- Author: Andrews & Wilson
- Publisher: Tyndale House
- Synopsis: The Shepherds continue battling Victor and the Dark Ones, who are now in possession of a deadly weapon with alarming implications.
- Pre-Order Now
- Disclosure: I received a complimentary eARC of the book through the publisher and NetGalley. Opinions expressed are my own.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.2 Peter 3:9
See also the below references, which I’m not quoting here, in an effort to avoid spoilers of my favorite parts
- Matt. 20:1-16
- Deut. 31:8
In my review of book two, I discussed how I felt a little bit weird about some of the spiritual content with the whole “spiritual task force” thing. I think I feel a bit more okay with it, though, when I think about it as a work of fiction.
I remember reading a review for book one, with someone emphasizing the fictional aspect, before I started reading. To be honest, I was bothered, at the time, because I figured that the reviewer was implying that God doesn’t work in certain ways– and I am someone who believes that God continues to do supernatural things.
Here I am, now, saying the same thing– not because I don’t believe that God could or even would do things that way, but more just because of the specific organization (see my note on this below). However, and this is big, looking at this through the lens of fiction really changes my perspective.
A little over a month ago, I had an impactful conversation with R.M. Ruiz, who writes middle grade fiction. While reading her novel, I wanted spiritual element to correspond more directly to the Bible, especially because the book was set in “the real world.” The author explained that the book was a fantasy, not an allegory. While she wanted readers to come away from the book with a deeper understanding of trusting God, there was a lot that was fictionalized. She feels that it’s really important to have Christian books for kids, which aren’t in another world and point to God’s presence, here.
That conversation has stuck with me, as I think about interpretation of Christian novels with spiritual themes, and it has definitely affected my reading of Dark Fall. I would still feel uncomfortable recommending this book as, say, a solid work of theology, but recognizing that this is a work of fiction, and maintaining my notes about elements that could be misinterpreted, yeah, this is a book I can recommend.
It actually reminds me a bit of Touched by An Angel (one of my very favorite TV shows, and definitely the one God has most used to speak to me), in the sense of conveying some powerful truths about God, while not splitting hairs to ensure that everything is strictly based on the Bible. Although, Touched has a little bit more leeway in my mind, since the premise was that angels were the ones doing the things.
But, because I do want to mention them, here are the elements that would raise a flag for me, if interpreted realistically:
- The “spiritual task force” element, because of some trends I’m aware of in the church (i.e., Christians calling themselves “generals,” in a spiritual warfare sense)
- There’s an interpretation of a verse about exorcism, which I’m not sure I agree with, though it worked with the plot
- There’s a reference to God “needing” someone’s help. Granted, a kid says it, but it’s presented as true. Scripturally (Job 22:2, Acts 17:25), that’s not true.
- Although there is quite a bit of “spiritual content,” compared to many Christian books, I would have still liked to see even more interaction with Jesus, given all of the supernatural elements. However, compared to book two, I was very pleased, in this regard.
What I Liked
So, wow! I enjoyed book one, but felt a bit iffy about the spiritual content in book two. Nonetheless, I was really enjoying the series, so I requested book three, as well. And again, wow!
Amidst all of the action and intrigue, there was so much beauty in this book. The Lord used it, strongly, to minister to me, and I felt tears in my eyes several times, while reading. There was one scene, in particular, that God used for me. I was about to do something scary and RIGHT BEFORE, I read a part where God reminded a character of a Bible verse that I very much needed to read. I know that my mom was praying for me, at this time, for which I am also very grateful!
Thematically, there were multiple moments (the “beautiful” ones), that simply blew me away. I’m not going to say more, because I don’t want to spoil anything, but again, wow. I’m not yet sure whether or not there will be more books in the series; the book left me wanting more, but also with a profound feeling of satisfaction. I also feel that this one really gave me a better understanding of the “project” of the series, as a whole. Where I would have liked to have seen more spiritual content (about God’s character, for instance,) in previous books, I now believe that everything was leading up to… this. And, for me, the wait paid off!
As I mentioned above, the book reminded me of Touched by an Angel (with some This Present Darkness elements, for sure), which I definitely say as a compliment. In particular, it reminded me of the arc with Kathleen, though I won’t say much more, in case that’s a spoiler. (But, if you’re reading this and have also read Dark Fall/watched the TV show in question, I’m quite curious to hear your thoughts!)
The writing is great! I enjoyed the alternating perspectives, especially (ironically, given that both authors are male) the female perspectives. Upon reflection, I think that’s because Jed’s scenes (the more “action-packed” ones) are less of what appeals to me, as a reader. With that said, I really liked reading Sara Beth’s perspective, as well as Rachel’s and Maria’s.
Timing was also fantastic. Especially towards the end of the book, with the intensity building, I just wanted to keep reading!
I was pleased with the amount of spiritual content in the book, with the strong emphasis on prayer, trust in God, and redemption. I also felt that the commentary about fear was insightfully placed and meaningful.
There were some definitively gruesome parts, especially in the action sequences and moments when Victor / the Dark Ones were present. For readers who really visualize what they’re reading, this book might be over the top.
There are a few misuses of the Lord’s Name. For those who are sensitive to them, I’ll add that there are a few “swear” words, too.
This is, in my opinion, a fantastic novel. I would recommend reader discretion, on the basis of the content notes (and interpretation of the spiritual content), but this book was so powerful, on top of being a really interesting read. While I had more qualms with book two, I’d have to say that book three really “redeemed” (pun intended) the series for me. The first two books built up to this, and I’ll say it again… wow!