Cloak of the Light by Chuck Black
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
For college boy Drew Carter, the world will never be normal again. When he and his friend Ben begin experimenting with a machine that can help a person perceive the world at faster than the speed of light, Drew sees something he never anticipated, an enormous, malevolent creature who is like a man, but not like a man, all at the same time. When the Lasok machine, a device invented by Ben's physics mentor, explodes, Drew finds himself blinded and his friend injured. Against all odds, his sight returns slowly, but he has been changed by the explosion. His senses are heightened, his instincts sharp, his reactions swift and sure, and now he can see these beings without the aid of the Lasok machine. By studying these creatures, the Invaders as he calls them, Drew realizes there are two kinds, the dark ones who influence evil thoughts in men and are usually capable of turning those thoughts to action, and then the light ones, who do all within their power to defend humanity against the dark ones. Drew, for all his new superpowers, sees but doesn't understand what's happening, and until he believes in more than just his own abilities, Drew will remain lost.
I'm a long-time Frank Peretti fan. I first listened to his This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness audio books when I was a tween and practically have them memorized, even now so many years later. I love books about angels and demons (it's not hard to guess that's what these light and dark invaders are), so when I found out about Chuck Black's new series, I was determined to give it a try. I admit that no author has ever taken Peretti's place in my affection for supernatural fiction, but Chuck Black comes in a close second.
I like how he's modernized these supernatural beings. They're not in togas and sandals. They wear jeans and dark shirts, and while they do carry swords, they also carry guns, seriously awesome guns. If I were to change one thing about how these supernatural beings are developed, it's that I wish the reader could hear them. Drew can't hear them, only see them, and so the reader suffers the same fate. One of the many things I loved about Peretti is how his story follows multiple characters. I would have loved to have been on the other side of this story, seeing it from the perspective of the angels and demons. Still, nothing's perfect, and it certainly isn't enough of a complaint to decrease my rating.
The book is rather preachy, however. I know, I know, this is Christian fiction, and it's expected to be preachy, but sometimes it felt a little bit much. Sydney, a girl who Drew likes, is the one solid Christian influence in his life, and she's a very forthright girl about her faith, more forthright than any fellow Christian my age that I've ever met in real life. She must be very unique. So I wish the Christian aspect of the novel was shown more through doing and less through preaching, but oh well.
Chuck Black has created a fascinating world. Right now demons and angels are very popular in secular culture, so it's refreshing to find an author tackling them from a new perspective, reinventing them, as it were, so they're beings of the modern age, armed to the teeth with guns and toting swords on their backs. It's awesome. And, if I may say, Cloak of the Light is a much wiser choice for Christian youth than, oh, say the City of bones books that are quite sacrilegious. I eagerly anticipate the next book in the series.
- I received a free copy of this book from Multnomah in exchange for an honest review, which I have gladly given.
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