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Saturday, June 11, 2011
The Seraph Seal Review
An epic tale of good and evil based on the four horsemen of the Apocalypse found in Revelation.
Using the four horsemen of the Apocalypse to symbolize the four Gospels, four transcendentals, and four forces of the universe (air, water, earth, and fire), Sweet and Wagner weave a fast-paced, end-times tale of good vs. evil and the promise of a new dawn for humanity.
Set in 2048, when planet Earth is suffering from the damaging effects of years of misuse and abuse, cultural history professor Paul Binder receives a mysterious letter that leads him to examine a lost 2nd-century Diatessaron manuscript. Ancient prophecies, cryptic letters, and strange events set him on a course to uncover the missing clues that could lead humanity into a new age. Layered with forgotten symbolism from the ancient, Jewish, and Christian traditions, the novel is a type of engaged fiction in which the main character's lost journal serves as a guide to the reader in interpreting clues and understanding the novel's conclusion.
Let me begin with I really wanted to like this book. As a matter of fact, it was scheduled to be available for review months ago and I had been greatly disappointed when they pushed the publishing date back. I actually stayed up late one night so that I would be able to request the book at 12:00 am when it became available to ensure that I would get to review it. It has taken me almost a month to get through this book (which is VERY unusual for me) and I have to say, I really didn't like it. I enjoy apocalyptic novels, especially those that are Christian in nature. I find it interesting to see how others think it is all going to fall apart. I feel like the authors really fell short in this respect. Had it been published by a non-Christian publisher I may not feel as let down as I do.
First, I read the Kindle version of the book, so I can speak in percentage read rather than pages. The first 60 % of the book was disjointed and slow. The pace picked up at the end and parts of it began to come together, but some characters never really seemed to fit. For example Oksanna. This character was supposed to be one of the instrumental characters without which the good side would have had no chance. However, as far as the plot goes, she was totally useless. At one point she looked like she was going to be instrumental in the ending only to discover that nope, didn't happen.
It isn't just characters either. The author's bring in a civil war aspect that adds nothing to the story, isn't interesting and just aggravated me as a reader. I wanted to find out what was happening in the main story. Didn't really care in the grand scheme of "the world as we know it is falling apart" that in one country a civil war broke out. And some aspects are just never explained. Why is the USA referred to as USAmerica throughout?
Then there is the premise. In the end times there are 8 people, all born at exactly the same time, that will determine the fate of the world. Two people represent each of the four elements -air, wind, water, and fire. The good side must assemble one of each element and so must the bad side. Only each person has no idea that they are instrumental in anything with the exception of Serafino, president of USAmerica and lead badguy. No idea really how his family seemed to know he was instrumental or how he came across his information.
Little of the storyline is Biblical. References are thrown is, such as when the authors compare the wheels in Ezekiel 1:16 to a helicopter (didn't really get that), and the obvious reference to the four horsemen. The earthquakes are there and some of the natural disasters, but the reader really isn't made aware that these are from God, rather they are the effects of an exploding sun.
I was very disappointed in the way the authors seem to want to tie many end time theories and religions together. They insinuate that each has part of it right but that no one has it all right. That isn't what my Bible tells me. Jesus is mentioned in passing as the embodiment of love, but not as the path to a relationship with God. There is one good conversation in which two of the good guys are discussing the fact that God made a pact or covenant with humanity and we keep letting him down over and over. "God keeps on trying. Even when it looks like we've managed to destroy everything possible, to lose all our faith, to not even remember how to recognize God anymore, God remembers us. And finds ways to give us new chances." While I agree with that wholeheartedly, the authors never take it any farther. It is as if we have no responsibility in return. For that matter, those that were "saved" seem to have only come to God because the world was falling apart around them, not even because the believed in God, but as if they had no where else to go so we'll try this and hope it works.
All in all, I didn't enjoy reading this and I can't recommend it. Sorry guys, this one was a flop for me!
This was a free review copy I received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.