These Christian authors paint a vivid and imaginative picture of the two worlds of Earth and Allyra existing simultaneously, with a connection that can and has changed the condition of the Elven world. Seven teenagers who have been raised as humans are actually Elf lords, who are approaching the Age of Reckoning, when their special powers will manifest themselves. Each of the seven lords is retrieved and returned to Allyra by Elf Sentinels, disguised as teachers and other community members, with the mission of identifying and delivering the lords.
Each of the Elf lords is a unique seventh grader who discovers his or her true identity in a dramatic way. From a musical prodigy to an average student, a girl with blue skin and a football star, this diverse group finds their commonality in an ancient world that desperately needs their help in order to preserve the Elf race. Their special powers have surfaced and they face the task ahead with many uncertainties.
This is not normally the type of book I would choose to read, but I could not put it down and was so glad that we already had a copy of Book Two!
Positives: The character development of each seventh grader in their earthly home is very interesting and realistic. They are very much kids that can be related to, with their various interests and relationships with peers and parents. There is an aspect of a larger purpose behind all of the events, a sense of destiny, much like being part of the body of Christ.
Negatives: There is no obvious gospel message, either in this book or Book Two (Venom and Song)of the series, although Ellos (God) is certainly viewed as a sovereign being with whom one can have a relationship, and the concept of being healed and changed is somewhat addressed (especially in the latter book of the series). Additionally, there are some violent details due to the struggle between good and evil that require a discerning approach.
Talking Points: There are many excellent opportunities for speaking with your child about the different characters, their strengths and weaknesses, perceptions of themselves and those around them, and how reality does not always match what is in our hearts and minds. There is also the concept of being part of a purpose that extends beyond our own simple lives, the willingness and need at times to sacrifice our own desires for the good of others. Of course, there is the obvious and overarching backdrop of the battle between good and evil, and how the evil side (ruled by the Spider King) seeks to destroy that which is good and right with many tactics and strategies.
These are all great lead-ins to discussing about what it means to be part of the Kingdom of God, how He has gifted each of us in His intentional way and with the purpose of these gifts being used for His glory and the good of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12). Also, the numerous places in Scripture that speak of the fear of the Lord being the beginning of wisdom can be applied to having an eternal and spiritual mindset (Col. 3:2). Seen more dramatically in Venom and Song, the cosmic and spiritual battle we face as believers against the limited but real power that Satan has in this world is another truth that our children need to be aware of (Eph. 2:2). Moreover, teaching them that in Christ we have the power to overcome (1 Cor. 15: 56-58) will give them hope.
One of my favorite facets in these book is the weapon with which one can destroy a Wisp (a shape-shifter): the spoken words of Ellos (the Word of God). This shows that God’s Word is living and active and truly powerful (Hebrews 4: 12-13). There are many poetic ways in which this reveals truth about Truth – just one of which is the fact that when this is done, the Wisp (disguised as someone it has killed) is forced to come out of its disguise (a lie) and is clearly seen for what it really is. What an accurate way to view the power of the Word against the power of sin, and how deceptive sin is.
Age Level: 10-14 years old