I have a rule of thumb that I always review a book within a few days of reading it. It keeps me accountable to not be late and the story is freshest in my mind.
That said- it has been much longer than a few days since I had the opportunity to read The Awakened. Which means it already feels like it has been forever that I have been waiting for the second book and why is it not here now.
I had serious doubts about this book. End times fiction? Flashbacks that are essentially Biblical fiction? The author having Christ as a character in the story and having fictional scenarios? Why don’t we just throw in an adultery plotline and we can have all my least favorite things. The cynicism was high people. I am making such a big deal about this because I was less than 10 pages in when I had to stop and marvel at the grace and skill that the story in front of me was being handled. I got a lot of joy out of when my sister was reading it and she’d periodically text me and go “you’re right. This is amazing.”
The concept is: what if Lazarus didn’t die again. And what if there are a chosen few believers throughout history who were raised from the dead to stand against evil until Christ comes again. The story is told both through flashbacks to Bible times and modern day.
Confession time: the concept of writing historical fiction featuring people who actually lived terrifies me. This is because I know how hard I am on the genre. History isn’t just a playground for us to take pieces and put them together as a puzzle for our amusement. These are actual lives of people who once lived, just as you or I. And my personal conviction is the standard is even higher when your playground is events from Scripture. The respect Richard Spillman clearly has for Scripture is some of the best in fiction I’ve ever read. I’m still not entirely sure how he did it.
That alone would be enough for me to give this book high praise. But everything, the characters, the scenarios, the author is clearly well researched and gives humanity to situations that would be very easy to just slap on in the background. I kept getting blown away with how well done everything in this book was.
Count your blessings, you can go buy this today and you will have less a wait for the second book than I have had to wait thus far. If you like good, well researched, grace filled fiction that is going to make you pause and be like I didn’t know you could do that and it work, read this book.
Note: I received this book as an advance pre-reader copy.