Thursday, August 4, 2011

Book Review: The Seraph Seal

Whenever anyone said "I am spiritual but not religious," It did not mean that person had no religion, but that religion was self-organized, self-indulgent, and self-governing, free of authority and constraints. Selferism was solipsism gone spiritual. ~The Seraph Seal, 2011

The above quote from the book was one of many deeply profound truths bridging its future and our present. I see this selferism infesting our churches today making the future setting proposed alarming possible, perhaps even probable.

I had not downloaded an eBook before and I had to install a free eBook reader for my PC, which was simple enough, as I do not have an eReader. I was not sure if I would enjoy reading a book on my laptop. Yet, I chose this book because it appeared to be somewhat of a Christian sci-fi novel, my two favorites in one. The plot was intricate and the book was a well written interweaving of present day facts and anxieties spiraling download frighteningly into a futuristic worldwide apocalypse in 2048, with a singular hope of finding salvation through clues left throughout the ages.

The plot was excellent, however the execution could have been better. Each chapter was divided by hops to several locations all over the world. These sections were subtitled for easy identification, but seemed disjointed particularly in the beginning and I would have preferred dates and times to give more coherence. Each location had its own set of characters, some of which where only mentioned once or twice, so it was difficult to recognize the key characters in the beginning. However, I believe this style also added to the mystery and suspense as it did not dwell on any unnecessary details. Everything had relevance in pulling the plot together.

Once I felt more familiarity with the characters, the suspense intensified as a handful of chosen people race against time with great urgency as disasters of various kinds increase in frequency and devastation hampered their final journey to the foreordained destination. True to any good sci-fi, it accelerated in an intensifying spiral towards the "end of the world as we know it" and I could barely tear myself away.

This would be a great movie and would probably pass Hollywood's standards because the historical religion symbolism, technology, and mysticism far exceeded any substantial Biblical or Christian reference. In fact, I was rather disappointed that a relationship with God was not developed with the main characters, when it was believed they were chosen by God. There was some watered down references to faith and love that could have gone more in depth. I remember only one of the characters praying and even then it was merely mentioned that he prayed. The one baptism suggested the ritual, but was not described, and it served mostly as a means to introduce one key character to another, as it did not seem to add any real spiritual significance in the story.

Overall, like most "end of the world" themes, men were not seeking spiritual enlightenment but focused on finding their own way to save the world, seemingly without seeking any divine intervention outside of the mysterious symbols, codes, and bits of scripture. The book was as devoid of a spirit-filled heart as the future it described, where all religion was basically dead. It was as if God was a faraway spectator of the events for which He had set the stage long ago, not really involved with any of the characters nor they with Him. God's role was limited to providing a way through chosen individuals and symbols for some people to be moved to the New Earth and what faith was mentioned rested on that. There is no reference to Satan, only a vague force counterbalancing that which is good, so no angelic war. Instead, this entertaining fiction of the End Times intermingled a few Biblical references with Kabbalistic mysticism, Mayan prophecy, artistic renderings of the Four Horsemen, music, science and that soon-to-come-to-an-end theme of good versus evil.

Also, the book contains over a hundred pages of appendices in the form of journal notes and footnotes I felt are worth reading to understand how today's facts were woven into the fictitious future, on which this book really excelled. I would have liked more of these notes incorporated in the story. I believe this story could have been enhanced between the journal notes and spirituality to nearly double its size and would have been a better read for it.

Despite its shortcomings as a Christian novel, I enjoyed the sci-fi aspects very much and would recommend the book to those who enjoy futuristic fantasies with some very profound truths of man's spiritual condition sprinkled throughout.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

~ My Lord, it is wonderful how people can create a story in the future, but only You have written the true one. ~

2 comments:

  1. Great analysis!! It sounds very interesting, despite its shortcomings.

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  2. Thank you, Paula! I take this as a great compliment as I believe you are far more accomplished at book reviews than I.

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