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Christian fantasy fiction May 31, 2013
We are constantly bombarded with endless options of art, entertainment, and media, and new, popular content is made available almost daily, none of which have any concern with the spiritual welfare of the recipients. Concerning young adult literature, there are many popular titles: Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, and Twilight, for example, and many of them have a certain mythical, magical, or supernatural aspect about them that provides substance to the plot. Additionally, they all revolve around kids as the main protagonists!
Perhaps, then, it is the cynic in me who despairs the awkward, seemingly unnatural or tacky way that artists and authors of the 21st century tend to portray Christian truths via fictional literature. Can Christianity enter into this competitive field of teen literature unscathed?
Now enter Jerel Law onto the scene. In his first book, Spirit Fighter, he has attempted to create the very object of this discussion: a fictional story on par with the action-packed, supernatural fads, yet heavily infused with Christian truths. Though similar in scope to C.S. Lewis and his Space Trilogy or Narnia series, Law decides to cover nothing in allegory, preferring to create a story blatantly Christian in nature. Scripture is quoted; the characters pray to God; actual figures from the Bible appear in the story; spiritual development is encouraged. It is also a story full of action. The story moves along quickly; spears and arrows fly everywhere; possessed cougars and a Leviathan attack; Fallen angels troop here and there. And of course, children are the ones who must save the day.
Is Law successful in creating a fantasy story that children will enjoy and Christians can be proud of? I would say for the most part yes. Keeping the target audience in mind, the story is entertaining, though this story is much simpler and more straightforward than any of the examples above. Keeping the overarching purpose in mind, the reader is blatantly challenged with his/her awareness of the spiritual struggle that is constantly raging around us.
The question parents will want to ask is how much speculation and imagination they are comfortable with regarding some passages of Scripture. This is because of the direct correlation between a fictional story and the Scriptures. The very plot of the book relies on a particular interpretation of Genesis 6:4, where angels create offspring with humans, resulting in the Nephilim, humans with superhuman powers. The armor of God is Ephesians 6 is also extrapolated to be God-given angelic powers to help fight off the fallen angels and their schemes.
I personally do not think this is anything to be concerned about for our young readers out there, though parents should be prepared for the opportunity to clarify what parts of the book are in Scripture and what parts were embellished for the sake of the story.
The only parts I found disappointing, and where the book had a tendency to stray toward the tacky side, were in matters relating to the faith of the main characters. Every time things were getting confusing or desperate, the children were encouraged to just have more faith. Don’t know where to go? Just have faith and you’ll figure it out. In a bind? Just pray with faith and you’ll suddenly have strength. Don’t know what to do? Your faith will make it clear as a summer sky. I wish Law took more time to discuss the complexities of faith without such a clichéd sense of simplicity and repetition. Rather, he could have used the opportunity to discuss how faith and prayer changes our perceptions, attitudes, and expectations in such a way as to better align ourselves with his will and make better decisions.
Instead, the children in this book simply squeezed out more faith or made a desperate prayer and miraculous things suddenly happened that saved the day. A more realistic approach would be for faith and prayer to guide the kids to make better decisions so that they avoided certain bad situations or to help them be content with the circumstance they faced.
Part of me truly desired for Spirit Fighter to compete in quality of storytelling with the popular series titles listed earlier, but even though it does not, I would recommend this book. It is a good fantasy fiction resource to expose children to the spiritual side of their lives, and enjoy a fun story at the same time.
Review by Loren
Excellant Read! June 12, 2012
What an awesome read! I started out reading this book with my 11 year old son, but it was hard to find a time that we could read together since he is still in school. I decided to finish the book without him, and once school is out, we will pick right up where we left off. The first few chapters we read together though were great, he enjoyed them as much as I did! He is an avid reader, and loved reading the books that were mentioned above, but we were both excited to see what this series, with a Christian background to it, had to offer.
Now, I have to admit, I do not know my Bible inside out like I should. I loved when we came across a verse from Genesis in the first few chapters of the Spirit Fighter, leading us to the part of the Bible where the Nephilim are referred to. I know we have both read that part of the Bible before, but had not fully understood or even remembered the Nephilim being there.
Scripture is placed sporadically throughout the book, giving reference to and backing up parts of the story that refer to putting on the armor of God, the shield of faith, and so much more! Jonah and Eliza (his sister), use scripture throughout their battles, helping to build their faith and stand strong in their beliefs. I loved how this was a strong reminder to kids now a days to cloth themselves in what is right and true.
I LOVED this book! I would give it more stars if I could, but since I can't, I will give it 5! If your looking for a good read, something to share with your tween or teen, I highly suggest this book!
**I received this book free from the publisher, and was not required to write a positive review."
Review by Shondra
“In his exciting debut novel, Jerel Law transports readers to a place where supernatural forces of good and evil collide. Young readers will be entertained and inspired by Spirit Fighter. I heartily recommend it.” —Robert Whitlow, bestselling author of the Tides of Truth series
Percy Jackson, move over! Jonah Stone is here!
What if Nephilim—the children of angels and men—still walked the earth? And their very presence put the entire world in danger? In Spirit Fighter, Jonah and Eliza Stone learn that their mother is a Nephilim and that they have special powers as quarter-angels. When their mom is kidnapped by fallen angels, they must use those powers to save her. Along the way, they discover that there is a very real and dangerous war going on between good and evil and that God has a big part for them to play in that war.
Parents today are looking for fiction that makes Christianity and the Bible exciting for their kids. This series is the Christian answer to Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Kane Chronicles, The Secret Series and other middle-grade series packed with adventure, action, and supernatural fights. Son of Angels, Jonah Stone will be the first series in the market to explore this topic from a biblical perspective with content that is appropriate and exciting for middle-grade readers.
“Jerel Law has crafted a fantastic story that will leave every reader wanting more. Stop looking for the next great read in fantasy fiction for young readers—you’ve found it!” —Robert Liparulo, bestselling author of Dreamhouse Kings and The 13th Tribe
|Who it's for||
|Series||Son of Angels, Jonah Stone|
|Publication Date||April 3, 2012|