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His Sign: The Wait Is Over: A Paranormal Urban Fantasy Kindle Edition
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"Many people know that I’ve spent the last two years not writing much of anything. A few blog posts, some editing work, but the only publications in those two years have been volume 5 of our homeschool curriculum, Conflict of the Ages V: The Ancient World, Student and Teacher Editions and the summary version, Under the Sun: A Traditional View of Ancient History. That’s not much production for two years. I plinked away at some works in progress, but accomplished very little."
"In October, however, I received as a gift some great images from a stock image site called Neostock, and got inspired to create an urban fantasy cover, possibly to sell as a premade, since I’m also a designer. Three Neostock images appear on this cover. The more I talked about the idea behind it with author friends, the more inspired I got to write the story myself."
"So I began to work on that story, with the working title, His Sign, and by the end of October I had over 10,000 words. I was very excited to be writing again. How many believers are “waiting for a sign” about how to serve God? This is the story, partly allegory, partly urban fantasy, of one man’s journey after getting a sign he couldn’t ignore. You’ll find a pinch of C.S. Lewis, a sprinkling of Frank Peretti, a dash of Pilgrim’s Progress, and a lot of intent to be faithful to the Scriptures rolled into an offering to readers looking for something different in Christian books."
I love authors backstories to why they write the fiction they do and Findley's backstory is unique. This was one of the reasons I chose to buy this book. She does not disappoint in the elements she has mentioned above. This is one engaging and fast-paced novel that you will want to read in one sitting as I wanted to. Life, however, had other ideas and I finished it in two days. But that was a great two days!
I was impressed with Mary's message in this novel about waiting for a sign about how to serve God. I can relate to this. I don't believe God has made this a minefield but for us, we tend to make it such. Hence, her message. Serving God can be in the most practical way where we are with what we are doing or as diverse as using our talents He gave us to do this in specific ways. I regard reviewing Christian fiction as a way of serving Him and using the talent He gave me to do so. Writers do the same.
In this novel, Drew is given one very specific and unique sign of what his calling is. He cannot ignore it and get away with not using it. And he can only use it for God's purposes. Only when he submits to this calling and uses it for God's purposes does he find fulfilment and peace. In the process, he transformed more into the likeness of God's character and less of his own. Is Findley trying to tell us something here? You betcha! And I applaud her for doing so! As Mary quotes in the "Author's Note",
"God may not give us a sign as tangible as those given to Drew Goddard and his friends, but that does not excuse us. We were never supposed to be sitting around waiting for a sign, anyway."
I love the other message Findley included in that as Christians we should also be concerned about our fellow Christians who have lost their way and not just those people who do not know Jesus yet. I can relate to the former. I have seen so many of my fellow Christians stop going to church or abandon their relationship with Christ for many and varied reasons then are left alone by the Church. Is this because Christians/the Church find it easier to witness to the unsaved rather than to those who are saved but have fallen away? It was very refreshing having the character of Jonas have as his mandate from God to minister and harvest those who have fallen away from Christ. Findley makes the point here that we as Christians interpret seeking after lost sheep as described in the Word as those who do not know Him yet but as she illustrates in this novel, the lost sheep includes those who have had a relationship with Jesus but have lost their way for many reasons. These like the unsaved still need reconciliation to God. I almost cried out, "Preach it, Sister!"
Mentioning issues like this and having Findley address them in her novels, shows the extent of her knowledge and understanding of the Word, its application and power when applied to the Christian life. There are many examples in this novel with the Christian characters herein, where she shows her expertise here. For the discerning and receptive Christian reader, this is such a joy to read and be ministered to. Findley includes this as part of the developing plot and characterisation without it coming across as preaching to the choir or the unsaved. To achieve that is a talent and a very effective outcome.
