Category Archives: Young Adult

Martyr’s Fire by Sigmund Brouwer

Martyr's Fire cover artTitle: Martyr’s Fire (Book Three, Merlin’s Immortals)

Author: Sigmund Brouwer

Publisher: WaterBrook Press

Book Description:

Will this dangerous quest lead the outcast Orphan King toward an ancient secret—or to certain destruction? 

Posing as a beggar, Thomas escapes Magnus after fifteen men, who are calling themselves the Priests of the Holy Grail, arrive and take control of the castle through wondrous acts and apparent miracles. With the help of his longtime friend Gervaise, Thomas sets out on a journey that leads him to the ancient Holy Land. Unaware that Katherine and Hawkwood are watching over him, Thomas is tested in his beliefs and comes face to face with the ancient power that the Merlins and Druids have long been searching for.Enter the world of Merlin’s Immortals, where ancient secrets and evil conspiracies take you on a breathless adventure of discovery, intrigue, and hidden knowledge.

Review:

In this third book of the Merlin’s Immortals series, Thomas must face new challenges and dangers in his quest to rule and protect Magnus from the Druids. He also must take a leap of faith — a difficult task for a young man who values physical proof and things he can see. But when battling unseen enemies and trying to uncover hidden secrets, sometimes faith is all one can rely on.

Throughout the book treachery, secrets, and mysteries all lead Thomas to one big question: who can he trust? Katherine and Hawkwood face a similar dilemma. Can they trust Thomas, or is he their enemy? These questions and more circle round and round, each time drawing a little closer to an answer. Then, just when they think they know where to place their trust, something happens to make them question others’ loyalty once more.

The twists and turns in Martyr’s Fire keep the reader waiting with bated breath to discover what will happen next. Just when you think you know how events will unfold, the author throws in something that makes you question everything you thought you knew about the story. The high adventure and fast-paced action will keep you turning pages late into the night.

If you have read the first two books in the Merlin’s Immortals series, you should definitely read this book. If you haven’t started reading the series yet, you should pick up a copy of The Orphan King immediately and be prepared to read the next two books as well. This series will grab your attention, pull you into the story of Thomas and his quest for Magnus, and leave you wanting more.

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Filed under Christian, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical, Mystery/Suspense, Series, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, Young Adult

Fortress of Mist by Sigmund Brouwer

Fortress of Mist cover artTitle: Fortress of Mist (Book Two, Merlin’s Immortals)

Author: Sigmund Brouwer

Publisher: Waterbrook Press

Book Description:

The throne is redeemed, but the battle is just beginning.          

In the dark corners of an ancient land, evil lurks in the shadows. Powerful druids haunt the spaces of their lost territory. Double-minded noblemen fight for domain and influence. Invaders from the north threaten the kingdom of Magnus. This land of promise and redemption is mired in deceit and corruption.

The Orphan King, once victorious in conquest, appears to be losing his grip on his seat of power. Thomas rules Magnus, but does not know whom he can trust. His enemies anticipate his every move, thwarting him at each turn. Something is not right.

Under attack, both in the supernatural and natural worlds, Thomas must reach back into the secret layers of his past to find the strength and wisdom to fight his battles. When the mist clears, who will stand with him?

Review:

The battle between good and evil continues in Fortress of Mist. The more Thomas of Magnus searches for answers, the more questions he finds. Each person he wants to trust holds secrets they refuse to reveal, leaving Thomas unable to trust anyone but himself. And through it all, he must fight to hold onto Magnus, a goal that seems hopeless when he has to face it alone.

Once again, Sigmund Brouwer has written an intriguing book full of twists and turns that keep the reader guessing until the very end. The depth of Thomas’s emotions make it easy to step into his shoes and experience the events of the story along with him. Katherine’s longing to reveal everything to Thomas and her feelings for him bring the reader close to her and make it easy to want her to find a happy ending. Yet the book ends with a cliffhanger that leaves you longing to read the next book just to find out where the story goes next.

The theme of faith is artfully woven throughout the book. In the battle between good and evil, Thomas must choose which side to fight for. It is not always an easy choice, nor is the choice always clear at first glance. Thomas, though still resistant to Christianity, steadfastly analyzes each option presented to him and chooses in ways that indicate the beginnings of faith. His questions and doubts remain, however, lending him a relatable struggle that many face when struggling with whether to turn to God.

The intrigue, excitement, and believable challenges make this book easy to enjoy. If you’re looking for an adventure in which you will lose yourself until the end, I recommend Fortress of Mist.

