This dramatic Christian fantasy novel, set after the rapture, alternates between heaven and Earth to tell a story of the battle for the souls of humanity.
The well-known prophecy of the second coming of Jesus Christ gets a completely new twist in this text, which follows multiple groups of characters. First, the author pulls back the curtain on Harem, the realm of angels who plan to rescue “the righteous” in an invasion of Earth that humans will perceive as a mass alien abduction. Later, brilliant but nonbelieving medical researchers Yvette Milagro and Wen “Winnie” Chow Lee, along with Yvette’s 10-year-old daughter, Mia, wake up and find the injured Hoshea (aka Jesus) when the rapture occurs. The story bounces between Harem and Earth with additional subplots that follow 13-year-old Artemis and her family, who are raptured in North Carolina and begin the process of becoming full-fledged angels, as well as the first rumbles of the Antichrist coming to power. Meanwhile, a New York City police detective named Reynolds and National Security Agency operative Akachi Ihejika pursue the researchers and Hoshea in the post-rapture world. Readers of high fantasy will recognize the in-depth worldbuilding in debut author Perez’s descriptions of the technology and mystical powers of Harem, which include time- and space-traveling devices and celestial weaponry for fighting the Helem, or demons. The journey of the humans in Harem is particularly compelling, drawing out deep philosophical insights. The dialogue-driven story focuses on how demonstrations of love are capable of changing hearts, but at its core, it aims to offer nothing less than a tale of an epic struggle between good and evil. This Christian novel showcases human emotions and sacrifice without preaching or out-of-place spirituality; even divine beings are portrayed as experiencing something new during this era of history. The novel is also action-packed, offering harrowing helicopter travel, devilish enemies, and gut-wrenching losses of innocence. The author helpfully outlines the dizzying array of characters in a “Character Key” at the end, and the story clearly hints at a sequel.
A complex tale of the end times with skillful worldbuilding.