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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, 29 March 2017

Interview with Authors of The Crossover Alliance Anthology 3: Superheroes



To celebrate the release of the 3rd Anthology of The Crossover Alliance: Superheroes, we have conducted an interview of sorts to showcase the contributing authors and to give some background to their stories to see where the edgy and speculative elements originate. There are no questions in this interview, just the authors being in the driver's seat telling of their inspiration that led to their stories.

Before we continue, here is the background to The Crossover Alliance for those visitors who do not know what we are about:

The Crossover Alliance is a unique publishing company specializing in Christian fiction that contains edgy, real-world content. We weren't satisfied with the 'rules' that many Christian publishing companies have tried to pin Christian authors in - however well-intended these rules were - and so we set out to create a publishing company that both breaks many of these rules and also adhere to biblical principles. Our fiction is fearless, sometimes scary, sometimes raw and edgy. But there in the middle of it all, you will find a light to help you find your way through it, you will more than likely find redemption within the darkness, and most importantly you will find fiction that is true to the story, not the rules.

What We Publish

When we say 'real-world content' in Christian fiction, you might be wondering what that covers exactly. Real-world content can mean a great many things - violence, cursing, sexual content, etc. But it can also represent themes that aren't always welcomed or addressed in Christian fiction, such as abortion, slavery, genocide, etc. We want to be a publishing company that specializes in compelling, true-to-the-story, authentic fiction while also keeping with Biblical standards. We don't try to be edgy just to be edgy. We aren't into shock-and-awe, but more into telling a story that entertains, enriches, and even sometimes digs to the deepest part of you and shows you the horrors of the world while also showing you the path through those horror
s.

To investigate more about The Crossover Alliance, go here:


The Crossover Alliance Anthology 3: Superheroes

Some pursue heroism, others are thrust into it. Superheroes. They live among us, some hidden in plain sight, others as well-known celebrities. All carry a burden and a purpose: to destroy the evils of this world and keep the common man safe from harm. But evil is a strong thread that refuses to be cut. How much sacrifice will need to be made to destroy that which seeks to destroy us, and are there enough heroes to do the job?

________________

Ok, sit back and let the authors of The Crossover Alliance tell you about their stories that comprise our 3rd Anthology:


Steve Rzasa


Author of Airfoil: Hotspots

I'm the author of eleven novels of science-fiction and fantasy, with a handful of short stories to my name. My professional career has been split between newspapers and libraries, but both have focused on the written word. It's always been my passion, whether reading or writing. Marcher Lord Press (now Enclave Publishing) printed my first two novels, The Word Reclaimed and The Word Unleashed seven years ago, and ever since I've been expanding my horizons, telling stories that carry messages of hope and redemption. The methods I use to tell those stories, however, have changed, and thus I've become involved with The Crossover Alliance.

Airfoil: Hotspots is an adventure my hero, Brandon Tusk, endures over the span of a week. He's juggling home life as a single father, work as a librarian, and friendships as he tries to stop a maniac arsonist. I wrote Hotspots last summer, when I heard about the proposal anthology, as a follow-up to the yet-unpublished but finished novel Airfoil: Origins. It's a self-contained adventure that takes its cues from the superhero tales I enjoy - DC's Arrow and The Flash, the Marvel properties like The Avengers and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. What always fascinates me is the clashing of the mundane with the extraordinary. How do you stop devastating evil, while making sure you have a job and can bring home a decent salary to support your family?

The Airfoil stories, couple with my latest novel Man Behind the Wheel, are my foray into a new type of fiction, one unconstrained by the rules that hamper traditional Christian story-telling. Taking greater risks makes all of us better writers - and readers.

