Top positive review
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Realistic, yet frustrating
on August 23, 2004
"The Ishbane Conspiracy" by Randy Alcorn tells the story of four young adults - Jillian, Rob, Ian, and Brittany - over one year. It is the most critical year of a young person's life: the transfer from high school to college, and Alcorn portrays the emotion, fear, and excitment that go along with this move masterfully (no doubt with the help of his two 20-something daughters who co-authored the book).
The drama of the situations and temptations the characters face is realistic. Being barely 18 years old myself, and entering my final year of high school, this book hit pretty close to home. I related well to Rob: the Christian with natural leadership abilities, a strong faith, and a nack for sharing his faith effectively. I really enjoyed his character. I was pleased that Alcorn gave Rob weaknesses, too, such as lust, depression, etc., so he wasn't portrayed as some "super-Christian".
The situations described in the book were, in my opinion, not over-exaggerated at all. If a parent reads this book and says, "There's no way it's this bad out there", well, yes it is.
This is a watershed book. I'd recommend it to freshmen in high school, and their parents. Every chapter was followed by a demonic correspondance, by two demons, Prince Ishbane and Lord Foulgrin, much like Lewis's "The Screwtape Letters", in which two demons talk about how they can keep the teens from God.
The reason I rated the book 4 out of 5 stars is that, about halfway through the book, the demon letters started to get annoying. At times, the letters were longer than the preceding chapter! It was frustrating, I just wanted to know about the story, not the back-story! Every time the story got interesting, it was interrupted by the demon correspondance
If you don't want a primer on the current state of teenage culture, read the book, but skip the letters. Parents, however, should read the letters, as it outlines what we go through, and exposes the truth about the media, etc.
Overall, a very well-written book. I really enjoyed it.