Somewhere in 1992 or early 1993 she gave me the book. “Read it,” she said. I feel like Ridgecrest is Ashton–the town in this book. Reading it changed how I see spiritual warfare.” As if that wasn’t enough to convince someone who never needed convincing to read anything, she repeated herself. “Read it.”
I did. This Present Darkness. The next morning, I called her, asking for the sequel. While it wasn’t as good, I still did what I always did when confronted with a story that made me think about spiritual issues.
I went to the Word. Studied it in conjunction with what the fictional words had said.
While I can’t say I would have come to the same conclusions, it did do one crucial thing for me. It made me aware of spiritual warfare in a way I’d never seen it before. Until I read that book, I saw the “sword of the Spirit” as something used in an intellectual battle–truth versus lies rather than God’s people versus Satan’s minions.
A while back, I had the opportunity to read and review a new YA book dealing with spiritual warfare. I don’t read many of these, but it had been quite a long time since I’d read one I liked so I thought I’d give The Seer a read. Maybe it would be better than recent offerings.
And it was. Still… As much as I wanted to just love this book, I don’t. On the other hand, I don’t hate it, either. Instead, I have things I liked and some that left me in a weird state of… “Hmmm…”
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3 Powerful Reasons I Can’t Love or Hate This Book
As much as I wanted to, I never connected with Thea as a character. For example, I just finished reading the book and had to go look up her name. I could name every other character, but not the protagonist who happens to have a name I love. That feels… significant, somehow. I can’t say what is wrong with her (for me, anyway), but she feels… meh. There. What I did like is that she wasn’t automatically amazing at what she needed to do or totally incapable, either. She did just take off with an angel and a demon after a terrible experience awfully easily. That didn’t ring true.
But while the other characters all drew me in, what bothered me most (and is possibly the most brilliant thing the author did) is that I liked the character of the demon, Viktor, most. I liked both of his pasts warring within himself. That, like the apostle Paul, he had trouble with the part of himself that wanted to do what he knew he must fought against the part of him that just wanted to do what he wanted. This is a serious issue, though. And I’ll get to that in a minute.
While the author is a good writer, this book needed a good editing. I’m not talking about typos (there were a few but nothing horrific. “Too” instead of “to” once–piddly stuff. No, I’m talking about her tendency to use repetitive words and phrases. It got old reading, “We’re going to head down the hall” and the next sentence informing us, “They headed down the hall.” Um… okay. No variance. And if it was just now and then, I might not have noticed, but it felt like it was on every page.
Add to that and the “explaining” style of “telling” instead of showing us, and it got draggy. We’d be told of some thought or emotion, have it shown to us, and then be told again as if an introductory community college class where essays tell you what they’re going to tell you, then tell you, then tell you what they told you. That happened… a LOT. I found myself having to work not to skip stuff. I can’t always say I succeeded.
Because this is speculative fiction, I’m uncomfortable addressing the theological issues I see in the book. However, when spec fic includes things happening in our world, I have trouble ignoring where the world of the book clashes with the world of the Bible. In The Seer, the demon, Viktor, wants a new chance in a “sanctuary city” where apparently demons can be rescued from their deserved fate. I don’t claim to be a Bible scholar, but I’ve never found anything in Scripture that hints that demons can be redeemed or saved from their eternal punishment.
And yet, on the allegorical side, I can see that demon being the part of ourselves who needs the sanctuary of Jesus to free us from our rebellion. I can even see the angel Matthias being a picture of Christ, helping the castaway to the city…
But then it breaks down, because the demon strikes a deal with the angel. They have to work together to save the girl, and only by working to his own end is this demon able to be rescued himself. And… well… that is the opposite of what Scripture teaches.
Add to that, the “neutral” grounds and societies that are brought into the mix and…
The result is a book that waters down the pure truth of the Gospel.
Still, this is book one of three (or more?). And it’s well enough done that I want to read the next book. I’m not sorry I requested the review copy of The Seer (and thanks to the publisher for sending it), but I can’t say I loved it… can’t say I hated it. I… don’t know. What I do know is that I will be buying the next in the series, hoping it’ll settle some things for me. If I change my mind about this one as a result, I’ll amend my review.
The Seer is on tour with Celebrate Lit
Book: The Seer
Author: Erin R Howard
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: February 27, 2018
Viktor has one order to follow:
Kill the girl before her eyes are opened.
For thousands of years, his job has been to torment and kill seers: humans that have the gift of seeing the spiritual realm. So it was no surprise when his brother Matthias was once again sent to stop him and protect the girl.
Now the last of the seers’ bloodline hangs in the balance, as the estranged demon and angel brothers are forced to work together to save a girl’s life and escape to the sanctuary city of Bethesda.
About the Author
Erin R. Howard is a Developmental Editor, YA Urban Fantasy Author of The Kalila Chronicles, and has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing/English from Southern New Hampshire University. When she’s not writing, Erin enjoys spending time with her family, fueling her craft addictions, and teaching writing workshops. Erin is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the KenTen Writers Group. She resides in Western Kentucky with her husband and three children.
More from Erin
If I’ve learned anything these past few months, it’s that I’m still not a fan of change. It’s always been hard for me to transition from what I know, to the unknown, and then find a new normal. Let’s be honest. Stepping out of our comfort zone isn’t supposed to be easy. It’s supposed to challenge and stretch our faith. And as a result of stepping out, we hope that we will learn and grow.
I love messy characters, because life is messy, and it doesn’t always work out the way we expect. It’s full of changes and situations. The characters in my series, The Kalila Chronicles, are no different. Each character has unique challenges. For some, they didn’t ask for change, and for others, they are stepping out on their own.
Here’s a little bit more about The Seer. The first book in The Kalila Chronicles:
For thousands of years, Viktor has carried out his orders from Lucifer faithfully. But after a recent demotion in rank, he has grown weary of the bloodshed. His latest order is to kill Thea, a seventeen-year-old Seer before her gift manifests, and she can see into the spiritual realm. However, his estranged angel brother, Matthias, intervenes on his plans.
Seeing this as his way out, Viktor proposes that in exchange for leaving Thea alive, Matthias must escort him to the sanctuary city of Bethesda. Although, getting through the portal isn’t as easy as Viktor thought, and now he has to work with Matthias to protect the very girl he was ordered to kill.
Texas Book-aholic, July 21
For the Love of Literature, July 22 (Author Interview)
Rebecca Tews, July 22
Through the Fire Blogs, July 23
Inklings and notions, July 24
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 25
Just the Write Escape, July 26
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, July 27
Artistic Nobody, July 28 (Author Interview)
deb’s Book Review, July 28
For Him and My Family, July 29
Wishful Endings, July 30 (Author Interview)
April Hayman, Author, July 30
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 31
Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 1
Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 2
Emily Yager, August 3
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