Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Book Review: Dark Halo

Dark Halo—where to begin? This book came as quite a surprise. If this had been the first book in the series, I probably would have steered clear of it. But it’s the third in a trilogy and I really wanted to learn how the story ends. What started out as the story of a teenage ballerina with a halo led to a full-blown spiritual showdown with Satan himself.

Who’d have guessed?

Here are a few random thoughts about this book:

1. I liked it. Shannon Dittemore is a talented writer with a knack for telling a great story full of subtle, spiritual truth. She captured my attention with the first book in the series, Angel Eyes, and, though I had a few reservations about the second book, Broken Wings, Dittemore finished the trilogy triumphantly.

2. There’s a lot of meat tucked into this story if the reader is watching for it.
  • Though angels and demons are battling it out, God is sovereign over all creation. No one on either side does anything unless He wills it or allows it. (No. He is not portrayed as a character in this book. Dittemore wisely refrained from that, revealing His Presence by having characters talk about what He was allowing or commanding.)
  • One character learns to forgive someone despicable and even to care what becomes of his soul.
  • Other characters learn that when God says no, He sometimes means not yet.
  • The main characters learn that personal failure doesn’t mean the war is over.
  • Satan is portrayed not as a hideous monster who repels, but as an attractive being who knows how to lure his prey in. Characters who know he is evil and are aware of his schemes still struggle with temptation.
These are just a few examples of truths worked into this book.

3. My one disappointment was that Brielle (the ballerina) never went to God for help. When confused or tempted or up against a wall, she either tried to stand on her own or consulted humans or angels. As I read the story, I kept telling Brielle that she needed to stop and pray. (Yes. I talk to characters in books or movies. They rarely listen to me.)

4. Though the story is well-told and full of truth, I still have a few reservations about the fictionalization of angels and demons and such. With the popularity of truly fictional, supernatural beings like vampires and zombies and witches and werewolves, readers need to remember that angels and demons and Satan and a spiritual realm really do exist. They need to know what the Bible says about these, pray faithfully, and stick close to God, so they'll stand strong against temptation and so others will come to know Him. Dark Halo communicates most of that well, but if readers classify it all with other supernatural stories, they’ll fail to take the message seriously. For that reason, I would caution parents to be aware of their teenager’s spiritual maturity, to read the book themselves if their teenager does, and to talk openly about issues of concern.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookSneeze in exchange for my honest review.

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