacting Graham about this, he encouraged me to contact the publisher requesting this sequel be published. I did, but received no reply by them. I gave up for the moment.

Later last year I was looking in my bookshelf for a book, when I spotted No Eye Has Seen. This brought back all those memories of when I read it and what it means to me. It reawakened my desire to have the sequel published. I had embraced the e-book platform since reading No Eye Has Seen and seeing that a lot of authors were self publishing on this platform, I decided to contact Graham and ask him to consider publishing both books as e-Books. He replied that since I had read No Eye Has Seen, he has changed publishers and his new publisher was all for publishing his books to the eBook format. I was so excited. The sequel was to be published at long last!!

The other great news was that Graham's standalone book Against The Unknown, which had also never been published would also be published. It is now available and is also a great book. Highly Recommended.

So it is will this background, that I write the following review:

Graham again has created a masterpiece with Every Eye Will See. It follows on nicely from No Eye Has Seen, but not in the environment of Earth. No Eye Has Seen ends with the seals from the book of Revelation being opened. Every Eye Will See opens at the end of the millennial reign of Christ. The demons from No Eye Has Seen have been imprisoned for 1000 years and have now been released. Melas has set in motion his revenge against Sarah. What unfolds is the life in this post millennial world leading up to the final battle of satan and his demons leading to their defeat and banishment for eternity to hell and the judgement seat of Christ of those who had rebelled against Christ during the millennial years or after.

Graham has beautifully described the life of those in the post millennial world under the reign of Jesus. The environment he describes is one of the best and most descriptive from all the Christian fiction I have read that have this setting as part of its plot. 

It is very addictive reading and transports you there. There is nothing fantastical (this meaning not fantastic, but that it is not based on fantasy) here. It gives us a glimpse of what living in the post Millennial age is like, and I guess we are not going to know how accurate this world described by the author is until we actually live in this post millennial world, for us believers, this is in the future. And from reading this novel, I can hardly wait!!

Graham describes various subplots that all lead up to the final revenge scenes between Melas and Sarah and which is included in the final battle scenes before Jesus ends this once and for all. This revenge agenda does not dominate the final battle scenes but fits in very nicely. Conversely, this final battle scene with Jesus as the Victor does also not diminish or reduce the revenge agenda of Melas to Sarah. Both fit in very nicely.

As with No Eye Has Seen, I did not want this story to end. This is a combination of Graham's writing style and the descriptive imagery that he created in this post millennial world. But for me another factor was the relationship he described between Jesus and Sarah and other characters and how in doing so, has shown more of what the character and person of Jesus is. My spirit soared, while reading these scenes, I found wanting more of Jesus in my life, (a closer walk with Thee!) and it was almost as if Jesus was relating to me the way He was relating to Sarah and other characters. Dare I say, that there was a message for me from God through Graham's writing? I have no doubt. Just another example of how God uses Christian authors through their writings and creativity to show us more of who He is and what He achieved through His death on the Cross and what He wants for us.

All Graham's books, No Eye Has Seen, Every Eye Will See, Against The Unknown and Guardians of Eden are four of my favourite books in Christian fiction.

All his works are Highly Recommended.


Tuesday, 18 March 2014

A Warrior's Return (The Warrior Kind, Book 4) by Guy Stanton III

A Warrior's Return (The Warrior Kind) 

How did the first peoples of Earth learn to chart the depths of space and leave the first world for other worlds? Does there still exist in the hidden corners of the planet the ability to be as the first mariners of space? One man is desperate to find out the secrets of the ancient past, but there are others with darker agendas that must be stopped 
at all costs.

