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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 new author's novels or author's who have not had many reviews or exposure and giving them much needed encouragement where appropriate.   
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Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Lazarus by V. K. Dorner

Lazarus by V. K. Dorner


Resigned to an eternity of helping those less fortunate, Lazarus finds himself in modern day New York City. But his simple life is thrown into turmoil when he meets a woman who is a mirror image of his long lost love and learns from a mysterious ally that an ancient enemy is amassing an army of soulless soldiers. With his past and present intermingling, Lazarus struggles to prepare for a battle that will test the limits of his strength and faith.

The Guru's Review:  

 

I picked this up as a free download. I made the mistake of reading the first few pages and I was hooked. Read this over the weekend and I am so glad I did. After the first few chapters, my reaction was WOW! What a plot and what a concept! This novel is constructed well, the author also writes well, the plot flows consistently, no peaks or troughs, keeps you coming back for more and you just cannot put it down. I found my curiosity building with each chapter and each event; Dorner really knows how to reel you in. I found my interest in some of the unique aspects of this novel increasing such as why immortality is granted after being resurrected by Jesus and the bestowing of the gift of ra'oh (no spoiler here, you will have to read it to find out, although the green eyes of Lazarus on the cover might give you a clue! and yes, that Lazarus, the one from the biblie!). You keep reading wondering where the author is going with this and it just adds to the building tension and deepening of the plot and of your reading pleasure. 

This novel is very faithful to the biblical account of the characters and events that it contains. Part of the clever construction is the poetic license that Dorner has employed surrounding the biblical events of these characters that the bible is silent on and this is successful in blending this plot and its intriguing concept seamlessly into each other and makes for one unified and well-rounded experience. I chucked in awe and excitement as I read how the effects of this contributed to this experience and how well this worked.

Dorner is very good at making her characters very relational, especially of the main character and protagonist, Lazarus. You find yourself becoming endeared to him, not because Lazarus is a biblical character and one that you may not know much about (the biblical account does not go into much detail), but from what he experiences in the present and his use of the gift of ra'oh and ministering God's love and mercy to those he comes across. What makes him come alive apart from this, is the flashbacks of his life from the biblical account and the gaps, or poetic license, that Dorner has created that is a joy to read. I usually find flashbacks tedious in novels as they always seem to hold too much information and unintentionally break up the plot and pace making it disjointed. Not so in this novel. Dorner's use of this unifies the novel, tying the past to the present, especially those events of Lazarus, Tali and Mordecai. If only other authors could be this successful in their flashback technique as Dorner! In this novel, these flashbacks add credibility to the characters and the plot, and its spiritual themes.

One of the things I loved while reading Lazarus is the honesty and sincerity that permeates from Dorner in honouring God in all parts of this novel. I have said before in other reviews that you should be able to discern the relationship between the author and God by the way they have treated the subject matter, the spiritual issues/themes, or doctrines of the bible including how they have portrayed God or Jesus and any Christian characters. I can honestly say that I can see that Dorner loves God and is very honouring of Him as this is evident in the flashback scenes, the spiritual warfare scenes being true to the biblical account and doctrine, how Lazarus is obedient and submitted to God since being granted immortality and seeking God many times when he discerned that God's guidance is needed or His involvement is directly requested and He responds, how she has portrayed Jesus, even how she has not sensationalised the demonic as shown through Mordecai. 

Dorner even extends this honesty and sincerity in a very brief but tasteful account of marital relations between Lazarus and Ruth to show the love between these two as husband and wife as God intended. There are two very brief and vague descriptions that are not titillating and do not detract from the plot or taint the flavour of this novel or dishonour God by its inclusion. Another example is the feelings that Lazarus develops for Claire, although she is married, but this shows how human Lazarus is and where these feeling comes from (no spoilers but his reasons are understandable) and true to Lazarus' commitment to God and his submission to same, he acts on his obedience and honours God in his final decision which is used by God to restore Claire's marriage.
 
This novel ticks all the boxes that I like to see in Christian fiction

  • it has entertained me immensely
  • it has encouraged my walk with God, 
  • it has not deviated from known biblical doctrine, and it will not, I believe, lead a non-believer astray or promote false doctrine, 
  • it honours God, 
  • it does not encourage worship of the created (eg angels) instead of the Creator (God). 
This is one very memorable and engaging novel. I am very much looking forward to reading more from this author. 

Highly Recommended

World Building: 5/5

Characterisation: 5/5

Story: 5/5

Spiritual Level (including spiritual warfare): 5/5

Enemy Spiritual Level: 5/5

Average Rating: 5/5

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Award Bestowment:

Spiritually, based on my review and on the following reference booklet,
 
A Spiritual System for Rating Books by David Bergsland, and that Lazarus contains elements of the criteria of what constitutes Christian Spirit-Filled Speculative Fiction outlined in this booklet, I award V. K. Dorner with

The Reality Calling Christian Redemptive Speculative Fiction Award




Congratulations, V. K. Dorner!
 

To read an excerpt or buy Lazarus, click on the icon below:


1 comment:

  1. You did it to me again! I just got this on my kindle and can't wait to start reading it. Thanks Peter.

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