One of the other drawcards that drew me to this novel was the Sethites. I pricked my ears at this as the mere mention of these people inevitably leads to a discussion (or sadly, argument!) about who were the Sons of God were. Were they the sons (descendants) of Seth (who coupled with the daughters of men/Cain) or were they the fallen angels who had sexual relations with human women and created the hybrids known as the Nephilim of Genesis 6:4? Findley has chosen the former based on the book her husband and herself wrote (The Conflict of the Ages Part 2, Teacher Edition, The Origin of Evil in the World that Was). I bought this book to investigate their reasoning and to see how compelling a case one of the authors who they quote makes as indicated in the Author's Note at the beginning of the novel.
This works well in this novel and lends itself to the world building she has created. She describes them through Hass one of the Sethites,
"Sethites.....means descended from Seth, the son of Adam and Eve who started the line of men who called on the Name of the Lord. His descendants were powerful for God until they interbred with Cainites - descendants of Cain who stayed in rebellion. Sethites corrupted the powers they were given and made monsters."
Despite the effects of the curse from this, they are protectors of the ordinaries (humans such as Drew). Hass and the other Sethites are sent to be guardian and protector of Drew, Jonas, his wife, and Nomie. Findley uses this to develop unity, team building and camaraderie between the Sethites and the ordinaries. It from this aspect that Findley introduces many of the supernatural and spiritual warfare elements of this novel and this adds yet another layer of action, intrigue and suspense and also gives Findley another avenue to expound more spiritual wisdom and knowledge of the Bible, and how the Christian characters learn to trust God and rely on His Word and its application. This is a great part of this novel and forms part of the glue that cements this novel together. The deliverance from demonic oppression is a bit simplistic but fit in well with the story and most importantly still show the power of God over the power of satan and his minions. In this novel, there is also monster type entities and a Qareen (a type of creature, similar to a genie, that can be controlled to do the bidding of a master, who is in possession of their heart. Qareens are shapeshifters and will take on the form of a person's deepest, darkest desire to seduce and then kill the victim).
I am so glad this novel is not a standalone as I feel Findley is on a winner with this new novel. The only aspect I stumbled on was the ending. It ends very suddenly and I wondered if there were some pages missing. I contacted the author and discovered that this novel is a serial so this ending is planned and meant to be like this. Findley has definitely ended this with plot lines that need to be resolved so this will obviously be the focus on the next novel and I can see that there will be some great plot lines in this next and subsequent novels. Again, I say Findley has a winner with this series. I am waiting in anticipation and dare I say impatience for this next instalment.
As a result of my concerns over the abrupt ending, the author contacted me asking if I would like an amended ending that rounds off the plot ready for the next instalment but does not change the original plot arcs at the end. I have read it and it is much better. It prepares the way for this next instalment and leaves the reader satisfied with this novel's events. Kindle buyers should be notified via Amazon of this update and if anyone else would like to receive this update in ePub or mobi format, the author can be contacted on mjmcfindleyatgmaildotcom.
Edited to add: Wow. I am so impressed by this writer. She fixed the ending so that even dim bulbs like me who don't notice they bought a book 1 will be told what the book 2 is and provides a teaser from book 2.
The protagonists are likeable and interesting. I had some difficulty with the...tone?...style? of the book. It is exactly as author describes. I kept wanting the book to be straightforward allegory like Pilgrim's Progress or be a straightforward military thriller, and so one element or another would throw me out of my suspension of disbelief. The problem is mine, and not the writer's. I have this trouble with lots of books, always fretting about economies or ecologies or whatnot, insisting that it all make sense! And I remember my mom prodding me during television shows and saying, "Stop thinking so hard and just watch." I think the subtext was, "Stop talking and let me watch."
So, I think a lot of people will adore this action-filled, speculative book. It's easy to read, and as I mentioned before, has likeable and/or interesting people. It illustrates a variety of Jewish and Christian spiritual truths and delves into some interesting history. Just don't expect a lot of logical real-world type consistency, because that's not the point of the book. What is the point? Well, read the book and find out.