Here’s another mainline Christian fantasy. Carr’s writing makes it enjoyable. But, as Christian fiction there’s not a lot here. However, it is entertaining. Patrick creates characters who are compelling and complex. Plus, the relationships are intense and convoluted. Carr gives us several surprises as he weaves a dark, nasty tale.
Like with many second books, I found I felt oppressed by the constant tension and the sheer nastiness. You know how it is. We know the second book must be where the heroes and heroines are put in an impossible situation. In fact, as is common, several of them die, or tortured mentally. In other words, second books are a pain. And, this one is no exception.
As is common, we have no solution for this tension and darkness because book three is not written yet. If I weren’t reviewing (and if I could afford these expensive books), I’d wait for the entire series. In this way the extremely negative second book would find resolution in the overall read of the series.
Mainline Christian fantasy is often disturbing
Don’t get me wrong, the Darkwater series is a clean read—pretty much. It fits the pablum requirements of the modern Christian bookstore. Carr is a master of entertaining fantasy. I just wish there were some spiritual Truth.
The author ticks all the boxes: maligned, untrusted main character; a glorious girl friend; immensely talented cohorts; barely revealed, horrible nasty enemies; and a threat to the whole world. He gives us a second book where the situation just gets worse, more dire, more anxious, and… You know the drill.
Spiritually, it’s not even Christian
The characters move through a lot of church activity, and religious thought. We see a well constructed world, deeply compelling. But, Carr hid spiritual Truth so well that it doesn’t really exist. Patrick came up with analogs for Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. However, I found no indication of a savior, and the Holy Spirit has no part in this story.
This characters show gifts under their personal control in this world. These gifts present exciting tales of magic and personal power. But, there is almost no concept of a God who is involved with His people, a Savior who gave His life in redemption, or an internal spiritual presence to help and guide the believer.
In reality, the individual does not control any spiritual gifts. The Lord gives us gifts as He determines the need. Yet, the Lord is very active in our lives with daily testimonies of His workings in our lives. He walks with us, talks with us, and responds to our prayers. And, this series gives us none of this.
The book seemingly offers mainline Christian fantasy, or three star spirituality. However, a Savior and Holy Spirit do not take part in the book, at all. In addition, I do not remember any scriptures two days after finishing the book because the religious life buries them so well. I only saw scraps of poetic nonsense of a religious nature. As a result, the book never reaches even 2-star. Carr gives us 1-star clean read.
The evil is not spiritual
I found plenty of horrid nastiness, but no spiritual component to this evil. In reality, mainline Christian fantasy contains worldly, almost cartoonish, spirituality. As a result, the characters find this evil scary and horrifying, because they are on their own with no spiritual help. But, I mostly felt a deep sadness for the good guys—many times throughout this book.
Do I recommend this book?
Yes, even though I find it disturbingly bland in the midst of horrid evil. As a result, parents may want to discuss these things with their children before or after they read the book. You can tell them that they might find it disturbing. But, parents need to be prepared to tell them why it is scary and let them know that in the real world we truly do have help and protection from evils like this.
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The publisher gave me a copy to review, and I’m grateful for the opportunity.