Twitter: @SteveRzasa
Facebook: Steve Rzasa


Michelle Levigne

Author of  Living Proof

I've been a word addict since the Cat in the Hat and Weekly Reader Book Club. On the road to publication, I fell into fandom and am now a card-carrying recovering Trekker, with 40+ stories in various SF and fantasy universes. My training includes working in quality control in an advertising agency, support staff at a weekly newspaper, the Institute for Children's Literature, a BA in theater/English and MA in film and writing. My writing career became "official" when I won 1st place in the Writers of the Future Contest -- check the winner's anthology volume VII if you don't believe me! Since 2000, I've had 60+ novels and novellas published in SF, fantasy, YA, and sub-genres of romance. I freelance edit for a living, but only enough to give me time to write. I still hope to break into Hollywood, or at least convince SyFy to film one of my series.

How "Living Proof" came to be:

I created a shop full of magic called Divine's Emporium, and its mystical proprietress, Angela, for a short story. The town of Neighborlee, Ohio, grew around it. It's a combination of Roswell, Eureka, and Sunnyvale, but without the vampires or weird science. Lanie Zephyr, our heroine is one of the guardians of Neighborlee's magical weirdness. She is also based on my brother, a wheelchair-bound comedian. With a liberal amount of his totally bizarre sense of humor and doorknob-level view of life. When I figured out how and why Lanie landed in her wheelchair, I "discovered" she used to be a high school teacher and track/basketball coach. I also "discovered" the Neighborlee tradition, of Senior Prank Night -- when high school seniors make a last-ditch effort to avoid walking through graduation. Lanie was just doing her duty, as schoolteacher and guardian. And the rest is Neighborlee history.

Website: www.Mlevigne.com
Facebook: michelle.levigne.7


Kristin L. Norman 

Author of The Last Call.

Kristin was born and raised in the ‘forgotten borough’ of New York City. She has lived on each coast and now resides in the frozen tundra that is Northern Michigan. She is a pastor’s wife, mother of two, teacher, worship leader, and now…an author. The Last Call is her first published work but sees this story as only the beginning.

You can follow her at:

www.facebook.com/KristinLNorman/

Glenn Odell (the main character of my story) came to me as I was driving to work at 7:30 am. I was passing a large farm and in the distance, I could see a couple of cows milling about and the thought came to me…what if someone had a superpower where they could smell everything they could see? At first, it seemed ridiculous and I enjoyed filling the duration of my car ride playing out what that might look like. As the thought developed, I found myself creating an entire character, story, and world. I realised that I needed to tell Glenn’s story. With that, my journey into becoming a writer began. I submitted my short story, The Last Call, but the writing did not stop. Within four months of my short story submission, I began and completed my first novel.  


Timothy G. Huguenin 

Author of The Bald Man

Timothy writes short stories and novels in the speculative fiction genre, generally leaning toward horror. He lives in West Virginia with his wife and dog. You can find his first novel, When the Watcher Shakes, on Amazon in ebook and trade paperback. His second novel, Little One, will be released in July. Visit tghuguenin.com to keep up with his life and writing.

I came up with the idea for The Bald Man when the superhero movies were starting to get big again. My wife sometimes argues about what technically makes a superhero—if a superhero doesn’t have super powers, doesn’t that just make him an ordinary hero? We have all these humans/aliens with strange powers that decide to use their powers for good. Then there’s Batman and Iron Man, whose powers are…being rich and smart, I guess. The super villains are usually the opposite: humans/creatures with extraordinary abilities (or lots of money) who decide to leverage their power for their own gain or amusement, to the direct (and usually intentional) harm of others.

But I wanted to explore a character who finds himself with an unnatural ability but wants zero attention or responsibility. An unwilling superhero—well, he has the super, but with only that, should he be called something else? And, in the end, will he be held accountable for what he does with his power?

Website: tghuguenin.com
twitter: twitter.com/tghuguenin


Rosemary E. Johnson 

Author of Fly Like A Bird

Rosemary lives in the beautiful foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. She’s known to sit in the sun and carry on conversations with her cat, make fairy houses, and run around barefoot. She’s fascinated by the Myers-Briggs personality types and finds them extremely helpful in coming to understand her characters (she’s an INFP). Music is a big part of her life—she plays violin in the Auburn Symphony and enjoys listening to music while she writes.

