Friday, May 23, 2014

Cloak of the Light {by Chuck Black}

Title: Cloak of the Light
Author: Chuck Black
Series: Wars of the Realm, #1
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Tragedy and heartache seem to be waiting for Drew Carter at every turn. Sydney Carlyle, a mysterious and elusive girl offers encouragement through her faith, but Drew is too logical and scientific to believe that her prayer of healing was anything but coincidental in the restoration of his eyesight. As his sight returns, he discovers that the accident has heightened his neuron activity, giving him skills and sight beyond the normal man. When he begins to see fierce invaders that no one else can see, he questions his own sanity, and so do others. But is he insane or do the invaders truly exist? The only one who can help him, his genius friend Benjamin Berg, has disappeared. In Drew's quest to find Ben, he discovers that the invaders themselves are at war, for his efforts to thwart the devastating actions caused by the dark invaders are aided by invaders with a different nature. Time grows short as the dark invaders close in on Drew. With skills that no other man possesses, and help from Benjamin and Sydney, Drew initiates a plan to expose the invaders to the world.

Okay, this was one that I originally picked up a few months go, couldn't get into, and set it back down. But I'm so glad I decided to pick it back up, because once I got into it, I really enjoyed it. 

The writing starts out a bit simplistic, and there is some info-dumping, which is what made it hard to get into in the first place. I can understand wanting to give the background on Drew's life since he was 12, because it is pretty important to who he is, but it was very dry. However, once we get to where things start happening, it did pick up a bit. 

Drew starts the story as a young boy of only 12, who loses his father. The story progresses through the rest of his middle school and into high school. He moves in the middle of high school, and his new school is where he meets Benjamin, the geeky genius kid. Stuff happens, the boys go off to college. It's here where the main part of the story happens. Ben had been an assistant to a professor who was trying to do something science had never seen: accelerate light. The professor seems to succeed, only to disappear. Ben and Drew take it upon themselves to go to the lab and see if it was true. And indeed, they see the very thing that may have gotten the professor killed: alien invaders. Tragedy strikes, Drew goes blind, and Ben drops off the grid. But! Lo and behold, no only does Drew's sight return fully, it's better. As in, he's the only one who can see the alien life forms. All is not as it seems, as there are actually two groups fighting each other: the light ones, and the dark ones. And it's up to Drew to save the world. 

Like I said, the beginning was very simple. It felt like I was reading a history of events, which I guess I was, but it didn't quite feel like a story. The writing, although stays simplistic, does progress and grow as the story and Drew does (which may be the point). It did take me a while to get invested into the story, but once I did, I was hooked. 

The characterization varied. Some were well-written, some fell flat. Drew was the most well-written, obviously. Seeing him go from twelve to an adult led to seeing grow and mature in a way that we didn't get to see from the other characters. Ben was written with just the right touch of genius paranoid science geek. Sydney, I'm torn on. Her whole identity is wrapped up in her being a "church girl". And while sometimes she had moments of depth, other times she just fell flat. The rest of the characters, even Jake (Drew's father figure) and his mother, were not memorable. They were just there. With the exception of the invaders, that is. 

The one thing that put me off was how easy things were for Drew or how perfectly things worked out. Okay, okay, being chased by aliens AND the FBI and having to drop of the grid is not example of things working out perfectly. I realize some of it was supposed to illustrate God looking after him because he was called for a purpose, and the other was his enhanced senses and reflexes after the accident. But still. 

But, I really did love the plot and idea if this one. I'm a bit of a science nerd myself, so I love reading about technological and scientific discoveries, if done well, with the right amount of realism and understanding, then it is quite enjoyable. I was very much intrigued by the science fiction part of it. 

This was also such an interesting way to portray spiritual warfare. We, as readers, realize that the "alien invaders" he sees are actually angels and fallen angels. He, as an atheist, does not realize this. (I did laugh when he tells the Reverend that the Bible doesn't talk about what he's going through. Actually, bud…) I also did love, not part of the book but at the end, where the author goes through the chapters and gives Biblical references for the themes he uses. It was a great way to be subtle in the story, but also to in depth for those who wanted to. 

The book is action-packed, and once you get into it, will hook you. I would definitely recommend it. Even if Christian fiction isn't really your thing, if you enjoy science fiction or topics of this nature, I think you would really enjoy it. I already can't wait for the next one to see what happens. 

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. 
This review can also be found on   Rachel Marie's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

Chuck Black:

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