The Shadow And Night by Chris Walley
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Well I've been looking for Christian Science fiction for quite some time; what little I've found seems to center on Christianity being either non-existent or trying to make a comeback. Both worthy topics but slightly tiresome after a time.
The Shadow and the Night takes a view that Christianity is present everywhere and it's been twelve thousand years since sin posed a problem. I loved the premise!
The story starts out extremely slow--extremely. But as the book continued I felt it added to the sense of loss as the innocence of the people was lost.
World building gets a 5/5. I was able to easily under standing the ramifications of a gate loss as well as inter-gate travel.
We have one POV character(the way I like it) and my feelings about Marrel are mixed. I can sympathize as he has to come to grips with things like violence, war, sin, lying. However, and this is somewhat of a personal peeve, I have little use for a main character that cannot hold to a reasonable standard of ethics, especially in matters of his word, loyalty, or women.
Marrel and a woman named Isabelle come to their respective parents and ask that they be "committed". Basically it's pre-engagement. Up until this time they've had a deep friendship and think that moving forward in the relationship is the right move. Long story short, the parents refuse due to Marrels job and his likelihood of moving.
At this point the story continues moving forward, but Isabelle becomes increasingly manipulative of Marrel, even withdrawing an 'unofficial' per-commitment commitment from Marrel; only after she sits close to him and gives him a kiss. This is clearly a move behind their parents back as well as, I say, sin.
This, at about the quarter way through the book, really turned me off to Marrel. I see him clearly trying to do the up and up thing, but he is obviously,repeatedly, and easily in the same manner being manipulated and duped by Isabelle. This is not all her fault, he is equally to blame. There's a huge juxtaposition from his supposed morals and his actions in these situations. He dupes himself and refuses to see the pre-commitment in the proper light(For the entire book until and angel argues it out with him and then only just...) as well as ignoring it.
Also, he is even duped(almost) by his niece! She has a private conversation with him and asks him to get her family off their farm(it's basically out in the sticks). Marrel feebly protests and her attractive presence near him causes him to basically give in--until she strokes his hand and that reminds him of Isabelle and then he vehemently says no.
Again: For someone without a real "sin problem" he's ridiculously weak-spined with women.
And yet again as his feelings for Isabelle become more uncertain and she becomes more manipulative he starts to develop and attraction for the biologist he's working with!! Except this girl is actually upright, decent, straight forward, all those good things. Marrel succeeds into duping himself that his feelings are nothing until at the climax scene in the book she tells him she cares for him; Marrel being the MC we know him to be of course says yes he cares for her too, and when asked says he is not committed to Isabelle(Which Anya circumspectly and properly asked). They kiss, and he moves on to plan the battle.
I really loved some of the content in the book, the prayers were beautiful, as was the culture(to start with); Marrel really irked me though. At the crucial moments in the book of moral quandaries he either seems to fail or get bailed out. He is again duped by a pretty face in the end of the book battle against a demonlike force and continually questions his angelic guide.
The book sounds like a bad romance from how I wrote this review; and for a subplot, I think it was not done well. But that was what it was, a subplot and these moral failures did not dominate the book textually. Even still they managed to dominate my own reading mentality as I was wary of all Marrels dealings for almost the entire book.
We'll see if I read the next book or not; it appears this book was a combination of books #1 and #2.
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