As a fantasy girl, Rosemary has a thing with dragons and thinks it would be cool to speak Sindarin. One of the reasons she writes speculative fiction is summed up in this quote by Lloyd Alexander: “Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.”
Rosemary has three short stories published in anthologies by Inspire Christian Writers, and she’s excited about her superhero story with The Crossover Alliance.

Fly Like A Bird was written because I was pushed off a cliff. Metaphorically, of course. My friend saw the submission guidelines and said, “You need to do this”. I resisted at first because it was a stretch and I don’t like cliffs, but she’s a pro at pushing me. So I poked around on Pinterest and found some random story prompts and took it from there. I thought it’d be fun to do a story where the protagonist gets a superpower and hates it. I wrote the story, edited it, sent it to my friend for critique, edited it, and finally submitted it. And guess what. I flew.

Website: rosemaryejohnson.com
Facebook: rejdragonwriter
Twitter: twitter.com/rejdragonwriter
Pinterest: rejdragonwriter



Adam Collings

Author of Chronostream's Father

Adam David Collings is an author of speculative fiction. He lives in Tasmania, Australia with his wife Linda and his two children. Adam draws inspiration for his stories from his over-active imagination, his life experiences and his faith.

Adam is a great lover of stories, enjoying them in books, movies, scripted TV and computer games. Adam hosts the monthly youTube show 'Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy Bulletin' sharing the latest news on releases from Christian who produce speculative fiction. He is also involved in mixing the live video stream for his local church.

Reason for this story: 

 I've been a life-long fan of superheroes, so when I heard that the Crossover Alliance were using them as the subject of their next anthology I knew I had to submit something. I started a story, and it was okay, but it didn't really go anywhere. Life moved on. Other projects grabbed my attention. As the deadline neared I knew that I had to get something together or forget about it. Then, in a way that I can only describe as God inspiring me creatively, the story came to me.

The story Chronostream's Father explored some issues I was struggling with. I have a son with special needs. I think all parents feel unqualified for the job sometimes, but this is heightened when your child needs that little something extra. I wondered what it would be like to raise a child with super powers. It seemed a fun twist on the genre to tell the story from the parent's point of view. I created a flawed protagonist. A Christian who doesn't quite have it all together. I'm sure we can all relate. Ultimately, the story reminds me that God's grace is sufficient for me.

I had to decide what type of powers my character would have. Time travel is another love of mine. I realised that the ability to pause and rewind time would be cool, but what really got my blood pumping was the idea that due to the wibbly-wobbly nature of temporal mechanics, this hero's origin story would not be at the beginning, but at some indeterminate time in the future.

As a bit of extra fun, I set my story in the same universe as an unfinished superhero story I had sitting on my hard drive. Good inspiration to get back and finish it. Finally, I set the story in my home state of Tasmania. Why? Because it's one of the most awesome places on earth. Trust me.


http://www.adamdavidcollings.com/
https://www.youtube.com/user/collingsshow
http://twitter.com/#!/adamcollings


Jen Finelli

Author of Hierro 

God killed his son, but let Jen Finelli live. Since then, Jen has ridden a motorcycle in a monsoon, hunted down two secret societies, swum with sharks, betrayed an organization trying to control the news, discovered murals in underground urban city tunnels, and etc ad infinitum. She's going to be a superhero one day if God lets her, but for now, she's a multi-published sci-fi author four months away from her MD. You can read more about Carl from Hierro, and his teammates, at http://igg.me/at/BecomingHero, where a comic book character kills his author. Or you can follow Jen's upcoming movie, a pro-marriage comedy ala Pina Colada Song, at mysweetaffair.com. Or you can read some of her crazier works and meet the woman herself at byjenfinelli.com!

Why I wrote the story:

Hierro is about a Puerto Rican engineering student struggling with Multiple Sclerosis. As a medical student, I've not only helped treat patients with MS but also found deep inspiration in the lives of activists like the late Chris Klicka who made a difference despite their debilitating disease. Because I live in Puerto Rico, and I've worked in construction and studied engineering, in some ways Carl's experiences also reflect mine. If you enjoy the story, you can also read about the other heroes of the team Carl starts in "Origins: A Guardian Anthology" which you can get as an add-on if you order my book about the comic book character who shoots his author.




