The Seed: Into the Darkness is a Christian fantasy story by R. L. Barker. It shows the events of Biblical history, especially the time of Christ, from Satan’s point of view as he tries to prevent Jesus Christ (the Seed) from defeating him. After Satan tempts Adam and Eve, things look well for him—but God tells of a Seed who will crush Satan’s head. Immediately, Satan’s obsession to get rid of this Seed begins, in a war against humanity spanning thousands of years. The problem is Satan doesn’t know who the Seed will be. Although powerful in the underworld, Satan doesn’t know everything—and so he discovers one day when he is startled to realize at long last the Seed might be really arriving.
The Seed: Into the Darkness is a profoundly enjoyable book. There is integrity to the character development and a good literary quality which created an immersive novel. Satan was portrayed in a down-to-earth way that was even light-hearted at times, but his menace and evil purpose towards Christ and Christians was also exceptionally clear. His small-minded mania and obsession was excellently developed, as were his parade of semi-comic and grotesque minions and the humans in his path like eccentric, wild John the Baptist and sour, corrupt Herod the Great. And Jesus Himself, shown only in sketches, possessed a quiet presence that proved He is what the story is really about. From the thundering chambers of Satan’s underworld to the joyous beauty of resurrection, R. L. Barker’s story certainly delivers the themes of the Bible in a fictional package worth putting on your shelf.
Braidy von Althuis and the Dastardly Djinn is a quirky and exciting children’s story with an inventive cast of characters. This third book in a series by author Cassidy Dwelis continues the story of young Braidy, who lives in a blended family of humans and magical creatures. Braidy’s grandmother is one of the most powerful fairies in the world. After she disappears to Europe, most of the family goes looking for her. Left at home, Braidy accidentally finds a ceramic container with a djinn trapped inside. To free the djinn, Braidy wishes for his cousin Blockhead, who was cursed so he has a block for a head, to look normal again so he'll feel better after a breakup. But Blockhead doesn’t know what to do with his newfound freedom, the djinn is on the run from someone who wants to enslave him, and before he knows it Braidy is head over heels in an adventure.
This book was an enjoyable reading experience for me and kids craving a story that does a good job delivering thrills, comedy, and sympathetic characters will like it as well. Braidy was a well-characterized little boy who drew me into the story immediately and Blockhead’s portrayal was strong as he grew from shy and underconfident into someone who embraced himself even if he looked different from others. That’s an excellent message and it’s easy to take it to heart after so much action-adventure brings us close to Braidy and Blockhead so we care about them and see their journey each step of its exciting, freaky, epic-scale way. Subtle illustrations captured the character’s emotions and the backstory of European fairies and Asian djinns, who coexist but dislike each other, was developed just enough to create a feeling of mythic scope without slowing the story down. Cassidy Dwelis has great skill with action stories and Braidy von Athuis and the Dastardly Djinn brings a fun fantasy world to life.
Flip and Pate’s Magical Potion Adventure is an inventive children’s fantasy comedy by Lori Rousche. A girl named Sophia Phlippet (nicknamed Flip) has the gift of dabbling in magic powers—specifically, making potions that come to life and actually work. When Flip is given the family Potion Bible by her grandmother, the first thing she can think of is getting even with arrogant-but-cute Justin at school. Justin’s family has the gift of potion-making too. She and her best friend Pate start to use the Potion Bible against Justin. But as Flip and Justin’s fighting turns into a spiral of making potions to embarrass each other, things start to go out of control and Flip ignores Pate’s needs. And is using magic for revenge really such a good idea?
Lori Rousche’s storytelling has a lot of gusto. Flip and Pate’s Magical Potion Adventure is an upbeat, action-packed reading experience for kids. The lively duo of mischief-making Flip and honest, friendly Pate made a likable team as they got involved in one amusing antic after another, and I especially enjoyed the well-timed verbal humor and clever ways Flip described things as they happened to her. Flip fizzed and buzzed with life much like the potions she thought up. Her dynamic personality wasn’t afraid to take risks and I appreciated that she had the ultimate ability to admit her mistakes. The dilemma of getting carried away by emotions and then repenting was a great moral lesson (mixed with a little fun) and a good drive to the story. Entertaining and light-hearted, this is a solid reading choice.
This is the companion for Sarah Scheele's newsletter blog. In it I share reviews for books I'd recommend/are similar to my own.