Monday, March 30, 2015

{Blogging for Books Review} Rise of the Fallen by Chuck Black

Thank you to Michaela for being a guest reviewer today! 

From the publisher:
A six thousand year war rages and now the demonic Fallen are coming for him—the one man shrouded in mystery. Only Validus stands in their way.

Validus is the last and least of God’s angels, but he’s seen much across the millennia since his creation. Empires have risen and fallen as angelic and demonic forces battle in a raging war that will determine humanity's fate – and the fate of his defeated brothers. 

Eventually called to be an earth-bound warrior, Validus rises to a position of power and respect, commanding legions of angels through impossible battles and overwhelming odds. But when orders arrive from the Creator's most elite Messenger, he finds himself suddenly demoted to a task of apparent insignificance considering the fierce war they are waging against the demonic Fallen – the covert protection of one unbelieving man. 
Validus soon finds himself on a mission that will push him beyond his abilities as he battles to protect Drew Carter, for the Fallen are coming for him. Legions of them.  
As Validus races against time to discover why Drew is so important to humanity's survival, can he stand between Drew and all who would destroy him?

Michaela's Review

Please note that this book is the second book in a series.  I would advise you to read the first book, Cloak of the Light, beforehand so that you may have a better understanding this book, Rise of the Fallen.

​If you have read the first book​,​ Cloak of the Light, you were probably expecting  the prequel/sequel deal​ - at least I know I was.  ​The second book picks up on the cliff-hanger on which the first had ended​ and ​Drew finally figures out what it is that he’s seeing​.​  ​H​e would ultimately be saved​, and in all likelihood begins dating or even marries Sydney…..right? Wrong!

Instead, the latest Chuck Black book, Rise of the Fallen​,​ is essentially a retelling of the first book, Cloak of the Light, but from ​the perspective of ​Validus​​ who is ​introduced to us as the last angel ever created.

This book is in many ways​, ​​however​,​ not an exact replica of the last one. Drew is barely even in the story at all, which was a surprising turn because the last book was practically all about him.  This sudden exchange of main characters caught me a bit off guard. Also, other key players from the last book such as Sydney Carlyle and Benjamin Berg are mentioned only on occasion, and briefly at that.

(Slight spoiler alert!) ​This book begins with Creation and the fall of Lucifer (called Apollyon) along with the rest of the demons.  It then jumps back and forth just about every other chapter between “present day,” or ​the time when Validus comes in contact with Drew Carter, and ​preceding events in​ history where Validus fights alongside his fellow angels for mankind.  This writing approach of leaping back and forth on a timeline makes the plot a bit more difficult to follow, but that does not mean that the book itself is poorly written.

The fact that much of this book is primarily about angels means that a large part of it is speculation. Black includes a note at the beginning of the book in regard to this which I found helpful:

"This is a speculative work of fiction not intended to confuse or diminish the truth of God’s holy and inspired Word​."

​ A little further ​down we read that:
 ​"The intent of this book is to, through fiction, open our eyes to the reality of spiritual warfare as described in Scripture. I have made every attempt to not contradict the Bible in any way but rather use it as a foundation upon which to inspire serious contemplation about our eternity and ultimately to give honor and glory to God.​ ​The Reader's Guide at the end of this book will carefully delineate the truth of God’s Word from the fiction in this story. Please take the time to read and understand it so that there is no confusion regarding solid biblical doctrine."

The Reader's Guide is an extremely helpful resource included in this book, so please ​use it.

​​In short, this is​,​ on the whole​,​ a well written book​.​  Black appears to have put a lot of thought and prayer unto it.  It was the way that the story itself played out that caught me by surprise.  I also found it different​ from the literature that I'm used to and usually only read ​as far as all of the speculation about angels​,​ which is a large part of the plot of this book.​  ​The Introduction and Reader's Guide​,​​ however, play a big part in clarifying the story in a way that assures the reader that the author is not disregarding Scripture.

I must confess that this book wasn't what I was expecting it would be and was a bit disappointing.  It doesn't answer the question “what happens to the main character next?” which is raised by the cliffhanger at the end of the first book.  Instead, it answers the unasked question of “what was happening to somebody else before and during the time of this story?”​ ​prolonging and even dampening the suspense which the first book had inspired.

Maybe it wouldn't have as bad if there had been a third book I could reach for in which to find answers.  Instead, I’m back to waiting again with less rather than renewed enthusiasm.  Obviously this story is going to be longer than I had first anticipated.

A note from Jenny (who didn't read the book):  Due to the intermingling of biblical truths with speculation, I would not recommend this book.  Even with the author's attempt to clarify this with the Reader's Guide, my personal feeling is why even muddy the waters.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

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