Clayton Webb

Author of The Trojan Initiative

My name is Clayton Webb. I grew up on a farm in Alberta Canada fighting whatever evil creatures were lurking nearby. Now I fight the evil creatures lurking in the imaginations of my 4-year-old son and my wife Trisha. I work as a communication technologist and spend the day dreaming of anything that isn't work.

You can find me on twitter at c2webb@87 and I hope to have my blog up and running in the next couple of months and it is www.c2wtales.com

I wrote this story because I love superheroes and I loving trying to encourage the readers of my stories to dig a little deeper into what being human is all about.


Free Audio Drama:

Enjoy a free audio drama of The Trojan Initiative by Clayton Webb, courtesy of our friends at the Untold Podcast! Click on the link below:






Nathan James Norman 

Author of Without Blemish: A Philosophy of Preaching.

I am a Husband. Father. Pastor. Storyteller. Reader. Comic Fan. Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. 


Without Blemish: A Philosophy of Preaching is directly connected to my professional life as a pastor. I dedicated it to J. Kent Edwards, my ongoing preaching mentor because I wanted to give readers a grotesque image of what the state of preaching often looks like in the Western Church.

Several years ago, one of the main scenes came to me while I listened to a sermon that mangled the biblical text to suit the speaker's agenda (rather than God's). It was a great scene, but I couldn't figure out how to wrap a believable story around it. When the topic for this anthology was announced I realized the superhero genre was the type of universe this story belonged in. 

I also have an ongoing fascination with local folklore. Whenever I visit a new place I enjoy getting my hands on locally written ghost stories and legends. I've lived in Northern Michigan for five years now, and the legend of the Dogmen has fascinated me. They worked perfectly for a superhero story.

So, my love for good biblical preaching, and enjoyment of local legends resulted in "Without Blemish: A Philosophy of Preaching".

Nathan James Norman blogs at nathanjamesnorman.com

He hosts a speculative fiction podcast on untoldpodcast.com,

He preaches at the Orchard Church in Traverse City, Michigan— orchardchurch.net.

He can found on Facebook: www.facebook.com/untoldpodcast

Twitter: @nathanjnorm and @untoldpodcast


JD Cowan 

Author of Someone Is Aiming For You.

I started writing when I realized the stories I wanted to read were not being written. Not being a fan of modern fiction, I decided to try my hand at it. My blog, Wasteland and Sky, is mainly about entertainment and storytelling and musing on both.

Someone is Aiming For You started as a desire to tell a superhero story from a vigilante perspective. Old noir and detective pulps had always interested me, and this gave me the tone I needed.

I'm a fan of old heroes like The Shadow and The Question who add a bit of a thoughtful approach to heroes. What exactly is The Shadow? Is he a man? A demon? An angel? Justice incarnate? That mystery behind his origin always fascinated me into questioning just what he was. On the other side of the coin is The Question. The Question is a hero searching for Truth while evil crashes in on him from every angle. His struggle for Truth is just as engaging as his fight for justice. These two heroes inspired me greatly. The Seeker came from them.

Oh, and there was also Daredevil, specifically based on the TV version. His battle between God and Satan fascinated me. As a Christian, I wondered just how a hero who knew there was evil out there just outside his door would react to constantly being faced with it. Matt Murdock can go about his day as a lawyer; the Seeker doesn't have that luxury.

Those who want to find me can see me can do so at wastelandandsky.blogspot.ca, twitter @lonewolfandjd, and my e-mail at lonewolfandjd@gmail.com.



D. A. Williams 


Author of sinEater

D.A. Williams is a farmer’s wife and mother by day and a dark Christian fiction writer by night. She finds time to write between cups of coffee and is prone to bouts of procrastination and dreams of grandeur.

I wrote sinEater as an exploration of the lines of villainy and heroism. I wanted to blur the lines between the two and juxtapose true morality with that notoriously slippery sin, Pride. I hope that readers will find sinEater to be a different sort of superhero story that makes them question the roles we are assigned in life, and to seek discernment and wisdom, both.