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Filed under Christian, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical, Series, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, Young Adult

Domination by Jon S. Lewis

Domination cover artTitle: Domination

Author: Jon S. Lewis

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Book Description:

THEIR GOAL IS SIMPLE: TOTAL DOMINATION.

With six arms and jaws that can snap a man in two, the warmongering race of aliens known as the Thule has conquered every planet they’ve attacked.

And now their invasion of Earth has begun.

Humanity’s only hope springs from a mysterious Thule legend about a Betrayer, who they believe will rise up and destroy their people. The American government tried to manufacture their own Betrayer by injecting children with Thule blood but time after time the experiment failed . . . until Colt McAlister.

A decade later, Colt is a 16-year-old cadet at the CHAOS Military Academy where he’s training to defend mankind. But he’s afraid that the alien blood may be turning him into a Thule—and he’s beginning to suspect that fulfilling his role as the Betrayer may cost him everything.

Experience a cosmic battle filled with high-tech gear, gateways to other planets, and ultimate stakes. Not everyone will survive. But heroes will rise up and step into their destiny in this earth-shaking conclusion to the C.H.A.O.S trilogy.

Review:

In this epic conclusion to the C.H.A.O.S. Trilogy, Colt McAlister is one step closer to saving Earth from an invasion of Thule. Unfortunately, the mission he and his friends have been tasked with completing if far from easy. If the practice runs in the simulator are any indication, humanity is doomed. But despite the odds stacked high against them, Colt and his friends hold onto the hope that when the time comes, they will succeed.

I loved the first two books in this trilogy, and I looked forward to reading Domination for quite some time. This book did not disappoint. As with the first two books, there is plenty of action, danger, and plot twists to keep the reader turning pages. There is also just the right amount of teenage angst as Colt faces the normal struggles of being a sixteen-year-old boy, although his challenges are made all the more difficult because the entire world is counting on him to save them from destruction.

Colt’s faith comes to the forefront in this book, shining bright through his struggles with the Thule blood running through his veins as well as wondering if he can live up to everyone’s expectations. Regardless of his doubts, he always clings to his faith in God. The verse he wears on a medallion around his neck serves as a constant reminder that God will help him, regardless of what dangers he may face.

If you haven’t read the first two books in this trilogy, I highly recommend you pick them up before reading Domination. If you have already read Invasion and Alienation, what are you waiting for? Pick up a copy of Domination now. You won’t regret it.

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Filed under Christian, Fiction, Genre, Mystery/Suspense, Science Fiction, Series, Thomas Nelson, Young Adult

Fire Prophet by Jerel Law

Fire Prophet cover artTitle: Fire Prophet (Book Two in the Sons of Angels Series)

Author: Jerel Law

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Book Description:

Fire Prophet is Book Two in the Son of Angels Series. Spirit Fighter began the Son of Angels series.

What if you could actually see angels and fallen angels engaging in battle—and you were expected to join the fight?

It’s been one year since Jonah Stone and his sister, Eliza, discovered that their mother is a nephilim, the product of a union between a human and a fallen angel, which makes them and their little brother, Jeremiah, quarterlings, or one-quarter angel. After embarking on an epic journey to rescue their mother and the other nephilim, who were kidnapped by fallen angels, the Stone kids have enjoyed a little peace and quiet.

But when Jonah and Eliza are attacked by fallen angels at school, they learn that quarterlings all over the world are being targeted, and separating them from their parents is the only way to keep them safe. The kids undergo special training to help them discover their own unique angelic gifts, which come in handy when they embark on a mission to find a mysterious prophet who they believe holds the key to Abaddon’s defeat in a massive battle between good and evil.

Parents today are looking for fiction that makes Christianity and the Bible exciting for their kids. This series is the first Christian answer to Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the Kane Chronicles, the Secret Series, and other middle grade series packed with adventure, action, and supernatural fights. But the message is solidly scriptural in that God alone is always in control.

Review:

Jonah Stone and his younger brother and sister, Jeremiah and Eliza, are quarterlings (one-quarter angel). Abbadon, the ruler of evil, is determined to destroy the Stone children, every other quarterling, and the nephilim (half angels). Jonah and his siblings take refuge with the rest of the quarterlings and begin learning to use their angelic abilities to fight evil. The quarterlings’ parents, both nephilim and human, are taken to other secure locations for their own protection. Jonah, his brother and sister, and their new quarterling friends must work with the angels and use the unique gifts Elohim has given each of them if they are to save their parents and themselves from death.

