Previously in the Wars of the Realm series, we met Drew; a young man who gained the ability to see angels and demons as the result of a lab explosion. However aside from the obvious battle between light and dark, we are never quite sure just what’s happening in this alternate world of the supernatural that Drew is an unlikely witness of. Well, all of that is about to change.
Book two takes us back before the start of book one — a long way back. Beginning from before creation, Rise of the Fallen follows the birth and journey of mankind through the lens of the spiritual realm and more specifically, the eyes of Validus: the last angel God created. Though everything is perfect in God’s heavenly kingdom, Validus begins to hear whispers of dissention and rebellion amongst the angelic ranks and worse, from his best friend. Before he realizes what’s happening, Lucifer has raised himself against Elohim, and has been cast below with his followers to the newly created earth—his friend Niturni among them. It is a fall that starts in heaven, and ends with tragedy for humanity. War treaties are drawn, warriors are enlisted, and chaos reigns as angels and demons fight for the right to God’s chosen image-bearers. Time flies over centuries of war and earth history until Validus, now commander and the most powerful warrior in America, is reassigned to be a mere guardian to a mortal: who is none other than Drew Carter. This is the beginning of the angel’s fascination with why this one human is so important, and the peril that comes with protecting him.
Historically speaking, I really enjoyed part two of this trilogy. Seeing different events in human history from heaven’s angle was quite intriguing, and it did much to stir my imagination as to how present God and His angels have been through our earthly disasters and tragedies. I was captivated by the author’s creativity in depicting the angel warriors, from their weapons to the way they “translated” from spirit to flesh. The science (for want of a better word) behind the angels and demons was well detailed, yet not full of over-the-top exposition. Whilst it did take me a bit longer to get into this book because the timeline jumped back and forth a lot, the story was fairly easy to follow yet unpredictable in how it would finish. It kept me interested until the end.
I can hardly praise the strengths of the second book without highlighting the brilliantly subtle foreshadowing of the first. Book two has so many “aha!” moments referenced from book one that you were completely oblivious to at the time. It is a skill to foreshadow in such a way that readers don’t see it coming, yet make perfect sense once enlightened. The author strikes this balance impeccably.
On the negative side though, I don’t believe the writing was as strong as in the first book. It felt like the author lacked confidence in his creative license, and used semi-direct quotations of Scripture in bold font style to emphasize the fact. Though I’ve had debates with siblings who vehemently disagreed with me, I found the emboldened Bible verse references in the text to be distracting, taking away from the depth of the story. Whilst I can understand it if you’re writing a thesis, I believe it shows a lack of confidence to starkly remind the reader of what is true and what isn’t in a work of fiction. It’s fiction, Mr. Black. We get it. We’re not going to take your book literally. Please, trust your readers.
As such, whilst Rise of the Fallen is a strong middle piece to the trilogy, I don’t believe it was as enthralling as the first. The emboldened text and the jumpy timeline were enough to pull me out of the story substantially and tempted me to skim read. It lacked the flow of the first book, however as a plot it is certainly not irredeemable. Perhaps it’s because this book took place before and up till the end of the first book so you didn’t gain any substantially new information about Drew’s story, thus it felt like you were going over familiar ground. Either way, these flaws cause me to give it three stars.
Published on 14 September, 2016. Last updated on