Light of the Last is the third part of the Wars of the Realm trilogy, and a thrilling edge-of-the-seat finish to the series. Where the first book was about Drew Carter and his experience with enhanced physical capabilities and sight that enables him to see invisible alien invaders, and the second book followed the history of angels and demons, particularly the angel Validus assigned to watch Drew, the third book is where both worlds collide and the story continues from the perspectives of both Drew and Validus in their prospective worlds. Only one thing is for certain: reality will be shaken by this collision of heaven and earth, and their lives will never be the same.
The book hits the ground running right where we left Drew at the end of the first book: sitting in an interrogation room of the FBI. The authorities know there is more to him than meets the eye, so rather than pinning him with a crime and hauling him to prison, he is offered a position with the CIA. It is work he was trained for, and he loves it. In order to prove he is committed to his second chance at life, he throws himself into his work with an excellence that surprises both his partner and the higher-ups who watch him closely. However after stopping what could have been a fatal terrorist attack in a city he should never have been in, his hand is forced. Ross, a superior way up the CIA chain, guesses that Drew is seeing things that no one else can, and Drew has no choice but to obey Ross’s orders to see one Dr. Whitton for psychological evaluation. By the end of this process, Drew is convinced that the visions of aliens is merely a symptom of severe post-traumatic stress, but Ross knows Drew’s talent, and is unwilling to let him go. He decides to keep Drew on call as a personal agent to him, and in the meantime, Drew goes home to work as security for his step-dad’s business.
Coming back home, he manages to find Ben, his school friend that was with him during the accident that blinded him, and upon re-acquaintance, discovers Ben has become the head of a huge tech company and is hard at work rebuilding the first LASOK that was destroyed. In the midst of testing the new machine, Drew is called on a mission. When things go sideways and he is injured, Ben takes him to the one safe person he can think of: Sydney, the girl he met and loved in highschool. From this mission and onwards, Drew begins to unveil a horrifying conspiracy that could lead to catastrophe, and unless he and his friends bring it to light to the right people, all will be lost.
I have to say, book three is definitely my favourite of the trilogy. It deals with some pretty heavy stuff: impossible love, right and wrong, psychological counselling, post-traumatic stress, salvation, etc. there’s a lot going on here, and I was blown away by how realistic the struggles were depicted (sorry, I’m cynical of a lot of Christian fiction. Surprise is a good thing). The pacing of the writing is good, and though the camera changes angles between worlds, the transitions are a lot smoother because they don’t always jump back in time to catch you up. I was so captivated by Drew’s journey, and the way he wrestled through different trials—be they physical or mental ones—really made me feel along with him. Sydney’s character development was also something that really stood out, since from the beginning I was ready to pounce on her for any flaw I could find. She certainly added an extra layer of depth to this final instalment, and had to make some tough decisions herself. The book builds well to the climax leaving you guessing as to how it could possibly end yet the ending itself, though not all strings were completely tied up, was a brilliant conclusion to the trilogy without being trite. I will also make the bold statement that this book contains the best salvation scene of all time. Yes. It’s that epic.
One of the only negative points I can make about it is that the government conspiracy that made up a large half of the book towards the end got quite convoluted. I found it difficult to follow exactly what was going on, who the bad guys were and what exactly were they bad for again? Were these the guys that did that thing, or was that someone else? You get what I mean. The later chapters of the book pull in quite a handful of new characters I struggled to keep up with, and perhaps it was simply that the book had become so intense as it built toward the climax I read too fast to take it in, but I did have trouble following along and I felt I could only just applaud the outcome since I didn’t fully appreciate the lead up. But for this point, I would give it five stars.
Having said that though, Light of the Last is a brilliant piece of Christian contemporary fiction, and I would go as far to say it was as good, if not better than Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness. The characters are complex, and highly compelling, the plot original and creative, and I take my hat off to the author for writing such a believable and tangible story that did not see the main character rushed toward salvation, but took us on a journey of discovery with him.
Oh, and props for the Megamind movie reference. That was my absolute favourite part, well played, Chuck.
Published on 1 February, 2017. Last updated on