My first book review of 2007 happened to be the first book I’ve completed reading in my “30 Books to Read by the end of 2007”.
The title of the book is This Present Darkness and is written by acclaimed Christian fiction author Frank E. Peretti. As such, this book is a dark, supernatural thriller about the battle for humanity between the angelic forces of Heaven and the demonic forces of Hell set in the small, fictional American town of Ashton.
What’s good about the book:
- Excellent story-telling, builds up tension (the tension is really palpable) and keeps one on the edge of one’s seat.
- Offers a glimpse into the realm of angels and demons like how Christians believe and the power of prayer.
- Characters were well-crafted, even minor characters played a part in the build up to the story.
- The author managed to weave a complex plot with a lot of inter-connecting subplots without causing too much confusion to readers.
- Teaches Christians to be wary always of any strange/false teachings and be alert constantly.
- Brilliant descriptions of the action and warfare between the angels and demons.
What’s bad about the book:
- The editor did not do his/her job very well – a lot of glaring spelling or typo mistakes.
- At times, the book feels like its preaching to the reader, but then again, one of the protagonist is a church pastor whose job was to preach.
- Some parts were a chore to read, especially the descriptions and explanations of New Age philosophy such as the oneness of the mind, the concept of the universe living in humans and humans are the universe, thereby making us divine, universal creatures. See what I mean? It’s enough to give one a migraine…
- Some characters did not really engage or fascinate or interest me, not because characterisation sucks but mostly because I’ve never met any characters like them before so I wouldn’t know really how one should react when faced with a similar situation as decsribed in the book.
As I mentioned, This Present Darkness is not a book for the masses but more specifically targeted at Christian readers. Of course, one who is interested in the Christian perspective of spiritual warfare or just looking for a heart-pounding thriller, This Present Darkness certainly would not disappoint. This novel is most likely the most popular of all of Peretti’s books and proves why he’s regarded as the Stephen King of Christian fiction. His other works are also along the same lines as this book – broken/flawed Christian finds it within himself and in God to overcome a menacing, mostly unseen, great evil that threatens to consume the world in darkness but from different perspective – twice Peretti dealt with the issue of abortion, the issue of false prophets proclaiming to be the next Messiah and the dangers of cloning and the absurd theory of evolution.
It’s the second time I’ve read this book, the first I had skimmed over pretty quick and had not really been interested in it. Now that I’ve read it in more detail, I find myself enjoying the book despite its subject matter. What made it interesting for me were the portrayals and descriptions of the angels and demons, especially the angels – powerful spiritual beings but are weak beings without the power of prayer from the saints of God. They never pick a fight, but rather, they are very intelligent and masterful strategists and are always one step ahead.
It’s not a book that will appeal to everyone but if it does to to you, this book will not disappoint. It delivers the thrills and when reading the parts about demons, don’t be surprised if you suddenly feel a shiver run down your spine and goosebumps popping up on your skin. I guess I do have to say this – this book is a keeper and a must read for every Christian who believes in spiritual wars.
Total page: 508 pages
Price: RM33.90 Availability: I got my copy at Borders Bookstore at Berjaya Times Square KL.
Estimated time it took for me to finish reading the book – About 6 to 7 days (January 1 to January 7).