Evangelina Fortunas is to the point of not caring about what
 comes next in life. She’s tired of it, but continues on with the thought of what would happen to her young son alone on the streets ever present on her mind. The knowledge of that horrible fate drives her onward in her occupation as an exotic dancer. Evangelina receives a visit from a mysterious man and is not prepared for the powerful maelstrom of international intrigue that she is caught up in by the actions of one man on a mission. Taken from her downward spiral to an early grave she experiences what it is to be given respect and a chance at something far better. She learns the ways of the world beyond the flashing lights and stiletto heels of her former haunts to become embroiled in a war for survival of an entirely different kind. An old evil has resurged into the present with a death grudge for the people, who technologically chained their physical counterparts to the Earth to perish within the great flood of Biblical days. The offspring of their dark thoughts is back online now, and they want payback. They even know where to go off world to reap their revenge. Can one warrior and his band of mercenaries, with the help of one reformed Columbian hooker, protect another world from the remembered evil desires of a people long dead? 

Review: 

Having read this fourth book in The Warrior Kind series, I have become more than accustomed to losing myself in the world that Stanton creates, and I just did not want it to stop. I have one more book to look forward to and then will have to wait for Stanton's next book. 

This book is another worthy instalment in this series. It continues the story of Talaric that was left unfinished in Book 2, A Warrior's Journey. This is a very different Talaric that we left in the previous book. He has since been restored to a right relationship with God and has dealt with his rebellion and selfishness he exhibited in Book 2. Since staying on Earth, he has developed into quite the Warrior his parents and siblings would be proud of, especially Zevin and Gavin. I reckon Stanton has enjoyed doing this! In the fight scenes where he is rescuing Evangelinas from Victor and his henchmen, he shows off his fighting expertise, and it is very impressive, very skilful. 

This instalment is told in the first person narrative of a new character, Evangelinas Fortunas, who is very disillusioned with her life as an erotic dancer/prostitute and is at the end of herself and her "profession". Talaric has become enamoured with her and ends up caring for her after she is beaten up by the aforementioned Victor who considers he owns her.

What follows is a very beautiful and tender account of how Talaric cared for
 her wounds, and treated her with respect and dignity without any condemnation toward her way of life. Reading this account felt as if Jesus was caring for her instead of Talaric. For me, this showed a facet of the author's heart towards God. Very memorable pieces of writing that make up this account. This also shows the reformation that Talaric has undergone in his relationship with God since remaining on Earth. Very convincing seeing he was such a rebel in Book 2. 

Stanton has used Talaric's mission to remain on earth as instructed by The Creator, to learn more about his people's origin's while on Earth centuries ago and discovers that there are moves afoot by the remaining descendants of the pre-flood tribe, the Orlandians, to seek revenge on Talaric's tribe, the Vallians, by seeking their technology and returning to their new planet and effecting their annihilation and possession of their lands. The account of Talaric finding out this scheme and the forgotten technology is very intriguing and his confrontation of the holographic image of one of the past Orlandians gives some background to what he is up against and confirms why he stayed behind: to thwart the revenge by the Orlandians on the Vallians, especially the Ta'lont family, after a certain Ta'lont betrayed the Orlandians by withholding their newly developed technology of space travel which left them stranded on Earth to endure the devastation and annihilation of the Flood. 

This revelation from the Orlandian hologram strengthens Talaric's resolve to outwit the remnants/descendants of the Orlandians so that they cannot find the technology left behind all those centuries ago and so find a way to the Ta'lont's home in a galaxy far, far away and exact their revenge on the Ta'lont homeland and people. From this point on, the pace and action increases and the existing sense of not being able to put this novel down becomes even more impossible. 

Stanton has introduced a band of memorable and loveable misfits that, when banded together by Talaric for this one purpose, are a very formidable team all knitted and fitted together and working as a well oiled machine. This adds to the overall characterisation of the novel and enjoyment and is one factor that makes this novel a success.

