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Exile Paperback – November 10, 2013
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
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This book starts out horrendously. Two men, out on the sea fishing, rescue a woman from the water. She had jumped from a cliff into the water; she had been in the water, made rough by an approaching storm, long enough to be driven a mile from the cliffs; she had then been caught in a fishing net along with fish and debris, unable to swim while tangled in that way; yet for all of that, the story doesn't show her having been anywhere near drowning. Her rescuers didn't need to do anything like try to remove water from her lungs, they don't need to try to get her to a hospital, they don't even bother to ask her about her physical condition because it's plain that she's no worse off physically than if she'd just taken a dip in a swimming pool. I almost gave up on the book right then, because that made no sense at all.
And what was that ending? It looks like the big fight is about to begin, then there's a cut to someone in another place, then...the end? What?
There is an incident, where a group is trying to rescue a character from kidnappers. When one scene ends, the rescuers are fighting the kidnappers, and seem to be winning, and they're telling the kidnapped person to run for an exit. When the book returns to this scene, all the rescuers and the kidnapped person have been captured by the kidnappers, and no explanation is given for what happened.
The romance angle, small as it was, was forced and contrived.
And the crying. I don't think I've read a story with so many characters crying. I didn't find it emotionally moving at all.
Though the locations in the book are likely not real-world locations, the setting is very much real-world, complete with telephones and televisions, automobiles, highways and convenient stores, and mention is made of real-world locations like Italy and Greece. It's important to note this, because there are three real-world things notable by their absence, especially in a story that claims to be Christian.
One is churches. In the town and city where most of the events take place, there is not mention of churches. It's never mentioned that the Oneness cells are associated with a church, or that their people go to any churches. And if the Oneness is suppose to represent the Church as a whole, I'm unconvinced.
Another thing is the Bible. There is no hint that the Oneness people study scripture in any way, but they instead rely on messages they get in their feelings, dreams and visions, and the like. In other words, there is no objective Word of God they can point to and rely on, only what one persons feels or claims to have gotten from the Spirit. It's no wonder the Oneness people spend this entire book being hoodwinked and bamboozled.
The third real-world thing missing from this book is Jesus Christ, and this is especially important when it comes to the getting into the Oneness. There is a scene where the two men, the fishermen who rescued the not-drowning girl from the sea, are talking with some members of this Oneness, and they ask about how one becomes a part of this Oneness.
To fully appreciate the answer they received, I want to try a bit of a thought experience. Think about the biblical account of Paul and Silas in Philippi, recorded in Acts 16. Paul has cast a demon from a girl who was being used as a fortune teller, he and Silas have been beaten and thrown into the inmost part of a prison, where they've been praying and singing to God as the prisoners listened in. And earthquake has come, they've been freed from their bonds, and Paul has called out to the jailer, telling him to not harm himself. The jailer has himself led Paul and Silas from the place they had been kept, and asks, “What must I do to be saved?”
Or, think about Acts 2, where Peter has just preached to the crowds in Jerusalem, and many of them asked, “What shall we do?”
Now, at this point, imagine that Paul's or Peter's reply to these people had been...
“That is a mystery. No one really knows.” (Kindle Locations 1196-1197) “...You will know when the Spirit is seeking you. At some point you yield—or you don’t. The moment of yielding is the moment of birth.” (Kindle Locations 1208-1209)
This isn't the gospel. The gospel is that we are sinful and rebellious enemies of God; but God, in His great love for us, has sent His only Son, Jesus the Christ, into the world, to live a sinless life, and die as the perfect sacrifice for our sins; that we can be forgiven of our sins, not through our works, but through repentance and faith in Christ. The proper response would be to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, not some kind of vague notion of yielding which cannot be found in scripture.
I simply cannot at all recommend this book. The story is moderately interesting, some of the characters are moderately sympathetic, but I've read much, much better. I can't even say it was light, fun read. And the theology throughout is so very bad, it might be trying to cover itself in a few thin rags of biblical-like ideas, but in the end it's barely Christian at all. This is one to skip, and I have no intention of continuing the series.
Fans of Supernatural will have a lot to like about this story with its demonic attacks, decapitations, and mysterious dark forces.
A long time ago, Chris befriended Tyler, a boy with a devastating story, a trauma he hasn’t quite shaken himself from even after all these years. Chris’s mother Diane Sawyer comes over to their place after they rescue a grief-stricken girl named Reese. Chris’s mother seems to know what’s going on with her, but she’s not talking. She wishes the boys weren’t so involved with it.
A young jogger named April, kind to the poor, friend to troubled children, gets knocked in the head and kidnapped. What will those men do to her? Will her two friends and housemates with their strange, supernatural connections to each other find her in time?
Exile has a good story going on with intrigue and, perhaps, the fate of the whole world in the balance. As people’s secrets unfold, you can see how they all fit together to give understanding to Rachel Starr Thomson’s concept of The Oneness in a satisfying way.
Aside from its good story and intriguing theme, you come to care about these characters and whether they will make it or not. But I almost gave this book a 3 because the author is in the heads of the characters more than their hearts, explaining what they are thinking, interrupting the action. A few times, I ran across fancy words that seemed out of place for the characters to use, even in their heads. And there’s some telling what’s going on instead of showing it. The villain does a lot of talking at the end when he could just shoot everybody. Still, the story kept me reading to the end and wanting to know what terrible things will happen in the next book in the series: Hive.