Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Rise of the Fallen, by Chuck Black (Wars of the Realm #2)

Chuck Black's latest book, Rise of the Fallen, offers some fresh and exciting angles on spiritual warfare.

The Book
From Amazon:
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?

My Thoughts 
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.

9 comments:

  1. I enjoyed going through some of the Knights of Arrethrae again. :) I bet his writing is even better in this series. These books sound really fascinating and I REALLY want to know why Drew Carter is so important. :P

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    1. I've enjoyed watching you read the Knights again, especially because I've wanted to--it's a way to read through you. :)

      It's cool.That's all I'll say. :P <3

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  2. This sounds so good. I'd like to read it and Cloak of the Light some day. :D

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    1. I hope you can! I think you'd like them. :D

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  3. I am just about to start this one too!!! I also was SO blessed to read and review the first in this series, and I am re-reading it now before I begin the second one. Sooooo good!!

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    1. Aren't review copies awesome?! I can't wait for book 3! I'd love to see your review when it comes out.

      ~Schuyler

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    2. I aplogize - I didn't see your reply comment till recently!
      Yes, I absolutely love review copies, and I agree - I cannot wait for book 3 too! I just finished the second one, and loved it, and thought very similar to your review. I posted mine here: https://godspeculiartreasurerae.wordpress.com/2015/04/02/blogging-for-books-review-rise-of-the-fallen-by-chuck-black/

      :)

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  4. I am really looking forward to reading Chuck Black's sequel to "Cloak of the Light", as I really enjoyed that one. This one looks very captivating and deep too!

    I have to admit the whole idea of a novel written from an angel's perspective will be interesting. I would be a little upset if Black took too much liberty in his descriptiveness of the choices/feeling of angels in regards to what the Bible does not say about angels - I honestly haven't thought too much on that in his previous works, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out! Did Drew play a big part in the story? I really got invested in his character in "The Cloak of the Light", I think :D.

    Personally I think Chuck Black's description of spiritual-warfare and of the battle waging in the world today is very real and vivid. I am so glad he is writing about this topic, because it can be a thing so many Christians miss in their daily Christian walk - the element that there is a spiritual battle going on. I think we can get glimpses of that in the examples of Job in the Bible, and Daniel as well. . .

    Mm, I never have been very good at getting the different terms for the different theological perspectives on the Second-Coming in my head. Pre-millenial means that there is a literal 1000 years, right? Normally I don't really obsess over this issue, possibly because I just think the issue is less important than the realisation that Christ is coming back and we should set our hearts on preparing for His return! If Pre-millenial is in any way the same perspective as Chuck Black had in "Kingdom's Reign" and "Rowan and the Cameran Conquest" I probably would have to disagree with that perspective, personally - but that's okay! I know this issue is such a debated one among Christians in general, and I haven't studied enough myself to know the answer. I just dislike it when sometimes Christians take for granted that their view on the Second Coming is the absolute truth, and any other interpretation is heresy :P

    And now I am very curious to know why Drew is so important to this battle!
    Lovely review, Schuyler :). God bless!

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  5. I think his perspective on angels is interesting--it takes some fictional liberties, but I always appreciate his perspective in making them warriors, and not etherial beings. I am trying to remember details, but I'm not coming up with specifics. When you read it, you will have to let me know what you think of them. :) I loved the scene of the angels fighting to get the prophecy of Christ to Daniel.

    Drew doesn't have a huge part to play--which was a little disappointing! It recaps book 1 from Validus' perspective, so we (*spoilers* don't really learn anything new about Drew.) I am still on pins and needles for what happens at the end of Book 1.

    Yes, pre-mil is literal 1,000 years, same as Kingdom's Reign. :) That's ok if it's not your cup of tea! I like to leave room for different opinions as well--because in the end, Christ will return how he wants to return, not how we believe it!

    Blessings, dear Joy!
    Love,
    Schuyler

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