A six thousand year war rages and now the demonic Fallen are coming for him—the one man shrouded in mystery. Only Validus stands in their way.
Validus is the last and least of God’s angels, but he’s seen much across the millennia since his creation. Empires have risen and fallen as angelic and demonic forces battle in a raging war that will determine humanity's fate – and the fate of his defeated brothers.
Eventually called to be an earth-bound warrior, Validus rises to a position of power and respect, commanding legions of angels through impossible battles and overwhelming odds. But when orders arrive from the Creator's most elite Messenger, he finds himself suddenly demoted to a task of apparent insignificance considering the fierce war they are waging against the demonic Fallen – the covert protection of one unbelieving man.
Validus soon finds himself on a mission that will push him beyond his abilities as he battles to protect Drew Carter, for the Fallen are coming for him. Legions of them.
As Validus races against time to discover why Drew is so important to humanity's survival, can he stand between Drew and all who would destroy him?
Rise of the Fallen is the sequel to Chuck Black's Cloak of the Light. Book 1 starts off from the perspective of unsaved human, Drew Carter. Book 2 backtracks to tell the same story from the perspective of last-created angel, Validus. At first I was wary--backtracking is not my favorite idea of a sequel. Nor is a parallel plot that re-tells the Bible from an angel's perspective. But the premise was so cool and different that I found myself enjoying it immensely. I love thinking about angels and what the story of the world might be from their perspective. This was a gutsy second book that managed to pull off a good amount of tension and purpose.
Not to be divisive right off the bat, but I do enjoy Chuck Black's pre-millenial focus. I respect friends with different viewpoints, and enjoy many books with different eschatological leanings--but here I was on my own turf, and I felt at home. I appreciated the value the angels placed on the children of Israel as God's chosen people, even after the early church was established. It's interesting how a person's eschatology can influence the whole plot and scope of a book--the difference between whether Christians bring the Kingdom of God to earth, or whether they are faithful until the Kingdom of God comes to earth.
Validus was a pretty fun angel. I mean, I never thought about it, but one of the angels would have to be the last-created angel, and why not write a book about it? I loved the grand One Hundred angels, and the friendships between Validus and Persimus and Cadriel and Ral. I thought it was realistic how even angels struggled with trusting God's plan, though some decisions on Validus's part seemed border-line questionable. "This is not a protocol situation so I'm going to make a non-protocol judgement" doesn't seem very--angelic. Towards the end of the book Black makes it clear that one of Validus's decisions is unwise, and that's part of the plot--but there were a couple of others that made me wonder.
The one thing about Rise of the Fallen which caused me to wrestle with it extensively was the intensity of angel/demon warfare portrayed throughout the plot. The narrative flips back and forth between present day and various spiritual battles throughout biblical history. Battles are brutal, frightening, and massively destructive. There were no breathing spaces--no emotional grounds for pause so the reader could get a breath and process. I had to stop reading it before bed so I wouldn't freak out every time the lights turned off. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. For one thing, it demonstrates the fact that spiritual warfare is going on around us non-stop, even when we cannot see it. It also shows how brutal and serious this conflict is. There is no room for complacency or being off our guard in God's kingdom, and angels too experience loss and sadness from our sin. Rise of the Fallen shows that even angels suffer deeply while guarding believers.
To be honest, the extent and brutality of spiritual warfare portrayed in this book was almost more than my mind or emotions could handle. It was scary--demon possessed people have always been scary to me. But the book caused me to think and wrestle, and that's what a good book should do. I'm glad I read it.
While this is a work of fiction, and included speculation as such, phrases and facts pulled from the Bible were put in bold print. The back contains a short study guide for each chapter explaining the author's thinking process behind certain additions. I appreciated the bold text, and appreciated his willingness to imagine where the Bible does not give us specific details.
As for why Drew Carter was so important: I guessed it. And I was right. And Chuck Black is awesome for thinking of it and turning it into a book.
Check it out, folks. His writing gets better with each book, and this new series is definitely worth reading.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.