I wrote sinEater as an exploration of the lines of villainy and heroism. I wanted to blur the lines between the two and juxtapose true morality with that notoriously slippery sin, Pride. I hope that readers will find sinEater to be a different sort of superhero story that makes them question the roles we are assigned in life, and to seek discernment and wisdom, both.

Pinterest.com/writerwilliams

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To purchase DRM-Free Digital Editions of this anthology, click on the links below:

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Also Available at the links below:



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Thank you, authors, of edgy, speculative fiction for giving us a glimpse of the creative talent that God has gifted you! Readers always appreciate where a story comes from and it is even more real and special when you tell us of your inspiration! This only encourages us to read more of your work, and develop a greater love for this emerging genre.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

The Christian and the Vampire by Vikki Kestell


I have read this short story (34 pages, I think) three times now. The second time was because I did not write a review from the first reading. This third time is because I felt it needed to be honoured for the faith and redemptive fiction that it contains and how Kestell has applied the Word of God in the most appropriate way that is more than effective in witnessing and leading to a relationship with God to what some might say is a fictional being. But she also shows how this same Word of God can be applied to any human being who feels they are unredeemable. No wonder the Bible states that it is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16) and that the power of God is sharper than a two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12).

Based on the above, I have awarded Vikki Kestell with a Redemptive Fiction Award as this novel now meets The Reality Calling Christian Fiction Awards criteria. Please see the end of this review. 


What happens one sultry summer night when a Christian and a vampire meet on a fire escape and agree to engage in a cordial conversation? A touch of hilarity, plus eye-popping—and Undead heart-starting—revelation, as vampire myth and legend give way to greater Truth!

The Guru's Review:

This is the second time I have read The Christian and the Vampire and I did this for 2 reasons. One, I did not write a review of this when I read it in December 2014, and two, it is worth reading again purely for the way the story is structured to allow the many bible references and their explanation to move the story along and show the power of the Word and how it defeats all claims that being a follower of Satan (in this case, as a vampire) is more attractive and beneficial than being a follower of Christ. 

This is the third Christian story involving the question, "Can a vampire be saved/redeemed?" The first one I read was Blood for Blood by Ben Wolfe and the second was Devil's Pathway (DAWN: Warriors of Valor Book 1) by Vicki V Lucas. I do have another waiting to be read. All these three authors share the same premise that indeed they can be redeemed, and I would also say the same for werewolves. The latter has been dealt with in this same vein by William Woodall, in his The Last Werewolf Hunter: The Complete Series

Kestell has constructed this short very well with the placement of the bible verses that portray what the bible says about redemption, salvation, Christ's victory over sin and death, Satan's judgement, the penalty of sin, consequences of refusing Christ's gift of salvation in relation to Lambros being a vampire. Very cleverly done structuring the plot around the verses or is it that she constructed the verses around the plot? Hard to tell when it is done this well. It struck me that this short could be used to minister to a satanist or someone who is so very bound in their sin/sinful lifestyle and feels there is no hope for them including anything that God has to offer.

I guess another reason I wanted to read this again is that it reinforces where all Christians have come from, including myself; a past of sin, rebellion against God, and this short story shows what the bible says about our past and our future. It is always good to return to one's roots to appreciate where one has come from and where one is now. I have a greater appreciation of the Word, what Christ achieved for me on the Cross and everything relating to all the doctrines outlined in the previous paragraph.

Kestell uses humour to add spice to this short. It also adds to both the character building of Taz and Lambros. Kestell has also portrayed Taz as the discerning, well versed in Scripture, spiritual warrior that Christians all need to be as the whole essence of becoming a Christian means that we have taken one side against the other in this spiritual warfare that we are involved in.

