Wednesday, January 18, 2012
A Sound Like Fire
WestBow Press A Division of Thomas Nelson
English, 444 pages
After a brief Prologue where a new mother is slain and her day-old baby is delivered to a wealthy aristocrat, our story gets underway with Dax Soileau in a Jerusalem prison in July, 2020. He and his fellow prisoners live in squalor, and the only way they are able to pass the time and maintain their sanity is to hear Dax's life story, as he is the newest person to join the ranks of the imprisoned. We find out that Dax used to be a United States senator, living a high life of privilege counter to his Christian upbringing and against the pleadings of his Christian younger brother, Zack. As the pages turn, we find out that Dax and his cellmates are some of the last Christians on earth, those who received Christ after the Rapture, and the Great Tribulation is in full-swing. Dax lays out his journey from rejecting God to finally coming to the truth and his life after salvation and before this final incarceration.
It took me a bit to get into the story, but once I did, I enjoyed reading it. The plot is good, and I think a decent picture is painted of how so many deceive themselves and are deceived by Satan into rejecting Jesus. God's grace is evident in the lives of many of the characters who finally hear the Lord's call and respond.
My biggest complaint is with the writing style. Again, not to say that I am a perfect writer by any means, but this manuscript shows evidence of either a sloppy editor or no professional editing at all. The perspective from which the story is being told isn't always clear. There are many consecutive sentences with repeated words (e.g., "something began"..."something began"..."something began"); such verbal repetition is something my editor counsels my co-author and I to avoid, and constantly saying something "began" is a weak statement (I think it falls under the passive voice)--instead of saying "The sun began to rise over the horizon," it would be better to say "The sun rose over the horizon," or something to that effect. There are quite a few typos, too. I know that digital versions sometimes have typos and have dealt with that with many other titles I've read on the Kindle, but there are more than really should be present.
There are some scenes that might not be appropriate for younger readers, and I would be hesitant to allow someone who isn't at least in high school to pick up this book. Not that things are necessarily graphic, but topics come up that younger readers might not be emotionally prepared to handle. Parents, I would suggest reading this book first before giving it to your children.
Finally, as I've seen on Amazon.com and the bookstore at WestBowPress.com, the hard copy of this book is outrageously expensive: $30.95 for a new softcover, and $43.95 for a new hardcover. While I understand that this is very likely a much smaller printing company than many of the ones from which I get my non-Christian fiction titles (and spend less than $25 on nearly 1000-page hardcovers), the cost of this book could be a lot better (this is a complaint I have about a lot of Christian books, fiction and non-fiction; not only can I not afford to buy them very often, I think it further drives the notion that Christians talk a good talk but are just after the money). If you have a Kindle or Nook--or at least a computer program to read their respective file types--I would recommend going that route as you can pick up a digital version for less than $4.00.
Overall, I'd give this book a hesitant 3/5.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”