Thursday, January 26, 2012

Book Review: The Influence

This is also published at "Stormbringer's Thunder".




The front door sticks a bit. When opened, a sort of crackling or ripping noise happens suddenly, and is gone in less than a second. I am sitting in the living room chair, reading. Rrrippp! I was so absorbed by the book that I felt like I could have jumped over the chair...


Buon giorno. I am not exactly comfortable with doing book reviews, since I have done so few of them. Especially fiction. That may be to my advantage, however. I'll just be myself instead of using some kind of formula and say what I think, but not ruin the story for anyone, capice?


This is the first ebook that I purchased. I was so certain that I was going to get the Kindle that I bought the e-book before I even owned the Kindle. Are you flattered, Mr. Slick?


Yes, that's right, Rev. Matt Slick. The same guy that I talk about, link to and give you audio excerpts from is also an author. And yes, it's his real name (he learned that his ancestors had a longer version of the name, though).


Bottom line first: I was entertained by The Influence. In fact, I gave more time to reading than to do my writing and research. It had been quite a while since I read a book just for the pleasure of it, and it delivered.


This book is about angels and demons, and warfare in unseen places. It also has discussions in theology, because Mark, the main character, is granted the rare privilege of seeing and speaking with an angel. (On a side note, I have seen it before where characters have discussions so the author can present a viewpoint. Fortunately, The Influence is not like Genesis, the flying saucer conspiracy book by W. A. Harbinson — that fat baby seemed to spend two thirds of the time in tedious, unbelievable dialogue and low on the promised "searing terror and explosive excitement"). Mr. Slick makes the demons genuinely evil, and not just troubled, misunderstood or misguided with hidden goodness deep inside. Evil is not sugar-coated here. Matt took some literary license in his descriptions of the demons and of the action because the Bible does not give us those details, and he wanted to be as Biblically accurate as possible.


The theological discussions are informative, of course, since Rev. Slick is a theologian and an apologist. I am pleased to say that the theology does not get mind-numbingly deep or go into specialized denominational interpretations. Also, the discussions are broken up with page turning (well, on Kindle, screen tapping) excitement. Things that I thought I could predict ("Oh, she's gonna die here!") that happen in lesser stories did not happen here, fortunately.


I'm going to give one thing away that is important to the story, and the story making. One thing that startled me was when reference was made to the death of an infant, his name was Jacob. Matt and his wife Annick lost Jacob shortly after his birth. He brought his own pain into the story through the character of Mark. Don't get me wrong, it's now a "downer". There is humor in the story as well, and the characters were far removed from the cardboard cut-out Pollyanna-style of other Christian fiction that I have read. (Good characters are important to me; I have watched movies or television shows and actually missed the plot because I was so taken with well-written, acted and directed characters.) So, if you want people that can make you feel something, Mr. Slick wrote them for you.


Speaking of feeling something, there is a vision that someone has at the end of the book. I will only tell you that it got to me, and I left the living room for a while because I did not want to bother She Who Must Be Obeyed with my sniveling.


I recommend The Influence. You will be entertained, and you will probably learn something. If you want it, the link on the left is to the paperback, the one on the right is to the Kindle version.

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