Apart from the bible references that make this short rich in spiritual warfare, I loved how Taz was so in tune with the Spirit when ministering to Lambros. Again, this is another part of our spiritual armour. The final spiritual warfare scene at the end of the short involving a warrior angel and demon is very dramatic and I loved the way Taz states that he was not afraid of this tangible evil presence that descended on both Lambros and himself as he knew who he is in Christ and the protection that is his as a consequence of this, 
I felt no fear for myself - I am, after all, one of the redeemed of The Lord. Satan has no legal footing in my life.
I applaud Kestell for this short. I feel it is quite a masterpiece of construction, however simple. This story would be very effective for small group bible study on spiritual warfare and witnessing to those who are heavily involved in satanism or other satanic groups or as I mentioned previously, those who are so caught up in their sin and feel there is not hope for them or a way out. I would love to see a discussion guide added to a future edition of this short. 

One highlight that I found very useful is in the kindle version where each reference to a bible verse or piece of conversation that was based on a bible verse or doctrine, had a link to it that you could press and the verse would appear in a separate, mini window on the screen. This would benefit bible study groups or the individual that are seeking God. All the individual would have to do is put themselves in the position of Lambros, not as a vampire, but as one who is enslaved to sin and Satan as Lambros was.

This is one very entertaining, edifying but sobering read of spiritual warfare, who Christians are in Christ, what Christ has achieved for everyone on the Cross and the hope that exists in Him that is rife in His Word. 

Highly Recommended. 5/5 Stars


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Spiritually, based on my review and on the following reference booklet,

A Spiritual System for Rating Books by David Bergsland, and that The Christian and the Vampire contains elements of the criteria of what constitutes Christian Redemptive Fiction outlined in this booklet, (click on the title below to see what this is based on), I award Vikki Kestell with 


Christian Redemptive Fiction Award by Reality Calling






Congratulations, Vikki!



To read a preview or buy this novel, click on the BUY or PREVIEW icons below.


Friday, 24 March 2017

Armor of the Fallen: Wielder of the Gauntlets, Book 1 by Jason A. Dimmick



Armor of the Fallen: Wielder of the Gauntlets Book 1

Answer the call. Wield the Gauntlets. Fight the Fallen. Protect all mankind.

The life Tim is living is not the life God has intended for him. Now he is faced with a choice that will determine the fate of all mankind. After spending the last twelve years of his life in an orphanage, Tim must now move away from everything and everyone he knows to live with an uncle he never knew he had. What happens while with his uncle will not only drastically change Tims’ life forever, but will place the fate of mankind in his hands and answer all the questions Tim has about his past. The Gauntlets have chosen their Wielder. Will Tim answer the call and fight against the Fallen?

The Guru's Review: 


I am so glad the author found my blog and requested a review of his debut novel. I was captivated by the synopsis and readily agreed to review. I am also glad to have offered him a guest post on my blog to help promote this novel. 

I thoroughly loved this story. I was engaged from the start and could not put it down. Dimmick has constructed this novel as one fast paced, action packed adventure full of mystery and intrigue. It would definitely make a good movie! 

All the characters endear themselves to you, especially Tim. But then again, he is the main character. There is enough characterisation to achieve this despite this novel being more plot than character driven. I can see that this novel will become popular with young adults as it written and constructed to do so. Yet, some young adult novels do not lend themselves to the older age groups but this one does. Dimmick should take this as a compliment and a strength as a writer especially this being his debut. 

I have stated in previous reviews where the plot involves fight scenes that authors will either develop these well or they will not. Dimmick has achieved the former. If this comes naturally, then he has an asset in this aspect of his writing talent. If he has achieved this through practice and mentoring then he shows excellent application. Seeing that a large part of the plot involved fight scenes and other action sequences, having this developed well has only added to the overall enjoyment of the novel and its plot structure. One other aspect of achieving this level of competency is that it adds to the charactersation, especially of Tim, seeing that being a Wielder means he has to embrace fighting and using the Gauntlets to do so. In one sense, he and these Gauntlets become one when he is fighting, all part of being a Wielder. 