This works well as they find more clues to their sought after technology and decipher these clues to reveal more about the mystery of how the Vallians left Earth and how they are going to leave Earth this time. Interspersed through this, is sub-plots showing how Eva (Evangelinas) fits into this group, desires to know God and accepts His offer of salvation, ministers God's love and grace to one of the group who is hurting badly and helps heal her past, learns how to shoot and warfare strategies and above all, learns how another aspect of love that is not based on the physical only or for selfish desires, but learns to love others unconditionally, especially Talaric and also herself as a worthy person based on the agape love that can only come from God as He reveals Himself to her, and this forms a great part of her total transformation into a new creation as the Bible states and new believers experience. 

As usual, Stanton has introduced spiritual elements that are very edifying to God and one's faith. This is very consistent with his previous instalments and adds an all round richness, and depth to the plot, characterisation and fully supports and reinforces the God of the Bible and His many attributes. I applaud Stanton for not compromising who God is, for any aspect of this novel or series or who the reader is. It is truly a blessing to have God glorified in Christian fiction, and this series is a great example of this. 

The rest of this novel involves finding the technology and ship to return home, and while this is happening, there is one great family reunion with unexpected family members that just adds to the action, suspense, and adventure leading to one great climax and well rounded ending that is still filled with suspense. 

Was really sad to finish this book, but I have one last escapism left (Book 5) and then will get into Stanton's other series.  

Highly Recommended.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Dragon Slayer: Beginnings (The Dragon Slayer Chronicles Book 1) by Carey Green


Dragon Slayer: Beginnings: Book One of the Dragon Slayer Chronicles (Volume 1)

Dragons have been forgotten, relegated to the realm of legend and myth. But tales of horror circulate among the common people. Rumors of their attacks float on the night wind. They are a fearsome presence that haunts the memories of the old and the nightmares of the young. 
They are forgotten, but they are not gone. 

The dragon masters wait, a dark force lurking in the shadows of every land. They will have their opportunity. They will rise. 

A young boy is stripped violently from his family and thrust into the conflict between dragon masters and feudal lords. Through tragedy and loss Hon is swept into the conflict while battling the fear and pain that grips his own soul. 

Dragon Slayer: Beginnings is a story of life and the growth of faith in the midst of loss. It’s about the battle every person goes through to become more than their past has destined them to be. 

He is the first. He will be the best. He is the Dragon Slayer.

Review:

I received this book from the author who found my blog from a Google search.
I liked what I saw from the description he provided and from the author's background. Going to Dragon Slayer book website Dragonslayer and on the Author page, I read what Green considers what makes his writing unique: 
  1. "My biblical counseling experience enables me to pull real-life personal struggles into the lives of my characters.
  2. My biblical teaching experience enables me to weave the truth of scripture into those struggles.
  3. The wide range of authors I’ve read has helped me learn different ways of creating memorable characters.
  4. Christian fiction isn’t just a way to make a living to me, it’s a tool to push people to think about deep, personal issues and apply God’s truth to their lives.
  5. I’m committed to being a down-to-earth author. I want to hear from my readers and help them along in their journey of faith" 
I decided I had better get reading and see for myself!

Plus this is his debut novel, and I like to review debut novels to give the new author some promotion and encouragement.

The other reason I decided on this book was that from reading other fantasy novels from Christian authors, I have found that Christian/biblical themes set in a fantasy world seem to make a successful marriage. I feel they lend to each other really well. 

Such is the case here with Dragonslayer: Beginnings. Green has developed those characters concerned with the main character, Hon, with faith in the Creator being evidenced in their lives, they are not just hearers of the Word but doers of the Word as the Bible encourages and this is evidenced by the way these characters seek to find Hon after he is kidnapped by the Dragon. There is one poignant scene where Hon's father, Stewart, shows his faith in action while searching for his son:
   
"My, my, my," the old man muttered, "a terrible thing. At such times one wonders what the Almighty is thinking, to permit such things to be done to innocents like your boy."

At that, Stewart raised his head for the first time. Looking Silas in the eye, he spoke strongly with great assurance. "Though the Lord has allowed this painful thing, and I am greatly tempted to fault Him, I will not. As you said yourself, His ways are a mystery. For us to question Him is like the ants who scurry at our feet to wonder at our actions. They do not and cannot understand. Neither can we." 

