Title: Light of the Last
Author: Chuck Black
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.
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.