Tag Archives: Chuck Black

Book Review: Light of the Last by Chuck Black

9781601425065Title: Light of the Last
Author: Chuck Black
Publisher: Multnomah
Published: February 2016
Series: Wars of the Realm, Book 3
Genre: Christian Speculative Fiction, YA

About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)

To Fight What Others Can’t You Must See What Others Don’t

After an accident left him temporarily blind, Drew Carter didn’t just regain his sight. He now sees what others can’t imagine–an entire spiritual realm of mighty beings at war.

Forget the gift, Drew just wants his life back. Part of that involves Sydney Carlyle, a woman he is inexplicably drawn to. When he’s offered the chance to become a CIA agent, it seems the way to redeem his past. The only problem–his visions of the supernatural realm are increasing in frequency.

It’s up to the warrior angel Validus and his hand-picked team of heavenly agents to protect the unbelieving Drew. Validus now knows that the young man is at the epicenter of a global spiritual war, and the angels must use a millennia of battle experience to keep Drew alive, for the Fallen want him dead.

Surrounded by spiritual warriors and targeted by demons, Drew’s faced with an impossible decision that will forever alter the destiny of America…and his own soul.

My Thoughts:

Light of the Last is another action-packed read from author Chuck Black. It follows Cloak of the Light and Rise of the Fallen, as third in the Wars of the Realm series. For those unfamiliar with the series, I’d describe this novel as part political thriller, part super-hero story, and part speculative fiction exploring spiritual warfare. Incidentally, if you haven’t already, you’ll want to start this series with its first installment, so consider checking out the links above to my reviews of the earlier books.

The key viewpoint characters in this novel are Drew Carter who was featured in Cloak of the Light, and Validus the warrior angel featured in Rise of the Fallen who is tasked with protecting Drew. Both characters feel larger than life with their superhuman abilities and unwavering dedication to the goals for which they’re fighting. Supporting characters like Ben, Sydney, Reed, Ross, Jake, Validus’s angelic team, and Ben’s team of tech geeks fill their roles well and keep the plot moving ever forward.

Speaking of the plot, it’s full of twists and turns. From spy training to missions, to reconnecting with significant characters out of earlier books, to questioning reality, to facing down an utterly terrifying threat on a national scale, Drew and Validus, and their human and angelic teams are constantly on the move. The pace follows a quick clip, and while description is very precisely detailed in some parts (particularly fight scenes) there are other parts of the plot that get summarily told to fast-track the reader to the next exciting part. Not necessarily a bad thing, but also not the style I’m accustomed to reading, so it kind of jumped out at me.

There was one unexpected plot twist in Chapter 24 that made me consider not finishing the book. I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone, so let’s just say that I’m unusually squeamish when it comes to plotlines involving biological threats, and I tend to avoid them whenever possible. But I didn’t see this one coming until I was already so deeply committed to finding out how the story ends that I couldn’t bring myself to give up on it. Thankfully, despite a few pretty intense scenes, I managed not to freak out…too badly.

One of my favorite parts of this story was the technology Ben develops at NexTech. So, so, so cool. Especially the glasses, and the tech-lined jacket, and the AI, and – okay – pretty much all of it. It’s probably a good thing that this stuff doesn’t really exist yet, because I’m already a little too immersed in my smart phone…. 😉

This story emphasizes the power of prayer and looks at what it means to trust and to follow God. It also explores one fascinating view of what could be going on in the spiritual realm. I appreciate the effort the author put into creating a reader’s guide to delineate which elements of his take on spiritual warfare are drawn from the Bible and which are guesswork and/or invention, much as an author of historical fiction might point out where historical liberties were taken for the sake of the story.

Anyway… if you enjoy books full of action, intrigue, and super-human fight scenes, this may very well be one you’ll love. Just be sure to start with Book 1, Cloak of the Light. I’ll be curious to see if there are any more titles in this series or perhaps a spin-off series yet to come. The ending seems to leave an opening for that possibility.

Thank you to WaterBrook Multnomah for providing a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes via the Blogging for Books program.

Quick Links: About the Book | About the Series | Author’s Site

Book Review: Rise of the Fallen by Chuck Black

Title: Rise of the Fallen
Author: Chuck Black
Publisher: WaterBrook Multnomah
Release Date: February 2015
Genre: Young Adult Speculative Fiction
Series: Wars of the Realm, Book 2

For months now, I’ve been eagerly anticipating this, the second book in Chuck Black’s Wars of the Realm series. I assumed it would continue Drew Carter’s story from where the first book, Cloak of the Light, left off. (You can find my review of that book on the Edgy Inspirational Romance blog, if you’re interested.) I was already thoroughly invested in those characters – Drew, Sydney, and Ben in particular – and in their plight, and wanted to know what came next.

And I still want to know. Because Book 2 doesn’t really address that. [Feel free to imagine Karen pulling her hair out right about now, in anticipation of a lengthy wait before Book 3. Just kidding…mostly.]

Honestly, this book was not what I was expecting. Let me hasten to clarify, I don’t mean that in a negative way, because I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story too, and I think that what comes next in the series will have even more impact, for having had the extra groundwork laid in this book. I just had to wrap my mind around the shift in perspective and scope of this book before really digging in to enjoy it. But enjoy it, I did.

This book interweaves two main storylines, both told from the perspective of Validus, an angel we first met in Book 1 through his interactions with Drew Carter. Throughout this book, there’s a “Present Day” storyline in which we see the same timeframe of Book 1 retold from Validus’s perspective, first as he serves as Primus Commander for the angelic forces in North America and later as he fights to protect Drew. Interwoven with this retelling are a series of chapters exploring spiritual warfare throughout Biblical history as experienced by Validus and his fellow angels.

I enjoyed getting to know Validus better and getting a “behind the scenes” glimpse into what might have been going on in the spiritual realm during important moments in Biblical history like Noah’s flood, the Tower of Babel, and Jesus’ birth and crucifixion. The Reader’s Guide in the back was great for delineating which aspects of the story were drawn from Biblical accounts and which were more speculative.

With its emphasis on action, adventure, and heroics, this is a story I would expect to have great appeal for teen boys in particular, as well as anyone enjoying a fast-paced and exciting story. Battle scenes were described blow by blow to the point I could almost have been watching the story play out on the big screen (and yes, I would love to see this series made into a movie). There were quite a few scenes in this book that got my adrenaline going and gave me no choice but to keep turning pages!

Thank you to WaterBrook Multnomah and the Blogging for Books program for providing a copy of this book for review purposes.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Web Site | Video Clip About the Series
Find This Book: Goodreads | Amazon