Tyler and Chris, buddies from childhood, decide to take on the Hive, a group of demon-possessed people. The Hive works to destroy the Oneness warrior group that Tyler belongs to. Tyler’s not afraid to attack the Hive because he is part of the Oneness, though a very new member. But Tyler’s afraid for Chris, a nonmember. Chris, an impetuous fellow, wants to get the Hive because it threatens the woman he loves. But he doesn’t have the spiritual warfare skills. And he doesn’t care.
Soon Tyler and Chris languish in captivity in a strange commune where the words spoken seem right, more or less, but actions are not. Why are they being drugged? What does the commune leader want with them? How can this leader claim to be Oneness? Will they escape with their lives?
Engaging characters and a gripping, unpredictable plot make this a wonderful evening’s reading. I’m enjoying this trilogy, which I think should be accessible to nonChristians as well as Christians. And of course, the plot leads into the third book, which I hope to read soon!
Exile by Rachel Starr Thomson, Book 1 of the Oneness Cycle
Published 2013 by Little Dozen Press, 223 pages
Genre: Christian supernatural fiction, YA flavor
Tyler and Chris are young men who’re making a living fishing. One day they find a live human being in their net.
It’s Reese, a spiritual warrior who’s been cast out from her clan, the Oneness. She’s an exile, and her life has lost all its meaning, so she jumped off a cliff–into the net.
The fact that she’s an exile doesn’t stop the demons from attacking her. Tyler and Chris watch amazed, and they want to help this damsel in distress. But they know nothing about the Oneness.
How will Tyler and Chris respond to Reese’s predicament and the call of the Oneness?
I sped through this short, fast-paced novel, pleased by the well drawn characters and the surprising plot. Thomson has done a great job of portraying difficult emotional journeys. It’s a world that a Christian will recognize, and that a nonChristian might feel comfortable with. Read it!
Worlds Unseen by Rachel Starr Thomson
Published 2007 by Little Dozen Press (self-published), 328 pages.
Worldview: Christian. A moral universe with good and evil elements, and a benevolent deity/king glimpsed afar off.
Rachel Starr Thomson is a homeschool graduate who is becoming a serious writer. Her fantasy trilogy, the Seventh World Trilogy, begins with this book. The second installment, Burning Light, has just been published.
Maggie Sheffield lives in a dark medieval world which is like our world in many ways, but dreadfully twisted. It is dominated by an evil empire which has all but stamped out the memory of better times, which included a benevolent supernatural king who left when people turned their backs on him. A prophecy says he will return one day.
The story opens with teenager Maggie, an orphan, whose foster parents are murdered. She goes to live with another foster parent. All three were members of a Council for Exploration into Worlds Unseen that had dabbled in the occult 40 years before and then split up.
As the story unfolds, Maggie agrees to carry an enemy scroll across Europe to another former Council member. On this journey she meets a large cast of others: a gypsy boy who can talk to animals, a blind seer, a witch, a princess, a man who is tempted to join the dark side, and someone she falls in love with. Maggie learns she is capable of heroic deeds.
The struggle culminates in an enormous battle, when the heavens open and supernatural forces come to fight alongside humans in a revolution in eastern Europe. Maggie’s love interest dies. Many questions are left unresolved for the next book in the series.
Thomson has a great imagination, full of a variety of characters. She is able to tell a rousing good story. This book does have a certain unfinished quality to it, because of the self-publishing and consequent lack of tight editing. For example, Maggie’s falling in love isn’t described in a convincing way. But this is a small drawback. I enjoyed this book as well as its sequel, Burning Light. —Phyllis Wheeler
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