Monday, April 30, 2018

Books With Bean ~ The Cloak of the Light

Books With Bean,book reviews by teens, Chuck Black

Title: The Cloak of the Light 

Author: Chuck Black 

Published: March 2014

Genre: Fiction, Adventure fiction, Christian Fiction

Summary: After Drew’s dad dies when he is a kid, nothing seems to go right for a long time. His grandma dies from cancer, and just when he finds a love of playing football and starts to do really well his mom looses her job, and when she gets a new one it is in Kansas which means Drew has to start over at a new school half way across the country. Something that is not easy when you are young and is even harder for Drew since he is in High school. Life doesn't seem fair to Drew but even in the new setting he finds both friends and enemies. He starts to play for the school football team and does really well and makes friends with Ben a strange kid who is as smart as he is weird and Sydney who is as nice as she is mysterious. Life seems to be going up again finally when Drew is driving some friends home from a party after a late football game and one of his friends distracts him causing Drew to crash and killing one of the other boys who was the star of the school football team. After that Drew feels like he can't even go to school as the small town mourns the loss of the star even thought Drew wasn't found at fault for the accident. His grades drop and he is ready to quit school when Ben, who left high school early for collage, comes back for a weekend visit and convinces Drew to work to get better so he can join him at collage so he won't just become closed off and resentful at the world. Drew’s grades rise and when he leaves for collage he feels like he can finally leave the weight of his friend's death behind him. He does well at collage and life finally seems to be going up again when Ben’s research professor disappears. The boys meet to discuss what might have happened and look over a picture that was taken with the professor's new experimental machine. In the picture is a ghostly figure that Ben is sure in an alien. Wanting to make sure however the boys go test the machine, looking through the lens Drew sees the strange figure from the picture but just as he fully comes into view the device explodes leaving the room all but gone, Ben badly injured and Drew blind. As a result of the accident Ben is expelled from the school, and Drew drops out due to lack of mobility. Ben soon visits Drew at his house in secret and tells him he thinks someone is after him for what he knows and he has to disappear. After Ben leaves Drew keeps to himself until one day he goes out with his mom and his dad’s best friend Jake and has a brief moment when he can partly see agin. The doctors say it is nothing to get their hopes up about but these moments come more and more often and then one day Drew has his sight fully restored if not better then it was before. However he soon realizes that he can now see the strange figures that before he could only see through the machines lens. They seem sister and threatening and Drew begins to wonder if these invisible invaders are aliens like ben thought they were after all. However when he begins to tell his family about it they have a Psychologist come and look at him thinking he might be going mad. Realizing no one will believe him, Drew decides to go and look for the long time missing Ben the only person he knows that will believe him and help him prove that what he is seeing is real and he isn't crazy.

What I liked about it: The series is really good, it deals with spiritual warfare in a way that both seems real and isn’t too complicated for the target audience age. Drew and his friends are interesting characters and the story keeps you guessing until the end of the book and wanting to read the next one as soon as you can. Drew is not a Christian and neither is Ben but Sydney is and it is really interesting to have a non-Christian dealing with the supernatural and not knowing exactly what he is seeing or what to do about it. I feel sometimes as Christians we take for granted that non-believers will just automatically know what to do in times of spiritual trouble like we do who have the faith and the knowledge of Christ. 

Language: There are a few instances of bad characters using a occasional slightly bad word but there is never any hard or long swearing.

Romance: Drew likes Sydney but it doesn't go anywhere in the first book as she makes it clear that as a Christain she cannot date an unbeliever. 

Violence: Sword fights, and gun fights in the spiritual realm, and the car accident in our world as well as some other violence as in his search for Ben Drew finds himself in the less affluent districts of Chicago. There is a lot of fighting especially between the Angels and Demons but it is rarely graphic.

Other Notes: I wasn't exactly sure where to put this in the above sections so I added this here as a side note. When Drew goes to his friend's house for the party after the game before the car wreck that kills his other friend it is clear that the boy's parents aren't home, there is a bit of underage drinking by others but when offered some, Drew takes a few sips out of pressure and finds it too gross to drink any more.  

Magic: There is no magic, the book deals with the world of Angels and Demons but in a realistic way drawing from Scripture as its source as much as it possibly can, and while it does add things from the author's imagination, he never makes Drew have any powers that would really border on magic like casting curses or flying or anything like that.

Recommended Age: While many homeschoolers know Chuck Black as the author of the popular Kingdom series (which I also really like) these books are not meant for as young of an audience. They aren't just adventure allegories they are much more serious books about the power of God and His Angels, the Devil and his followers. As such while the Kingdom series is good for younger kinds I wouldn't recommend The Wars of the Realm for anyone younger then 14, even if the kid is at a more advanced reading level, as the content of the books is for the more mature audience. However I would not give these books an upper age at all, as I find them good for all ages even adults. (My Mom likes them too!)

book reviews by teens, Chuck Black, Cloak of the Light

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