As someone who is not typically a fan of fiction that is in any way outer worldly or supernatural, I cannot get enough of this Wars of the Realm Trilogy by Chuck Black. When the first one, "The Cloak of Light", came out last year, I read it in record speed. When this one came, I read it in ONE DAY. That in itself is a HUGE compliment since I wasn't laying around sick or bored.
Similar to the first book, the first four chapters of this one had me wondering, "Hmm, maybe this isn't the style for me after all." Keep at it. If you make it through chapter 6 (there are 38 short chapters), you will be hooked. The imagination of the author and the detail with which he can describe scenery and battles, human emotions and idiosyncrasies are incredible.
Unlike "The Cloak of Light", however, this book starts off with heavy "religious" terms, mentioning Heaven, Elohim, and specific references to Biblical passages are even put in bold text. I worried that this book would be too heavily Christian or religious for someone who doesn't share my faith to want to read, but the plot is so intense and suspenseful that as long as a reader isn't phobic of Christianity, religion, or the Bible, they should easily be able to look past the Biblical components and inspirations and still admire a fantastic work of fiction.
One thing Chuck Black does well is switching between time frames without causing confusion with the reader. Many times I have given up on books that switch between multiple plot lines or time frames because it was too much work for me to try read the book that was supposed to be for entertainment. I didn't find that to be the case with these books at all. The movement from one aspect of the story to another was always clear (at chapter breaks) and placed strategically to keep things moving and interesting. There is no wasted space, no fluff, in this series. The words and sentences are rich in imagery and rapid in plot development and action.
While the first book details the life of a person, Drew Carter, and eventually reveals the presence of supernatural beings, this book does the inverse, starting with the very same supernatural beings. The main character of this book is Validus, an angel. "Rise of the Fallen" tells his life story up until the point where we see it intersecting with Drew Carter. Since Validus and Drew Carter weren't together since birth, they are two separate life stories, intersecting in Drew's adulthood. Since Validus is an angel, his story is told having spanned literally thousands of years- and it isn't boring. There's no sitting around strumming harps on the clouds- it's about history unfolding, mysterious motives, friendships forming and taking unexpected turns, grappling with questions that should not be asked and will not be answered...
I think it would be possible to read these books out of order, starting with this one and then going back and reading the first one, since their story lines parallel but aren't heavily overlapping. Whichever order you read them in, you will probably end up like me- anxiously awaiting to see when the next book in the series will be published!!
**In the interest of full disclosure, I received a copy of this book courtesy of Blogging for Books for the purpose of reviewing. I was not required to give a positive review; my opinions are authentic.
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I am not much of a blog reader. There's only a couple I check on occasion:
Love this girl's writing... feels like she's a long distance friend. Well, her sister is my long-distance friend, so that probably helps. Either way, what an inspiration and encouragement- you just need to check out some of the places life has taken Leah and be strengthened and inspired by the love that oozes (yes, oooozes) from her heart for Jesus, His people and His creation!
If you like nummy recipes, or have special dietary needs (or both!) check it out. ALL of her recipes are Vegan, and many can be made gluten-free. I stumbled upon it when searching for dairy/egg free treats to make for my kiddo and have gotten hooked on several recipes. Okay, "hooked on" doesn't portray it well enough. How about "addicted to"? That's more fitting. Will definitely be going back for more!