This reviews the first three books in the Gifts series by Jen. It’s a surprising bit of writing, and I really enjoyed it. It’s certainly Redemptive: The Gifts brings new fun to Christian Urban Fantasy.
The stories follow the life of Emily Bell and her Aunt Gemma. They are remarkable characters. Gemma is a deaf and dumb orphan. Emily is her niece. The tale begins just after Emily’s father dies and she’s left in the care of her aunt. Through the grief and strangeness to the 13-year-old, we see something unusual.
We are given a view of the angels assigned to be guardians to these two. As the story develops we discover that Gemma has open direct, visual and auditory contact with her guardian, Staniel. As the stories proceed, the spiritual warfare is openly shown. It’s great fun. Here’s the beginning of the blurb for The Gift of Light:
Emily and her Aunt Gemma are two very special women. They see into the spiritual realm and commune with angels. With this exciting tale, reminiscent of the great Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness, debut author Gentry portrays in realistic terms the angelic and demonic creatures who inhabit our world, and why.
A centuries-old battle, waged in the heavenly realm between the forces of good and evil, is fast reaching a flashpoint in Hook Pond. Demon Prince Azelius has a centuries-old stronghold over the family of Senator Brad Steel, whose goal is to become President of the United States, a goal Azelius wants him to achieve. Azelius wants the senator’s son as well, but someone is praying and interfering with his plans. That someone must be silenced, permanently…
So, it’s urban fantasy, action-adventure, political thriller, suspense, romance, and a wonderfully unique set of stories. These three books entertain with a solid foundation of Truth. But they were a bit of a puzzlement.
However, the books really feel like spirit-filled fiction. I could not understand the dichotomy experienced as I read the books. The believing characters have strong faith tested realistically, but they didn’t ring quite True because of the open actions and interventions of the angels and demons.
Now, I am not faulting Jen’s depiction of the angelic realm. It is fun and seems relatively accurate—for what we know. However, in reality, we really don’t know all that much.
As far the gifts are concerned: light, knowledge, and empathy are certainly extra-Biblical, but not anti-Biblical. In other words, they aren’t in any of the lists of the gifts in the New Testament, but they still have the ring of Truth in how they work. Of course, the almost Hollywood comic book feel to the spiritual warfare steps outside the realms of reality for us in our daily life.
Plus, the spiritual gifts listed in I Corinthians 12: 4-11 are not really present in the Pentecostal sense. But this is powerful redemptive fiction—hence the award.
This series is highly recommended
It is safe for your children—though parents will want to more involved with the reading if your children are mid-school. For teenagers and adults, it is great fun. You should read it!