I closed it this morning, having read tons of pages over the last couple of days. Being sick gives me more time, but it was such a relief to even want to read a book. And the best thing about Light of the Last? As soon as I closed it, I wanted to jump up and write something awesome with all the inspiration this had given.
Light of the Last is the final installment in the Wars of the Realm series, by Chuck Black. Previous installments are Cloak of the Light and Rise of the Fallen, which I've reviewed. Click on the titles for review links. This last book is everything I hoped it would be--with less angst and more awesome, which I loved.
I'll share more about that below: but first, the book synopsis.
To Fight What Others Can’t You Must See What Others Don’t
After an accident left him temporarily blind, Drew Carter didn’t just regain his sight. He now sees what others can’t imagine–an entire spiritual realm of mighty beings at war.
Forget the gift, Drew just wants his life back. Part of that involves Sydney Carlyle, a woman he is inexplicably drawn to. When he’s offered the chance to become a CIA agent, it seems the way to redeem his past. The only problem–his visions of the supernatural realm are increasing in frequency.
It’s up to the warrior angel Validus and his hand-picked team of heavenly agents to protect the unbelieving Drew. Validus now knows that the young man is at the epicenter of a global spiritual war, and the angels must use a millennia of battle experience keep Drew alive, for the Fallen want him dead.
Surrounded by spiritual warriors and targeted by demons, Drew’s faced with an impossible decision that will forever alter the destiny of America...and his own soul.
The technology in this book is really, really cool. I can't imagine how fun it was as an author to create Ben and Drew and the NexTech team. The jacket Witness, with its 360 camera and the earpiece with "Alice"--a technology voice able to fulfill any request--was tons of fun. Couple that with Drew's penchant for constantly getting himself in life-threatening situations, and you'll have one crazy ride. I really wished Witness and Alice were real gadgets, because I would have loved to use them and go on adventures.
I loved the theology. It brought twists and surprises to the book that I never saw coming. Several guesses I had were turned upside down. To be honest, I was surprised that this book was written so frankly--it's politically forthright and far from politically correct. I'm really, really glad Multnomah put it out, because I think it contains a good wake-up call about America, Muslims, and Israel in its pages. Chuck Black does a good job creating drama using fictional spin-offs of real-life events.
I'm really impressed with the picture Chuck Black gave us of the main character, Drew. "Agent Carter" is cool. We see him struggling, working, years passing as he builds up his skill sets. He's not a believer, and he's grown up with a regular American lifestyle. While he doesn't do anything hugely immoral, he's realistic--and so is the culture in which he lives. A lot of homeschool dads might not write this way, but I think Chuck's willingness to explore different lifestyles in his fiction will enable him to reach a much wider audience of young people with the Gospel.
The sidekicks were well fleshed-out: Ben, Reed, Sydney, Ethan, Ross, and Jake. Drew's relationship with his step-dad, Jake, and friend, Ben, I especially loved. Also, the angel plots with Validus and his pals carried on much better than book two, partnering with Drew's perspective to move the story forward. Originally I thought book two was an unnecessary installment. Now I think it laid some really important groundwork, but I still think it's a danger spot for giving up the series. You can't quite read books one and three and get a complete picture, so I still suggest reading book two in order, but one and three are still my favorite.
There were a couple of sections where I got freaked out by the intensity--a couple of places where my belief was suspended, specifically the nanobots. But they were so small, really, it doesn't diminish five stars. Most times the intensity was pleasantly high, without being disturbing.
This book gave me giant amounts of fun, adventure, and inspiration. It's the story of a hero, and I love modern-day stories of heroes. It's a geeky story of twenty-somethings trying to save America, and since I'm a twenty-something and I love America, that resonated with me too. It's a story of people who value Israel, and I very much value Israel. It has commitment, jokes, sacrifice, and God's hand of providence all wrapped into one tight package. I'm going to read it again. It was awesome, guys. If you want a great book dramatizing spiritual warfare, check out the Wars of the Realm series. It's one I definitely want to read again.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.