The second entry in a Christian fantasy series scores high on action and adventure but strikes out when presenting the quieter aspects of religious experience.
Jonah Stone and his siblings are still grappling with the discovery that their mother is one of the nephilim, offspring of fallen angels and humans. With their angelic gifts as “quarterlings,” they had rescued their mother and the other nephilim from the Fallen last year. Now all 13 known quarterlings are in hiding, receiving training in angelic combat and spiritual disciplines. But even the formidable power of prayer can’t shield them from the servants of Abbadon. When Jonah has visions of a modern-day prophet in peril, he has to risk everything to follow the will of Elohim. There’s plenty to enjoy here: genuinely likable young characters who can also be authentically silly, frightened and cranky; a praiseworthy effort at gender and ethnic diversity; and a snappy narrative pace that delivers thrilling suspense without ever becoming too scary or graphically violent. Unfortunately, this presentation of Christianity also gives short shrift to humble service or inner spirituality. When prayers become formulaic magic spells to summon superpowers and Elohim is explicitly deemed more worthy of allegiance than Abbadon because of superior firepower, there is a risk of turning faith into just another fantasy video game.
Diverting enough as clean escapist fare, but it could have been so much more. (Fantasy. 10-14)