The old man looked at him, clearly surprised by his answer. "That is quite an attitude," he spoke. Ï'm pretty certain it would not be the mine, were I in your boots."

From this example, I can see that Green has employed his experience from his "..biblical counselling experience to pull real-life personal struggles into the lives of (his) characters" and his "..biblical teaching experience to weave the truth of scripture into those struggles". 

Another example is when Hon expresses some pent up anger as to why God allowed his parents to die by the dragon: 

"God is God, right? He's all powerful, right? He could have stopped that beast with a word, but He didn't!"My mother and father are dead because He did nothing".

Green answers that age old question that if God is God and all powerful, then why did He not stop bad things from happening and where is He in suffering? Other authors can fall into the trap of this explanation being a preachy dialogue from a character who has not experienced this suffering but Green delivers this explanation from a character, Abigail, who has experienced first hand what Hon has so she is qualified to let him know what it is like and what she learnt about God. She speaks from her heart and the reader can relate to this because this testimony is from Abigail's personal experience: 

"God is not to blame....God is God. His ways are beyond our puny understanding. I have leaned that He will not make himself subject to our scrutiny or examination...... one day I will know the reason and on that day....I will say the He has done what is right, in every case. Even mine.....We know what it's like to hurt, and to cry, and to be angry... we know what's it's like to bear the weight of such powerful emotions. But Hon, we also know the peace that comes from knowing that the same God who could have stopped the tragedy, is powerful enough to heal our broken hearts, and that He longs to do it."  

These two examples also show Green's attitude that Christian Fiction is  "...a tool to push people to think about deep, personal issues and apply God’s truth to their lives."

From this point on I knew I was on a winner! When an author uses real life experience depicted in a plot event to connect with a reader in this way, the reader is connected not just to the story but also to the author. In the examples above, Stewart's faith in action and Abigail's experience in loss and her reaction to it from a faith point of view, I could relate to 100% as I had the same faith response to a major personal event over 2 decades ago. I never questioned why God would allow that, but just accepted that this was His way and His will for us and I had to accept this knowing He is in control and I was not abandoned in that event or that He does not care about me in that event. 

Saturday, 8 March 2014

First Impression (A Shadow Maven Paranormal) by Pauline Creeden

First Impression (A Shadow Maven Paranormal) 

Chira Kelly thought she didn't t need anyone...until she met 
Ben.

Because of one ugly rumor, Chira lives as an outcast at her school. Which is fine with her,
because she works better alone. Always has, always will. And at least she has her one and only true friend, Tasha. When Tasha insists that they join a group to visit a possibly haunted abandoned old schoolhouse, she's wary, but joins her friend. Because of that decision, their lives are in jeopardy as a malevolent spirit targets the group. Tragedies and accidents pick them off one by one, and Chira finds herself drawn to the one person who can see the truth. But can he protect her?

Review: 

This is the first novel I have read of Pauline Creeden. An author friend, Ian Acheson, encouraged me to consider her books. I then saw her advertise this new book on Twitter and asked her if this would be published in the Kindle format. It was and Pauline tweeted asking for volunteers to sign up to review this book and the rest is history. I love reviewing books by new authors!! 

I was interested in this book due to this falling into a new genre that seems to be emerging, Christian Horror. This would be the third book I have read involving a haunted house by a Christian author I have come across. The previous two being Jess Hanna and Tom Smith. Both their books are highly recommended reading. Very impressive! 

First Impression did not disappoint being the first book I have read of this author! 


Pauline writes well, and her style engages the reader and keeps you coming back for more. 

