Sunday, November 7, 2010

BROKEN ANGEL by Sigmund Brouwer

Broken Angel is an imaginative tale that twists tyranny on its head. What would happen if a group of Christians separated themselves from the world and created a culture that combines advanced technology with Old Testament law?

With echoes of George Orwell's 1984 and M. Night Shyamalan's The Village, author Sigmund Brouwer weaves a frightening story that establishes a society where Christian beliefs are imposed through earthly power. Instead of purging sin, a new kind of evil is unleashed and freedom is stripped away.

At the heart of the story is Caitlyn, a woman trying to escape the nation of Appalachia and reach the Outside. But she's being hunted by a demonic bounty hunter named Mason, a killer who knows a dark secret about Caitlyn's past.

This is the first book in a series of stories by Brouwer. The action is fast-paced with lots of secrets and no unrealistic surprises. The faint of heart should be warned that there are a few scenes of torture. I look forward to the second installment of this series, Flight of Shadows.

4 out of 5

Saturday, November 6, 2010

ALMOST HEAVEN by Chris Fabry

Chris Fabry writes sweet, character-driven stories. In Almost Heaven, Fabry tells the fictional story of Billy Allman, a West Virginia backwoods native and master mandolin player. It's Billy's dream to run his own radio station, and he pours his heart and soul into making that longing come true. But things always seem to go wrong. Billy's life is fraught with tragedy, from a devastating flood to the tragic loss of his parents to the evil behavior of a father figure. Behind the scenes, the reader catches glimpses of an angel named Malachi who is active in Billy's life, watching over him and protecting him.

Over the past few years, Fabry has been through his own tragedies, and this book captures a message that comes straight from his heart and personal experiences. We don't always know why things happen, but we can always trust in the One who creates beauty from ashes.

I found it interesting that the idea for the character Billy Allman and his radio station is based off the life of a real man. A reader wrote Fabry a letter, telling him about a man who poured his life into serving God and had recently died. I just would like to say, a lot of people didn't know Billy... [But] I know when he walked into heaven yesterday, heaven knew Billy. He was an important person to them.

Chris Fabry's book Dogwood had one of the best twists I've every read. His book June Bug captured my heart and is one of my all-time favorite books. Almost Heaven, although good, didn't capture my heart like his other books. I didn't connect with the characters this time and the plot felt slow. But Fabry is still one of my favorite authors and he writes great stories, and I look forward to his next endeavor.

3 out of 5

I received this book free from Tyndale Publishing as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."