When I first read the description of this book, it sounded like an amazing story full of action and lively battles between good and evil. While the book does contain these, it fell far from my initial expectations. Speculative fiction requires readers to suspend their disbelief and accept that the fantastical elements could really exist. Unfortunately, the first third of Fire Prophet contained too many ridiculous and clichéd elements for me to adequately suspend my disbelief. The story did improve after the first third and began to live up to the potential given in the book’s description. The spiritual battles were vividly described and drew me in, allowing me to almost experience them alongside the characters.

I say almost because of another set of issues that cropped up throughout the book. The frequent head-hopping and shifts to points of view other than the protagonists made it difficult to fully get into the story. Minor consistency issues also pulled me out of the story. I also started skimming over the repeated statements of the kids disappearing from the physical realm every time they entered the hidden realm. The first time or two they popped into the hidden realm, it made sense to mention that they suddenly vanished from the view of anyone in the physical realm. By the second half of the book, however, I felt as though the author didn’t think I would remember that going into the hidden realm meant the quarterlings were hidden from the sight of any nearby humans.

Over all, I think this is a book children in middle school could enjoy because of the fast-paced action and unique plot. I wouldn’t recommend it for high school aged kids, however. Despite being labeled a young adult novel, it reads more like an upper middle grade novel.

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Filed under Christian, Fantasy, Fiction, Series, Speculative Fiction, Thomas Nelson, Young Adult

The Orphan King by Sigmund Brouwer

The Orphan King cover artTitle: The Orphan King

Author: Sigmund Brouwer

Publisher: Waterbrook Press

Book Description:

The future of the Immortals is in the hands of an orphan

My greatest fear was that they would find us and make of us a sacrifice beneath a full moon. Now you, Thomas, must help us destroy the circle of evil.

The last words of a dying woman would change the life of young Thomas. Raised behind monastery walls, he knows nothing of his mysterious past or imminent destiny. But now, in the heart of medieval England, a darkness threatens to strangle truth. An ancient order tightens their ghostly grip on power, creating fear and exiling those who would oppose them. Thomas is determined fulfill his calling and bring light into the mysterious world of the Druids and leaves the monastery on an important quest.

Thomas quickly finds himself in unfamiliar territory, as he must put his faith in unusual companions—a cryptic knight, a child thief, and the beautiful, silent woman whom may not be all she seems.  From the solitary life of an orphan, Thomas now finds himself tangled in the roots of both comradery and suspicion.

Can he trust those who would join his battle…or will his fears force him to go on alone?

Review:

The first book in the Merlin’s Immortals series, The Orphan King is the beginning of an epic battle between good and evil. Thomas, an orphan raised in an abbey, has known from a young age that he has a special destiny, one he must fulfill or die trying. With the help of a knight he must first rescue from the gallows, he plans to retake the castle Magnus from the man who stole it from Thomas’s family and forced his mother to hide him at the abbey. At first, it appears as though Thomas’s fear may defeat him before his journey begins, but then his courage and determination shine through. He is filled with the necessary fire to stand up for what is right and to fight against those who oppress and inflict pain upon the innocent and the weak. But does he have the wisdom to discern those who wish to use his sense of justice for their own nefarious plans from those who truly need his help and wish to aid his mission?

This book is packed with adventure and intrigue. Each chapter brings a new twist and adds just enough information to allow the reader to discover what is going on right alongside Thomas. The Christian theme is masterfully woven into the plot, revealing itself more through Thomas’s doubts than through any great displays of faith. As Thomas travels the path laid before him, he ponders the same type of questions many people have, such as why a loving God would allow such evil to occur to those helpless to defend themselves. Thomas’s journey also shows the necessity of wisdom and looking beyond a pretty face or compelling words to a person’s true intentions. Not everything is as it seems, and Thomas soon learns that not everyone can be trusted.

With this new series, Sigmund Brouwer has given teens and adults a glimpse into the superstitious medieval times. He adds just enough easily explained “magic” to emphasize the mystique of the educated in the Middle Ages while avoiding turning this into yet another “sword and sorcery” fantasy novel that reads like a dozen others. The Orphan King has a unique plot filled with mystery and questions that leave the reader begging for more.

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Filed under Christian, Fantasy, Historical, Mystery/Suspense, Series, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, Young Adult

Alienation by Jon S. Lewis

Alienation cover artTitle: Alienation

Author: Jon S. Lewis

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Book Description:

The invasion was only the beginning . . .

After his parents were killed in a car accident, Colt McAllister was drawn into a world he thought only existed in comic books—one where mind control, jet packs, and flying motorcycles don’t even scratch the surface.

Along with his best friends Oz and Danielle, Colt is now training at the secret Central Headquarters Against the Occult and Supernatural academy. But strange accidents seem to follow him. . . even with the security of the school grounds. What first seems random soon turns deadly. But who is targeting Colt?

