I generally avoid Christian fiction like the plague. It tends to be sappy, too good to be true, bad writing with worse editing. There are exceptions, to be sure. Frank Peretti and Tampa area writer Angela Hunt come to mind. Recently I have added another Tampa writer to the Christian fiction ‘A’-list. Her name is Lisa Grace and what caught my attention is her recently released, Angel in the Storm, book two of a three part series.
In Angel in the Storm, as with her first book, Angel in the Shadows, Grace sets out to apply her craft to the daunting task of writing a Christian Young Adult (Y/A) series that would give the Y/A audience an alternative to the popular vampire craze. “The difference between Vampires and Angels,” according to Grace, “is that Angels are real.”
Angel in the Storm is not like anything I have come to expect from Christian fiction. Well written and well edited, Grace picks up where Shadows left off and delivers the second punch of a one-two-three rapid fire sequence that is as spellbinding and captivating as it is fast paced and moving.
We are reintroduced to Megan, a high school teen who can see angels, and, because they are also angels, demons as well. Because of her gift, Megan is targeted by the evil fallen angel/demon, Judas. Yeah, it’s an obvious allusion to Judas Iscariot, but it can be forgiven.
In Storm, Judas has caused Megan’s little brother Max to be kidnapped and sold to a pedophile ring that transports the boy out of state to New Orleans during a fast approaching hurricane. The storm which while very real, serves as a metaphor for the physical and spiritual turmoil in Megan’s life, and the very real battle for Max’s soul taking place in the spiritual world.
Megan and a few of her friends are suspects in the kidnapping and presumed murder of young Max, but with the help of good angel Johnny and several other good angels, Megan and her friends set out on a frantic race from Clearwater, Florida to New Orleans, Louisiana to face the perilous, danger filled challenge of rescuing her brother from the pedophile ring, and ultimately rescue his soul from the evil Judas.
Good fiction regardless of genre is always a good story, well told, and Angel in the Storm like its predecessor Angel in the Shadows, meets both criteria.
I give the book 3 ½ stars, but only because I find the multiple first person present tense running narrative the writer employs as her vehicle distracting. But, that’s a matter of preference. I’m not her target audience, and other Y/A novels I’ve reviewed employed the same vehicle to tell their stories, so it must work for the target audience.
Both books in the Angel series would make excellent read and discuss material for any church youth group, or parents interacting with their teenage kids. Less a theological treatise than Billy Graham’s Angels, Angels, Angels, and more personal than Frank Peretti’s landmark ‘Darkness’ angel stories because Megan can not only see both the good and the evil angels, she can interact with them as well. There is a sense of realness to Megan’s angst that other Christian books don’t have without getting sappy.
A well written alternative to the mountains of paranormal fiction aimed at the Y/A audience, with a good, solid, moral Biblical perspective.
Book three, Angel in the Ice is scheduled for release November 1st, 2011.