Many friends and blog readers may be offended that I have read and am reviewing a book sometimes classified as “Christian Horror.” Calling it an oxymoron or worse, some people say horror has no place in Christianity.
What is appropriate to write and call Christian is a big area of disagreement. Workshops, seminars and conferences teach biblical standards. I have different beliefs and standards from Lisa Grace. Many people will reject this book without reading it because they don’t think they would agree with all it teaches. That would be a mistake.
Lisa Grace has said, “Nothing is more horrible than going to Hell and being without the love of your Creator. I find Christianity and horror extremely compatible for this reason. Why do people commit suicide? Because they lack hope and love.” Most of the modern definitions of horror don’t fit this book. There are no undead. There is no gruesome violence or dwelling on the occult. She deals with both good and bad spiritual power but in a pretty down-to-earth way, at the risk of resorting to a pun.
Seth, a character in the book, is a growing Christian, as any teenager might be. He joins the spiritual rollercoaster ride with his girlfriend Megan (the main character) and shows faith, patience and dependability not everyone would be able to manage. Seth learns that we can sometimes fight the good fight without wholly understanding it, and grow into better understanding of our spiritual battles along the way.
I found technical flaws in the book. The writing style is intended to be simple, to reach more readers, but I think a cleaner, more traditional attention to style and mechanics would not hurt its influence much. The handling of angels living among us and interacting with humans was also a bit clumsy at times. I am not sure their consistent physical presence, like Grace portrays, would really be compatible with an angel’s mission either to help man to good or to tempt man to evil.
People in the story say they don’t have enough knowledge of the Scriptures but little attention is given to more study. The book seems to portray some loose personal standards as compatible with Christianity. While we all come to the Cross with baggage, mental and physical, we need to learn what has to be left at the Cross or quickly discarded.
The book shows a sex and drug party. Little detail is given. The evil angel is active in temptations there. The lifestyle is shown as wrong, resulting in death and terrible consequences. Teenage sex is also there, without real detail, and it is shown to be wrong.
Adults, even Christian ones, are portrayed as weak and are disturbingly uninvolved in their children’s Christian lives. Megan’s mother automatically disbelieves her account of a lifesaving event. Parents and adults are purposefully excluded from the main spiritual warfare of the book. I did not care for this obliviousness, though I know it is sometimes true. We as writers are here to edify, not reinforce what may be true but we acknowledge is wrong. I object to running down parents and lifting up teenagers as superior beings.
This book has a FANTASTIC occurrence near the end drawn from real life experience. The book is worth reading just to see how God can work even in the most impossible circumstances and concerns an issue crucial to our times and our Christian and human natures. It is one of the best descriptions of characters and events I have ever read.