Overall, Dimmick has a good command of the English language, however, there were a few lapses. Minor, but it did stick out to me. Maybe I am too picky seeing I like grammar to be used correctly. An example is, 
.........the main hall of the Bradley Home for Youths. 
Grammarist.com implies that this should read, Bradley Home for Youth. (italics mine)

Another is, 
Ju-Long gives Gwan a nod as Gwan goes and takes a seat on the raised platform.
Should it not be, 
Ju-Long gives Gwan a nod as Gwan takes a seat on the raised platform?
What follows next is not a criticism but just a subjective observation. This novel is written in the present tense. I have not read in this tense for many a decade. I found it a bit hard to adjust but once you are immersed in the action and fast pace of the story, it is no longer noticeable. I am not sure why Dimmick chose this style; maybe this is what he is comfortable with. Does not really matter, it was effective in delivering a very memorable and enjoyable story. 

Dimmick has Tim stating that fallen angels are demons. Not sure if this author has used poetic licence in describing them as such or if there is another reason. In "Devils and Demons and the Return of the Nephilim" by Klein and Spears, fallen angels are defined as devils and demons as the disembodied souls of dead nephilim [nephilim being the offspring from the mating of fallen angels and human women, see Genesis 6: 4. (The above authors state that these fallen angels who committed this sin are the teraphim, the lowest form of the three types of angels-cherubim and seraphim-being a higher rank above them, where 200 of the teraphim made a pact to take on human form, seduce human women and produce their nephilim offspring)]. 

It is this fallen angel background, the supernaturally empowered gauntlets to fight these "demons" and those God has appointed as Wielders of these weapons that creates a solid backbone to this story and the rest of the trilogy. There are many elements here that make this story one very enthralling and captivating read. Dimmick has plenty to play around with in the next two novels from what he has established in this novel. That is wise groundwork as with some first novels, there is not much established and the rest of the trilogy has to support and build on this deficit. Again, this shows more of this new author's talent. 

I do like the spiritual aspects of this novel. Dimmick has portrayed the Archangel Michael as a Messenger and Warrior which is the Biblical description. The biblical message/theme of redemption and forgiveness expressed by Kau adds valuable biblical truth and adds much credibility and depth to the plot. Even the enemy Rhi-Nu has his spiritual "eyes" opened and realises the honour that he sought was through deceptive demonic means. He realises that this is no what he wanted. Without these biblical message/themes, mentioned above, a novel like this remains as one of the bad guys versus the good guys. There are plenty of non-Christian novels like this. Christian fiction needs to ascend past this basic plot line especially when the Bible contains so much hope for the reader. Christian fiction is a great medium for this. 

Any Christian novel that has a plot involving fallen angels, and/or demons versus the angelic host, and Christians caught either innocently in the middle or part of this warfare needs to have the biblical reason for this conflict spelt out as the basis for this plot line.

I am hoping that Dimmick expands more of this biblical background in the remaining instalments of this series. He is off to a good start in this regard with this debut. 

I was a little concerned at Dimmick having Tim "share" Ju-Long's body in order to learn how to use the Gauntlets to their full potential and how to fight. It has strong parallels to how demon possession works but there is a difference. In demon possession, the demon spirit takes total control of the human body and gives it all the spiritual attributes of the demon entity. The human spirit is suppressed and dominated by this demon until cast out. This is not the case with Tim and Ju-Long. It is a mutual and symbiotic relationship where one does not have control over the other. I am not sure if the use of this method is misplaced. Has Dimmick used a demonic practice in a Christian novel? Not sure, but I don't feel it would have been intentional. It serves his aim to show Tim how to use the Gauntlets. 

I loved this section where Tim is training under the tutelage of Ju-Long. There is an obvious back history between Ju-Long, Kau and Gwan as brothers, that suggests this needs to be told. I listened to the author's podcast recently and he confirmed that this will be the next instalment, albeit a novella. If this is so, I do hope he also includes in this, some of the loose ends that left me hanging at the end of this novel. 

I look forward to this series. I also want to see how Dimmick develops the plot and the spiritual issues in the remaining volumes. This is an author with talent and one to follow. 

Strongly Recommended. 4/5 

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