Love fantasy? Check! Love Christian Literature? Check!
So what did I find in Karen Hancock‘s novel? Hope that this genre will one day grow in the Christian market and a great adventure. In case you have never heard of this title or maybe it has been a while since your eyes have graced this work here is the synopsis from Karen’s website:
“Abramm Kalladorne has dedicated the last eight years of his life to becoming worthy to touch and tend the Sacred Flames of Eidon, and he expects to be blessed for his devotion and sacrifice. But on the eve of taking the vows that will irrevocably separate him from the life he was born to—as fifth son of the king of Kiriath—he is betrayed by his spiritual mentor and sold into slavery by his brothers Swept along by the winds of a new destiny, Abramm is forced to compete in the gladiatorial games of his new masters. When the oppressed masses rally around his successes, he discovers his suffering has molded him into something greater than he ever thought possible—to serve a purpose he never imagined.
Set in a world of swords and cloaks, of glittering palaces and mystical temples, of galley ships and ancient mist-bound cities, The Light of Eidon is the first volume of the new epic series, LEGENDS OF THE GUARDIAN-KING.”
I remember I was fourteen when I first saw this book but at the time I hadn’t gotten around to reading it and honestly I’m glad I waited.
The beginning of the novel had me confused. I was confused for the first four chapters. I knew what was going on but could make no sense of it all. The terms and religious sects were difficult to comprehend without an explanation of who were the good guys and who were the bad guys. Truth was hard to separate from the lies and I felt extremely lost. In many ways I felt more confused than Abramm as he struggled to understand what was happening around him I felt like I was working overtime to catch up with what he knew. Thankfully after the fourth chapter the narrative fog began to lift and I was beginning to understand the story world.
With that said, I loved how Mrs. Hancock drew us into the Order of the Holy Flames (the Mataio) and how it seemed in almost every way to be holy until Abramm discovers the truth. This reminded me of how things of darkness can be masqueraded as light and if we are not careful then we too can be deceived. This revelation about the Order of the Flames served as a great battle for Abramm throughout the novel. In his heart Abramm’s only desire was to truly know the Lord and to know His truth, but when Abramm discovered the truth about the Mataio it threw everything that he thought he knew into question – he even doubted if God was real. But through it all – even though Abramm was deceived and fell into sin the Lord’s grace was constant with him. This was realistic journey of faith for me because of the fact that Abramm didn’t just say, Okay I believe but there was a real struggle because he didn’t know what truth was anymore and it took him a while to trust again – while dealing with other issues in his flesh. His struggle felt very real.
Another thing that made me love this story was the fact that the writer showed us Abramm as a scrawny eighteen year old kid and how much he changed after being sold into slavery. The change in his character felt very real and authentic.
Even though this story was very good I still have some other issues with the plotting and character development which I won’t go all into. But on a side note I do understand that the story was packed with a lot of story information but I still felt that certain characters were cheated with their own developement – especially Trap’s character. He was very bitter at being sold into slavery and in the end of the story his anger seems to have been unimportant and almost a ghost emotion (as if it wasn’t really there). I felt cheated of his journey no matter how small.
I also had a hard time trying to piece together the faiths within Abramm’s kingdom. In the latter half of the story I think that the author did an excellent job of answering most of the questions about Eidon (God) and his true followers but there are still some gray areas that I am hoping are answered in the next book, like way most people think that the Terstans are evil and that they serve the Satan when that is not true.
Also this story did contain a bit of sexual innuendo. Abramm was put into some sexual situations that were very slightly surprising to find in a Christian novel but not so surprising looking at the type of situation he was in after becoming a gladiator as a slave. He did sleep with one of his master’s slave girls in this story as well and though Mrs. Hancock did not describe the scene the act in detail but merely glossed over the emotions, it still felt very awkward to read. I wasn’t terribly upset at this scene because I do realize that people sin – thus is why Jesus died. I also understand that they writer sought to show her character as a real person who went through trails and ran away from the Lord and she did that very well but this was a daring write for the Christian publishing industry.
Overall I will say that this story is not for younger readers. But I also think that people shouldn’t misunderstand this great piece of fiction. Abramm, like anyone of us messed up and ran from the Lord but yet God still had mercy on him. This is this story’s message and its a wonderful one at that.
Well that’s all – I hope you give this story a chance and let it minister to you about the power of grace.
May He guide your steps and mine,
Kindle owners can download a free copy of this story from Amazon !