Saturday, March 29, 2014

Book Review [The Shadow Things]

The Shadow Things
Jennifer Freitag

Publisher:  Ambassador-Emerald International
Genre:  YA ?
Released:  2010

[Goodreads]
The Legions have left the province of Britain and the Western Roman Empire has dissolved into chaos. With the world plunged into darkness, paganism and superstition are as rampant as ever. In the Down country of southern Britain, young Indi has grown up knowing nothing more than his gods of horses and thunder; so when a man from across the sea comes preaching a single God slain on a cross, Indi must choose between his gods or the one God and face the consequences of his decision.


-------------------------------------
WARNING: Possible Spoilers

I am such a horrible reviewer.  No really.  I think I read this book way back in October or November of 2013, and am only now reviewing it?? *le sigh* Please don't misunderstand, I enjoyed this book, it is merely because I tend to procrastinate and keep putting off what should have been done long ago.

To begin, I found this on sale as an e-book and purchased it, not really knowing what it was about, just that I was following the author's blog and it seemed interesting.  Well, it was.  :]  I was unexpectedly and pleasantly surprised by the whole story, its characters, and the impeccable truth written into its pages.

[The Basics]
This is a historical fiction tale set in the land of Britain after the Roman legions left, leaving everything to dissolve into chaos.  Paganism reigns freely in the land, where Christ has never been introduced.  It is so saddening to see the characters of this story giving credit, thanks, and worship to their pagan gods.  Why?  Because that is all they know.  Until an old monk finds his way to their little village speaking of a single God who teaches compassion, mercy, and forgiveness of sin.

[Spiritual Content]
This is a Christian novel, where the characters are introduced to the one true God.  Some accept the undeserved mercy, others reject it to the point they would kill to be rid of the "defilement."

The people worship the gods Tir, a war-god from Germanic cultures, and Taranis, a Celtic god of thunder.

A village priest seems more of a witch doctor, freely and willingly sacrificing to the pagan gods.  There is a deep sense of evil and wickedness, even the main character feels, though he is familiar with the practices.

A woman has dreams that seem prophetic.

The holy man carries a beaded cross on a necklace and Indi refers to it as a wooden sword.  Jesus Christ is called the Christos.

[Violence & Other Negatives]
Indi, the MC, takes off after a wolf that's been pillaging his village's herds.  He tracks the big black beast and battles against its claws and teeth, coming away severely wounded.  He lives, thanks to the holy man, and his friend finishes the wolf.

A little girl is sacrificed on a bloody altar on behalf of her sick father, against the protests of Indi and the holy man, Procyon.

Indi's sister marries his friend, Cynr.  The wedding ceremony involves cutting the wrists of both bride and groom and drinking the blood from a cup.

[SPOILER] Indi's father, the Chieftain, dies from a sickness.  And the dun (or village) falls into chaos.  Cynr betrays Indi and becomes Chieftain, claiming the right because he had married Indi's sister and declared him incapable and unworthy of leadership, siding with the priest.  Cynr becomes a bitter man, forcing Indi to be his slave, abusing his wife, Indi's sister, and ruling his dun with a harsh hand.

[SPOILER] Indi and Cynr fight briefly in hand-to-hand combat.  He is "cursed" by the corrupt priest.

Indi's mother essentially disowns him due to his loyalty and submission to the God of the wooden sword.

A baby girl is killed in a scuffle.  One man is nearly executed, then save in the nick of time.  A couple men are slain by arrows.

[Positives]
In the midst of the chaos, Indi and his sister accept the peace offered by the Christos and learn to stand strong for their faith even when it seems the whole dun is against them.

Indi gains loyal friends, who would gladly give their all for him and his, despite his position as a slave.  They have seen the corrupt wickedness of the chieftain and recognize the power of Indi's God, and eventually [SPOILER] follow him to a new life in a new land.

[Love-y Content]
Not much.  A wedding is performed.  Indi is given a wife, who is shy and frightened (she had been captured previously to be sold as a slave).  His little wife has nothing to do with him and he gives her the space he thinks she needs.  [SPOILER] She later comes to love and accept him and his God.  They embrace and kiss a time or two.

[Conclusion]
I must say I enjoyed this tale.  The story was so well-written, the characters alive and real, and the message painfully clear.  We see Indi grow from a young, headstrong boy to a strong, godly man.  He finds peace, freedom, and unconditional love in the one true God that changed his life and his family.

Each character is flawed, but we see again the love of our Lord and His desire that all come to know Him.  This story brings into perspective the need this world has for our God's saving grace, and that it is up to us to share it.

-------------------------------------

Recommended ages:  16+

 photo sarahsignature_zps5172c7cd.png

No comments: