Thursday, May 20, 2010

Strange Angels

Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow
Penguin Young Readers Group

Yes, Strange Angels is yet another teen vampire novel. I admit that up front. However, Lilith St. Crow happens to be one of my favorite adult novelists and when I saw she had written a teen novel I had to check it out. In addition, when you have a title like Strange Angels, it really is too tempting for me.

And if you can't tell by now, one of my favorite genres is fantasy fiction but I promise that is not all I will be reviewing! However, time this past week has been at a premium and I had to turn to something I had read recently that was fiction.

My Personal Impressions

St. Crow has managed to get on the Stephanie Meyer bandwagon with this novel but she does it in such a way that draws you in without being simply another copycat (and I have read some awful copycats as well). St. Crow's adult protagonists are usually female and very edgy. But what I like about Dru is that she still has some innocence about her. She is still tough but also able to express her emotions in a very real way. The reader can actually see her learning through the process.

Okay, so what is the plot? Well, Dru's dad has been a hunter of really bad characters as long as his daughter can remember. The bad characters are not drug lords but zombies, vampires, werewolves and other evil creatures. Dru has traveled with him (they are always moving) and has learned a great deal about self-preservation. Although she has not technically been with her father when he has hunted and put down those things that go bump in the night, Dru has been taught how to hunt and kill evil things. Everything is as fine until Dad shows up at the backdoor after hunting a really bad evil thing. Obviously, things are not fine as Dad is now a zombie which Dru is forced to deal with and then take off out of terror and grief.

The novel focuses on Dru's attempt to make sense of what happened to her father and to find those persons who can help keep her safe as she has become a target of something or someone. The strange angels are those persons who may or may not be truly helping Dru. Who can she really trust now that the one person she always trusted became an enemy?

Warning: this is the first book in a series!

How do I see this book in light of my Christian faith? 

I think of Paul's own words when he said we are not fighting flesh and blood but forces of spiritual darkness. All vampire/horror books focus on fighting the dark in the form of flesh. But this does remind us Christians that we do fight a battle. And we do need to know what weapons to use, how to use them and when to keep moving. Thinking again of Paul's image of putting on the full armor of God reminds us that there is a spiritual warfare going on around us. For Paul the ultimate weapons are the Holy Spirit and scripture. Certainly, the image of armor is more for protection than real fighting. However, since we have feet ready to spread the Gospel of peace, we are not to remain idle or standing still. Our fight won't look like we are staking a vampire in the heart. However, we will be servants of God, helping others to open up their hearts to Christ.

When thinking of Dru's character, I want to take a closer look at how I am doing in my own spiritual warfare adventure. Am I prepared through the study of scripture and prayer? Am I asking for the full armor of God each day? Who can I trust? Who do I hang out with? Who are my teachers and mentors that help me along my own journey? Am I really growing in the love of Christ while on this adventure or am I getting too involved in being a warrior?

Who are the strange angels that I encounter each day? Certainly in the Old Testament, the angels of the Lord often appeared as strangers or persons unknown. They were not immediately recognized as angels. In addition, how have I been an angel to others, strange or not? Who am I helping? Am I allowing myself to be God's messenger to others?

I love it when I book I read makes me really question my own life adventure.

Have you met any strange angels lately?

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