This a fun, young adult read spiced with a mystery man, Ben, who has some supernatural ability to see the truth of people, his pet owl and a mystery past, a haunted house with resident ghost and the demonic oppression and death of those who come into contact with it. Told in the first person narrative by the main character, Chira, this lends itself to keeping the plot focused, and the reader's sympathies always centered on Chira and it is through this first person narrative that Pauline shows the persona of a typical 16 year old, but one who is very independent and one who is a bit of a loner having only one close friend, Tasha. She even perpetuates a rumor about herself to keep others away, especially the opposite sex.

It is set against this haunting of the house and the meeting of the five students who come into contact with the ghost and their tragic demise, that Chira finds her feelings developing for Ben and it seems to be quite reciprocal. Ben learns to trust someone, maybe for the first time in his mysterious past, and Chira learns that maybe being closed off from the male of the species is not necessary anymore since the death of her father and her ambivalence towards her step father. Creeden succeeds in balancing this suspense and horror together with the young romance between these two main characters and the mystery of who Ben really is and his supernatural "curse" as he describes it, although the monks he grew up with see it as a gift from God.

Creeden delivers just enough about Ben to stimulate the reader's curiosity to know more about his past, "...since his mother roved with a band of them (gypsies), could one of them have been his father? Gypsies and monks? What a strange childhood he must have had." and his supernatural ability "...I'm a Shadow Maven. I see the truth that most people can't, like impressions or demons.", his knowledge of the demonic, "...there is only two kinds of haunting. Impressions and possessions." and "...possession... familial demons that follow around a family for generations can often haunt them or a family home....a possession haunting is not the spirit of someone who was once living. It is a demon and can only be removed through exorcism." and the relationship with his owl, Steve, who Ben says he communicates with only by the fact that they know each other so well!

Then at the end of the novel there is a further mystery surrounding Ben when he shows his ability to deduce and find clues, to what is really going on at the old school house. At this point, I was nearly certain that Ben had some connection to this haunting and its fatal events, as the killings and demise of two of the five students who saw the ghost did not happen until after he arrived as a transfer student! I also wondered if this mystery would be solved in this book or would it spill over into the next! For me that was added suspense just working this out as I continued to read!

At the end of this novel, there is openings for the next book in the series as to what happens next to Chira and Ben, the further mystery of Ben and his past, more about what is a Shadow Maven and what paranormal adventures this will get him and Chira into. 

All in all, a very good, well rounded young adult novel that for me, where this is my first introduction to Creeden's writing, showcases her talent very well and for me to have become a fan.

I am looking at Sanctuary as my next Creeden read. This one has grabbed me as well.

Strongly Recommended

Thursday, 6 March 2014

The Third Heaven: The Rise of Fallen Stars by Donovan Neal

The Third Heaven: The Rise of Fallen Stars

The prequel to the Bible is here!

Explore the fascinating tale of the fall of Lucifer!

The Third Heaven: The Rise of Fallen Stars is book one of a three part series that explores the fascinating story of the Fall of Lucifer.

Lucifer, God’s perfect creation. Yet rose up to betray the Lord and bring Heaven itself to civil war.

Many tales have referenced this great angelic war but few have sought to explore the dynamic relationships between God and the angelic hosts. Why did a third of heaven seek to overthrow their creator?

See Lucifer, and his actions in a light never before seen. Journey back to the beginning, and see the drama unfold before your eyes: as allegiances are broken; choices made, and why all of creation waits for the manifestation of the sons of God!




Review:

This is the first work of writing of Neal's that I have read. But then again, this is the only novel he has written so far!! He does plan on future books. I look forward to them. I had bought this book in November 2013, and it stayed on my To Be Read list until the author contacted me (from finding my blog on a Google search) via email asking if I would review his book. That was not a hard decision to make seeing I had already bought his book and would have left a review anyway as I do for all the books I read. 

From reading The Third Heaven, I am pleased I am reading this now and not in the future. This is one very hard to put down piece of writing. You are transported to another world. Many times I had to remind myself that this was fiction and not an expanded account of the real events  that the Bible has not included! If anyone ever wondered about what Heaven is like before the creation of man, then look no further. As the book description says, The Prequel to the Bible is here! 


