Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Book Review: Cloak of the Light (Chuck Black)

In the first book of Chuck Black's "Wars of the Realms" series, Drew Carter is an unbeliever. He sees Christianity as an illusion and anyone who follows it are fools. His life is already really rough, but after an accident that gives him heightened senses and the ability to see a layer of the world no one else can, his life explodes as he tries to find answers for what he witnesses.

Cloak of the Light is a story with lots of action and fast-paced scenes, but it also carries the notes of the gospel. By combining the action of warfare and the peace and promise of God's forgiveness, it weaves Christianity into the real world. It connects our world to that second layer Drew can see, even though he doesn't recognize it as God's angels and Satan's demons. But with all the unfortunate events that happen in Drew's life beforehand, he is set up perfectly for God's work in him and through him.

Drew as a character is fascinating, and can teach a lesson. His overall personality makes him out to be a really nice guy. He's friendly, smart, and deflects any praise he receives back to the other person. He thanks them for their good work. Drew also doesn't try to fit in with the cool crowd. He befriends Ben Berg, a total nerd who is the target of many of the football players. Drew walks a fine line with his friendships, but he is still really nice and polite. And later, Drew becomes a hero to the victims of a local gang. It shows that being nice doesn't make you a Christian. It takes a lot more than just being really nice and sacrificial.

A few chapters of the beginning kind of set up the rest of the story, briefly giving us a look into Drew's childhood and teenage/high school years. It's not a skimmed over summary, but it's also not a detailed event-by-event timeline. It's enough summary and timeline to keep readers interested, yet learn about Drew and his past at the same time.

The idea of the second layer to our world, the one where angels and demons live and fight, is developed nicely. Drew slowly gains knowledge of the dark and light invaders, what they can or can't do, how they operate, and who they target or protect. It's a world no one else can see, but Drew sees these supposed invaders manipulating the real world. It's a fascinating way of looking at the realm where God's angels do battle against the demons. They're depictions make it easier to grasp the idea, that there is a continuous battle, a war, raging all around us. But it happens where we can't see. Seeing it through Drew's eyes can help define the idea in our minds, making the reality of it (in a way) become more clear and real. It was interesting to learn their limitations, strengths, and abilities.

Sydney's character and her relationship with Drew was interesting. Sydney is a strong Christian, and she tries to reach through to Drew in his unbelief. But an interesting twist is that she finds herself attracted to him. She keeps herself pure from him, but she has feelings for him. It was an interesting aspect to her character when one might expect a person like her to have no interest in an unbeliever.

This was also a very clean book, in regards to language, violence, and sexual content. There was no actual appearance of profanity, although some characters were referenced to swear. The sexual content is nil. The Dragons gang come across as crude in a couple places, but there's nothing inappropriate. There is violence and death, but it isn't graphic at all. The majority of the violence comes from the invaders, but any wounds sustained aren't in detail.

Overall, an excellent book. I think especially for bringing the gospel to someone. There's action and mystery and suspense with an almost parallel universe feel, but woven throughout is Christianity as people in Drew's life talk to him about religion. The message the story brings is combined with action and adventure, giving readers a closer connection between our world and the realm of angels and demons but not have the gospel constantly present at every turn. It still has a strong presence, but Chuck Black leaves the rest of the work to God to change hearts.

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