30 April 2012

Review: Spirit Fighter by Jerel Law

Jonah Stone is thirteen when he flunks the school basketball tryouts but notices something strange about the way he can kick a soccer ball. He tells his parents, who not only believe him but tell him a family secret – Jonah’s mother is one of the Nephilim, one of the half-human, half-angel beings referred to in Genesis, and Jonah and his siblings are quarterlings, which gives them special powers and the ability to see angels.

But then his mother goes missing, and it seems that others of the Nephilim have also disappeared. Together with his sister Eliza, Jacob must fight the forces of evil to rescue their mother and the other missing nephilim before the captives can be forced to work for the Destroyer. In their search, they learn to put on the armour of God (from Ephesians 6), to walk by faith and to trust in the name of the Lord.

Spirit Fighter is well written and fast paced. Many of the ideas are reminiscent of Frank Peretti's books, but with a strong youth focus and not so frightening. There are parallels between Spirit Fighter and some of the popular secular fiction available for this age group – the Harry Potter and Percy Jackson books spring to mind.

Jonah can see the fallen angels and feel the despair they exude, similar to Harry Potter and the dementors. Like Percy Jackson, Jacob is part-human and part-superbeing, which gives him extraordinary powers. The difference is that in Spirit Fighter, these elements are given has a sound basis in the Bible. (And, at the end of the day, this is fiction. But it will introduce children to the concept of the spiritual realm and the battle being fought).

An adult might find elements of Spirit Fighter simply too fantastic and criticise it for being too plot driven with insufficient focus on the development of the characters. While this might be true, I don't see that the target audience of middle school boys will be bothered. They just want to see the bad guys get wasted, and should therefore be well satisfied. Despite the presence of Eliza, I imagine Spirit Fighterwill be more appealing to boys than girls, and will be enjoyed by fans of TV shows such as Bibleman and Angel Wars.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. Jerel Law speaks about his inspiration for Spirit Fighter at A Novel Bookshelf.

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