Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Soldier's Duty

A Soldier's Duty
By Jean Johnson

I loved, loved, loved Johnson's Sons of Destiny series and was looking forward to this newer series by her. However, I have been mostly disappointed. Unlike Sons of Destiny, the Theirs Not To Reason Why series is not a romance but science fiction. I am fine with that. The main character, Ia, has paranormal powers. I am also fine with that. The problem with this series is that it does not feel personal.

Ia's story is told from what looks like the perspective of an interview or an interrogation. The writing is written in third person with a few first person perspectives (mainly at the beginning of each chapter) highlighted in italics. I am currently reading the second book (review coming soon), so I am trying hard to stick with what is going on in the first book.

What I felt at the end was that Johnson had given a whole lot of details about life in the fictions future military but very little actual details on the main character. We get a vague understanding about why she has chosen to go into the Marines but we don't get the picture of what she has seen that has led her on this path. What did she really want to do with her life but decided instead to do all she could to save the future of humankind? What were her true feelings - did she ever have any? I have to admit the second book gives a much better picture of her inner turmoils.

I suppose the end result is that the book feels impersonal. It is more like a dry military report than a work of fiction. It is hard to cheer on someone when they seem to be more like a robot than a human being.

What did this book have to do with my faith? In this fictitious world, there is a new religion called the Church of the One True God. Christians are considered godless and polytheistic. I never considered myself to be a polytheist. But, in comparison to Judaism, Christianity does seem polytheistic. We do believe in the Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Have you ever thought that "three-in-one" is kind of like believing in three gods? I really have been thinking about that lately -- we have the understanding about the trinity because of a church council's decision 1700 years ago. This is also where the Apostle's Creed, the Christian statement of faith, came from.  I do believe in following the tradition of the church, but I wonder if Christians in the future will continue to follow that belief. On that note, what does an unchurched person think of our idea of the Trinity, anyway? How do I, as a follower, connect that belief with my understanding of one God? I think this is something I will continue to struggle with.

I would only recommend this book for science fiction or military fiction fans.

Happy reading!


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