Neal writes well, and his descriptions of Heaven, the angels, newly created Earth and the galaxy and universe are well done.  He has outlined, however briefly, a hierarchy of angels according to their role and various functions. I found this fascinating. It is also Biblical as well, but the Bible is less descriptive about this than Neal who has used some poetic license in this matter. This has definitely added some very interesting plot lines and depth.

I can see that some Christians might have some issues with his depiction and portrayal of Heaven, the angels and even reference to controversial theology. I did come across a resource from Neal's website that does clarify these things. It can be found here: Thinking Behind The Third Heaven. I would recommend anyone considering reading this novel to check out the above resource. It will add to their understanding, and why the author has constructed it like he has and even some of the challenges he faced writing this novel. I am not surprised in a novel of this genre and plot. Many Christians can be very defensive in their opinions and understanding of topics such as the fall of Lucifer, angels in general, the war in Heaven, the creation of the earth and even Genesis in general. Neal has planned well for this by providing this resource. This adds to his credibility as an author and his commitment to not just entertain in this novel but to exhort and uplift the Bible, God and the Gospel message in this medium of fiction.

I found it very interesting the plot line about Apollyon. I know so very little of this angel other than what I have read in Revelation and in eschatological fiction that I had not considered anything about him before the fall of Lucifer. Yes, this is the author's poetic license showing but it did get me thinking and it adds a great storyline and precursor to the fall of Lucifer. Neal also provides a plot twist towards the end that I would never have seen coming relating to both these high ranking angels. Very clever! 

I really enjoyed a dialogue sequence where El (God) is talking to Lucifer, and it is very much old style English (same as in the KJV of the bible) and it is very beautiful. Adds a poetic, romantic edge to God despite the content of the dialogue being very serious and God being very serious in the circumstance. 

Any Christian  or anyone who has read the bible will know that Lucifer's pride was what led to his sin/downfall and the judgement of God upon him. Neal describes his pride and arrogance, even hatred of newly created man and man's reason for existence in such an intense way that the reader is tempted to take time out from reading this, in order to cope with this intensity. From this point on Neal weaves Lucifer's increasing pride and arrogance into the rest of the plot on all levels and layers and it is here that the pace becomes relentless and the action frenetic. The outcome is that war breaks out in Heaven while El is resting from his creative work. The angels are exposed for the first time to violence, hatred, deception, betrayal. All emotions that are very foreign to them and at first they do not know how to deal with them. They have never been left without any direction from El and to fend for themselves. This plays directly into Lucifer's deception.  Neal shines here with him weaving his own poetic license and recorded biblical events in a masterful way. His poetic license is very clever to wind all this up with a possible explanation of the gap between Genesis 1: 1 and 2. Very much riveting reading. 

Neal describes the creation of Hell very well, and it is another piece of riveting reading. Very descriptive and sobering and forms a great pillar in the plot structure. Very different to other fictional descriptions of Hell from other Christian authors but nonetheless appropriate and in line with what is recorded in the Bible. 

There is so much in this novel that to describe it here would make this review one very long and involved one. Neal is quite the story teller and this novel showcases his talent very appropriately.

This could translate to one great movie! 

Highly Recommended.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

A Warrior's Legacy (The Warrior Kind), Book 3) by Guy Stanton III



A Warrior's Legacy (The Warrior Kind), Book 3)

The powers of darkness have been vanquished on Roric’s world or have they? 

