Of The Persecuted by Angie Brashear is a Christian YA Fantasy novel, the first in her series, Legends Of The Woodlands.
Let me start out by saying that I tend to be pretty skeptical about Christian Fantasy, having seen it done very badly a number of times. But I found myself interested in reading and reviewing these, so here we go.
I gave it five out of five stars on Amazon. Here's my Amazon review:
As Christian fantasy goes, this was a very good read. I really enjoyed it. Some of the concepts Angie has explored in here are very similar to things I have learned in my own walk of faith. I didn't feel that the worldview was overbearing or stifling as it so often is in Christian literature. She presented the story as a story, with an interesting twist that tied it to real life in a way that I found quite clever and enjoyable. It didn't feel like she was forcing a fantasy world to act on the exact same rules and principles that ours does, something that I have been irritated with other authors for. But the basics of life are there: people are messed up and they need help from the One who made us.
The romance was a little odd at first. Laila was immediately head over heels enraptured with Lars. Right from the first few pages. It seemed a bit forced and awkward, until the concept of a one true match was introduced, and then looking back it made sense.
All in all, I enjoyed it and would recommend it to someone looking for this genre. Do be warned, however, that unlike Narnia and The Hobbit, this is a violent and at times slightly disturbingly gruesome book. This isn't a problem, because life is violent and disturbing, but I would recommend saving it for high school and beyond readers.
If you're looking for a Christian Fantasy read, I would probably recommend this one to you. It isn't heavy and overbearing like some I've read, and it isn't sticky sweet and all-is-well despite the fire breathing dragon about to kill us all, like others. It had me turning pages to see what happened next.
Well, I was turning pages except for when I wasn't allowed to.
It's messy. It's brutal. It's hard and painful and yes, somewhat gruesome and nasty.
But so is life. Life is messy and brutal and hard and painful and yes, sometimes gruesome and nasty. So I think there is a lot of value in presenting it. My personal suggestion would be 15-16 year olds and up. On the reading list for my brothers for school work, I would place this one after The Lord of The Rings - that means, they don't get to read this one until they've read The Lord of The Rings.
Photos by Annie Louise Twitchell