Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Book Review: Light of the Last (Chuck Black)

Note: May contain spoilers for the first two books.

Drew has been taken into FBI custody after the events of Cloak of the Light, charged with a shooting on a college campus and assaulting two FBI agents. His explanation seems too ludicrous for anyone to believe him if he includes his seeing the light and dark invaders that no one else can see, but even telling the truth short of mentioning the invisible invaders leaves the FI skeptical. When a stranger offers Drew an alternative to prison, Drew latches on to it, despite the dangers that come with it. As Drew works in this new role and as Validus and his new team of angels work to protect him, they realize that Drew’s role in the growing plot is bigger than either Drew or Validus first expected.

Light of the Last moves along at a steady pace, and the suspense and tension get higher and tighter. I liked how the plot took a turn from what I had originally expected. It becomes filled with a kind of “end of the world” kind of scenario, with political dealings that are likely less than legal. While it hadn’t been what I expected, I still really liked seeing the strategy and plot development behind what did occur.

Drew’s development was well done. He doesn’t become a Christian right away, and it takes a lot of time and effort on the angels’ part to finally bring about the right circumstances to bring this young man to God. It takes time for him to finally come around, and become humble enough to turn to God. I like too how all of the skills he has accumulated throughout the books are pushed to the limits at times. He handles himself well when it came to terrorist threats, and takes charge where he knows he can, and becomes a strong leader (with a ton of cash). I found it amusing when Drew begins his training for the CIA and the teacher lists all of the skills the people there will learn, I felt completely confident that Drew had this training mastered already.

I liked how Validus, while he has had thousands of years to accept it, still struggles at times with not feeling inferior as the last angel created. While he probably doesn’t experience as much growth and change as Drew does, Validus still has moments where he learns from his mistakes, and sometimes struggles to not wallow in self-pity. He remains strong and firm for his team, to keep them encouraged in their mission, even when it feels confusing or hopeless. There hadn’t been as many scenes in Validus’ POV, but I saw enough of him through Drew’s eyes, and it was interesting to see that contrast of how Drew perceived him and how I perceived him.

One aspect of Drew’s development was, I think, very well done. Validus and his team were making little progress with getting Drew to turn to God, so they came up with a plan to essentially strip him of his pride, allowing him to reach rock bottom before Drew let God raise him up. It shows how God can bring His children to Himself. For Drew, pride was getting in the way of believing, and when Drew had his pride destroyed, and he questioned his own sanity, it put him in the position to be more open to believing. God can do that with anyone. When His children stray, He can take away what keeps them from coming to Him, or returning to Him. When we have nothing, when we’re at our most vulnerable, that’s when the Word of God can do its best work, and lift us up. Validus and Drew demonstrated this well, and while at first I didn’t understand what was going on, it was interesting to finally realize the purpose of what Validus and his team had done, and see how it changed Drew for the better.

Violence/Gore: A lot of fighting, both with sword and firearms, and hand to hand. Some characters are shot and killed, and angels and demons, if killed, are usually slain by sword. There are also suicide bomb terrorists. At one point a suicide bomb goes off, and the description of the aftermath might make some people uneasy.

Profanity: Only referenced, if any.

Sexual content: None.

Other: Political plots and scandal. Drew deals with drug rings and firearms smuggling.

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