As the alien invasions increase in frequency and force, C.H.A.O.S resources are taxed to the limit and they’re forced to utilize the new recruits. In the midst of battle, Colt will discover some startling revelations . . . about himself, his friendship with Oz, and why he has been chosen to defeat this alien attack against earth.

Review:

Sixteen-year-old Colt McAlister is back for another exciting adventure full of aliens and intrigue. This time, however, someone is determined to kill him. Thanks to the government’s belief that Colt is the one who will save the world from an invasion of six-armed, shapeshifting aliens, he must survive multiple attempts on his life. His friends Danielle and Oz are determined to help him in any way they can, but can he truly trust them? Can he trust anyone?

The second book in the C.H.A.O.S. Trilogy, Alienation is an action-packed thrill ride full of conspiracies, danger, and of course, aliens. From hoverboards and nanotechnology to robots and jet packs, this book embodies any geek’s dream world. Although fictional, the technology is described in such a way that it is fully believable and undeniably awesome. Colt, Danielle, and Oz continue to develop their close friendship as their characters grow in strength and depth. When the three friends arrive at the CHAOS Military Academy, they work together and separately to stop the plot to eliminate Colt. Through the wild, life-threatening events, Colt learns who he can trust and what friendship really means.

Yet again, Jon Lewis has done a wonderful job of writing a book that will hold the interest of both teens and adults until the very last page. Alienation shows the importance of thinking for yourself, as well as knowing when to rely on others. Teens are sure to love the adrenaline-laced adventures Colt and his friends experience, and parents will appreciate the thread of faith skillfully woven into the tale. With all of the questionable role models out there, Colt McAlister and his friends provide a welcome change with their determination to help others and do the right thing, no matter the personal cost.

I highly recommend Alienation, and the rest of the C.H.A.O.S. Trilogy, to anyone who loves science fiction, adventure, and high-tech toys. These books will not disappoint.

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Filed under Christian, Fiction, Mystery/Suspense, Science Fiction, Series, Thomas Nelson, Young Adult

Invasion by Jon S. Lewis

Invasion cover artTitle: Invasion, a C.H.A.O.S. novel

Author: Jon S. Lewis

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Book Description:

Colt McAlister is drawn into a war against things he thought only existed in comic books.

After a car wreck takes the lives of his parents, Colt moves to Arizona to stay with his grandfather. There, an informant tells him that his parents were actually murdered because his mom, a journalist, was getting ready to write a story exposing Trident Industries.

Along with Oz and Danielle, his new comrades at Chandler High, Colt vows to uncover the truth. But the more they learn, the more bizarre reality becomes. Mind control, jet packs, and flying motorcycles only scratch the surface of what they discover.

Colt is recruited by a secret organization called the Central Headquarters Against the Occult and Supernatural. But the battle isn’t just against an out-of-control giant corporation. A gateway to another world is opening, and the invasion has already begun.

Review:

Sixteen-year-old Colt McAlister is enjoying a summer of surfing and freedom in his first car. Then his parents die in a head-on collision and everything changes. He moves to Arizona with his grandpa, hangs out with his childhood friend Danielle, and makes a new friend in Oz, who seems oddly familiar. As Colt works to find his way around school and his new life, he stumbles into a deadly plot involving the largest company in the world. With Dani and Oz by his side, he learns there may be more to comic books and conspiracy theories than he had always believed. Is it possible that they are based on reality and shapeshifting aliens are planning to invade Earth?

The ups and downs in Colt McAlister’s life ring true, even when he’s in the midst of an unrealistic situation. Readers can easily suspend disbelief, however, as they follow along on the adventure of a lifetime and cheer on the good guys. This is a classic story of good versus evil, although there are a few instances where the line between good and evil must be blurred for the sake of saving the world. These instances bring out Colt’s conscience, which is remarkably strong in the face of the challenges he stumbles or runs headlong into at every turn.

Jon Lewis has written an amazing tale of science fiction with just enough truth mixed in to make it frighteningly realistic. The possibilities suggested throughout the book add a chilling glimpse into what could be, while also including alien species that leave one hoping the UFO fanatics are wrong. Colt is a character anyone can look up to and sympathize with, which makes him a great role model for adolescent readers. This book was written for teens, but it is one that is easily enjoyed by adults as well.

I highly recommend Invasion to anyone who loves science fiction, action/adventure, or stories of the supernatural. This book is a keeper, and I look forward to reading the next book in the C.H.A.O.S. series.

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Filed under Christian, Fiction, Mystery/Suspense, Science Fiction, Series, Thomas Nelson, Young Adult