Showing posts with label evil. Show all posts
Showing posts with label evil. Show all posts

Monday, June 4, 2018

When Through Deep Waters by Rachelle Dekker– A Review

I’ve read a lot of books.
Few like this.

I’ve read books that wowed me with the twist at the end. I’ve read books that were so-so yet had enough entertainment value to rate them worthwhile—and books that didn’t. I’ve read books that were of significance in the societal story they told. I’ve read books that made me laugh, books that made me cry, books that swept me away to a make-believe existence. But every once in a very long while, I read a book that grabs something inside of me and shakes it—grabs and won’t let go, pulling me into the life of a character so completely that I’m somehow melded with them in their struggle. 

To say I was invested in this character is a gross understatement. This is the kind of investment for which authors strive. Alicen McCaffrey begins her story quite unlikeable. A self-absorbed well-to-do, shallow, detached . . . Alicen quickly became someone I felt deeply sorry fornot just sympathetic, but my heart broke for her as I shared in her unbearable grief and resulting sickness. 

Having a brother with severe mental illness likely pulled me even stronger into this story. Witnessing his schizophrenia, it’s not hard to picture a non-existent world so real that you not only can touch it but be threatened by it—even to the point of death. Stay away if you are uncomfortable with a close-up story of grief and delusions. There were a few times early in where I wondered if this book would haunt me, leaving a scar on my sanity. Happy to say it didn’t. It just left a mark on my heart of a character so real I prayed she would make it through the darkness.

One minute I believed this was happening. A page later—no, it’s that. (Avoiding spoilers here.) The author is skilled at keeping me guessing throughout. The further I ventured, the harder it was to put down. I lost sleep. I love that about a book.

After finishing the last page (very late), my mind filled with tags: freaky, crazy, emotional, spiritually lifting, joy, grief, light, darkness, evil, goodness. Everything. Every emotion rolled into a very involved and evolving battle. I am desperate to forget everything about this book so that I can read it again with the same hope, fear, heartache, joy.

In other words, I really liked it. I give this book FIVE stars (because that’s the max.) I can’t wait to get my hands on another by this author. I guess I should ad that it’s well written and edited, and that the characters are well developed.

Available for pre-buy now, When Through Deep Waters releases on July 3.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Review of Piercing The Darkness by Frank Peretti

I was having a heavy conversation with a good friend about spiritual forces, and the prevailing wickedness in a current situation. She jumped up and said, "I've got a book for you to read!" A minute later she was back with not one, but two Frank Peretti books. She explained that he writes novels about spiritual warfare going on around us. I was intrigued...


If you don't believe in God and/or don't like reading books with heavy spiritual messages, do yourself a favor and skip this one. I read several negative reviews based on a dislike of the genre rather than quality of writing or story. Don’t buy Christian fiction, and then blast it for being spiritual. One reviewer went as far as to accuse the author of false allegations against a well-known organization that has a similar name to the powerful group in the story. True—one does infer the connection while reading—but knocking the story because it isn’t true doesn’t seem fair to the author. It is FICTION. And, if a buyer would read the summary before purchasing... Well, enough said.

On the other side of the coin, most of the positive reviews seemed to be based on emotion tied to religious conviction. Am I alone in not buying a book solely because I share the faith of the author? This book does speak to some serious issues, and gives an awe-inspiring view of the angelic realm that perhaps surrounds us as we go about our daily lives, but that alone does not a good book make. I don’t give stars based on agreement in spiritual matters.

Peretti’s writing style: There were a number of characters introduced early on—it was hard for me to keep them straight—so this is not a book to pick up if you read a few minutes before bed each night. Also, this author doesn't mind using lots of run-on sentences--and by run on, I mean paragraph-length. Aside from a couple of minor details, the writing was technically correct. However, based on style alone, I would give this book just two stars on the Goodreads’ scale—it was okay. The pace was not to my liking, structurally speaking, and it was rather lengthy. At times I wanted him to hurry it along.

I really struggled reading through all the names of the evil spirits. Some lame—some too abrupt. For me, it was often an interruption in the flow of the story that should have wound up on the editing floor. Also, most of the battle scenes were hard to enjoy—just spirits zooming and slashing everywhere. (I admit to 'speed-reading' a bit during some of those.)

The storyline: There were two intertwined storylines to this book—one in the spiritual realm and one in the earthly realm. Although the plot was far-fetched and at times complicated, it will touch a cord with Christians who see the fallenness of today’s world and sense a climate of persecution toward the Church. Peretti’s story hits close to home in what we see happening in today’s culture—both in the secular society, as well as in the church itself. I see this as the selling point of this story.

NO SPOILERS HERE: The ending was a little disappointing. You know when you say to yourself, “I can’t wait to see how he ties all this together!” Well, it wasn’t all I was expecting. He did tie it together, although not convincingly in some areas. It lacked the ‘Wow!’

On a personal note, I felt a bit convicted about my prayer life. As we begin to see the battle between the evil forces and God’s warriors, we are reminded to stay awake: 

“…It was a perfect place to begin the process.” His beastly 
face grew tight and bitter. “Until they started praying. 
Until they ceased being so comfortable and started 
weeping before God! Until they began to reclaim the 
power of the…” The Strongman sealed his lips.

“The Cross?” the aide volunteered. 
 (Excerpt from page 36)

On another personal note, I thought I'd share this photo of
the table where I keep my bedtime reading. Girly, isn't it?

I struggled a little with what rating to give this book, finally settling on four-stars—the ‘really liked it’ on Goodreads’ scale. The writing wasn’t my cup of tea, the plot had holes like swiss cheese, but in the end, I read for entertainment—and I was thoroughly entertained!

I was also intrigued by the thought of the spiritual battle going on around us. More importantly, I was invested in the characters. Even when I wanted him to hurry along, I wasn’t willing to skip over anything. I wanted to know that good wins over evil. I wanted the ugly spirit to get his ‘what’s coming’. I wanted the MC to be safe and saved. I wanted the righteous to triumph!

This was my first Frank Peretti novel. It is book two in This Present Darkness series. There are hints about the first previous story from an out-of-town character, but you need not read these books in order. 

I plan on reading the other book
my friend loaned me
before I make up my mind
on this author.

Perhaps I'll review it here in the near future.