The revival of having the words of the Creator has brought victory on every front throughout Roric’s world, and it is an age of grace. Miracles are common, and the words of the Creator are preached everywhere. But Roric is disturbed when one of his twin sons, Gavin, comes to him in the night with a vision of a people strange to them. The vision is clear, there is a people that is in need of deliverance from darkness, but it is not clear where such a place could exist. Roric consults the guardian of secretes beneath Thunder Ridge Castle only to discover that he did not know his world as well as he thought he did. There is another land called Assoria. It is this Assoria his son has had a vision of. Gavin feels the calling to go and preach the words of the Creator to the inhabitants of this new land, but they know almost nothing about this land or its people. To protect Gavin during his ministry a warrior will be needed to accompany such a quest. So Roric sends his capable warrior son Zevin, who is Gavin’s twin to accompany his brother on the mission to enlighten the souls of the people of Assoria. Their mission becomes something much more than either brother could have imagined. Entire kingdoms fall as a sorcerer manipulates humanity for his own dark purposes, but deliverance comes from those who walk in the night and shun the light of day. Remnants of a people once great have again been made strong. Will a son of Roric find his legacy and rise to be a king and lead an army such as has never been seen before, to destroy a sorcerer, who wishes to rule supreme over all? 

Review: 

The Warrior Kind series continues with Zevin and his brother, Gavin, on a quest by the Creator to take His Word to a land they know nothing about. The Creator plants a seed in Gavin's psyche through a dream of a land in distress, of a people's spiritual and physical bondage and oppression. Gavin knows he has to seek out this land and take the Creator's Word with him and deliver them from spiritual bondage and leave instead a legacy of the Creator and His Word. Little does he know that he and his brother, Zevin, will be also leaving and building upon a spiritual legacy of their own, that or restoring the Ta'lont name and spiritual legacy that was started by the Ta'lont family centuries before them. 


Again, Stanton leaves the reader panting from the layers of richness from the pace of the plot, the romance that is found for Gavin and Zevin, the warfare and battle strategies to break the alliances within the various peoples of Assoria, the final confrontation between Zevin, Raya and the Sorcerer, the spiritual aspects being very evident and again showing the Creator as a God who is actively involved in His people and on a very relational level too. This latter aspect is one of the strengths of all The Warrior Kind novels. Stanton portrays the Creator as the God of the Bible and no other, and he depicts God well with His many attributes and character traits that the bible so richly exhibits. 



I was impressed with the conversion of Zalisha from following the Sorcerer and other gods to making the declaration that she and her people would follow the Creator and Him only. His presence and what He said to her is very powerful. It is these spiritual elements of the Creator revealing Himself to various characters in such a tangible way that provides credibility to the plot and characterization and richness to the novel. It also shows the heart of the author towards God.  

I absolutely loved the romance between Gavin and Zalisha and Zevin and Raya. Stanton is a great romantic by his own admission, and he definitely shows this flare in all his novels. This romance adds a very binding force to the plot and the success of uniting the peoples of Assoria and the defeat of the Sorcerer together with the Creator being sovereign in destroying this bondage and oppression.  

Stanton has depicted the underground land of Lanoria as a land of mystery, where rich deposits of the mineral trinial that provide light and sustenance for the Lanorians, the animals and plants that live there and for them to thrive. These people have developed their own culture and security in the protection of the underground world from this bondage and oppression. I loved reading this section of the novel. In my imagination, I can see a series of spin off novellas of Zevin's time there with untold adventures before he had to leave to continue the battle to overthrow the Sorcerer.

What becomes a very motivating factor in uniting the peoples of Assoria to overthrow and destroy the power of the Sorcerer is the outcome of the romance between Gavin and Zalisha and Zevin and Raya; both brothers become kings; Gavin of the Eastern Kingdom with Zalisha as his Queen and Zevin of Lanoria with Raya as his Queen. This forms the legacy of restoring and building on the Ta'lont heritage all those centuries ago that was destroyed by Sarcis, the younger half brother of Tadius Ta'lont, who became the Sorcerer. 


I loved the ending where the brothers return to the Valley Lands and introduce their new wives to Roric and Krista. This seems a very fitting and appropriate icing on the cake finale to this novel. 

It is very hard to have a favourite in this series. I think I will reserve my judgement on this to the last book. So far they are all favourites. 

Highly Recommended.