Hunter Brown and the Secret of the Shadow by Christopher and Allan Miller, a review
Book 1 of the Codebearers Series
Published by Warner Press, 2008, 366 pages.
In this middle-grade Christian fantasy novel, Hunter Brown keeps making bad choices. Nevertheless, he finds redemption.
The book starts off with a prank that goes bad. Soon Hunter finds himself visiting a mysterious bookshop with an odd little man as the proprietor. He is given a book. The book soon leads Hunter and his friend Stretch into another world, Solandria.
Solandria is connected to our world, which Solandrians call the Veil. Both worlds are ruled by the Shadow. In our world, the Veil, people aren’t aware that the Shadow rules. They are fooled by appearances.
However, the Book showed the truth about us, our dark and evil eyes, to Hunter and continues to guide him. In Solandria, it’s obvious who the evil folks are. In fact, Hunter seems to have some of their evil characteristics. He certainly makes some choices that reflect that. But friendly folk, the Codebearers, teach Hunter how to use a special force-sword, activated by speaking words from the Book. They send him to look for Aviad, the son of the Author–Author of life and of the Book.
After many trials, Hunter finds Aviad. It turns out that he is the bookseller, the odd-looking bookstore owner–a man with short legs and too many cats. Now Hunter must seek to undo the curse that has fallen on Solandria. Aviad has a role in lifting the curse as well.
This book has good characterization, with consistent, well-drawn characters. It has plenty of action, and keeps you turning the pages, that’s for sure. It does a good job of portraying the Christian walk. Clearly the swords used are the swords of the Spirit, activated by the Word of God. This book is an allegory in many ways, but it is also a page-turner.
Hunter learns to ask Aviad for help, after first going his own way and heading for disaster. When he finally calls for help, he receives it. Through most of the book, Hunter thinks he is OK, when he really is under the curse. In the end, when he submits to the Author, the curse is lifted for him, and he becomes a Codebearer like his friends. And so it does describe the path to Christ pretty well.
I do have a minor reservation about this book. I am uncomfortable with the idea of portraying Jesus as an odd-looking man with short legs, wispy hair, and so on. This is no Aslan. But Isaiah did describe Jesus as unremarkable in appearance, so this Jesus could be more Biblical than Lewis’ Aslan.
In short, this is a great book for your middle-grade boys to read. They will like it, and they’ll learn something about the road to Jesus from it. –Phyllis Wheeler
Tomorrow: an interview with the authors!
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CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Todd Michael Greene
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte