Last Light (A Restoration Novel) by Terri Blackstock. Zondervan Books. 400 pages.
It’s always refreshing to find another Christian author who is trying to accomplish what I’m in the middle of doing; that is, writing secular stories that include Christian themes or characters. In this situation, I came across Terri Blackstock while I was stocking up on e-books before Shelly and I head off for an Alaska cruise (yeah, poor me) next weekend. Funny thing was, Shelly and I had the same book listed on our wish lists, which clinched the deal for me.
Terri Blackstock has published over six million secular books over the years for a variety of publishers, but at the peak of her popularity decided to commit to Christian publishing. This book does a good job of raising the speculative question of what would we do if all our electricity disappeared? and then following that up by telling the story of one Birmingham, Alabama family that was faced with the very problem.
The dilemma she presents is worldwide, and goes to everything electrical. She does a good job of not trying to explain it, but letting readers wonder about it and letting it gradually unfold just as the people living in the situation would have to learn about it. The story starts with father Doug Branning and daughter Deni stepping off the airplane in Birmingham just moments before all the power goes out and planes start falling from the sky. They make their way–riding a bike and walking–to the home miles away and join the rest of the family where everyone has to muddle through the next few days trying to figure out how to wash, how to get clean water to drink, where to find food, and multiple other things we take for granted.
Blackstock is an accomplished writer, and she does a great job of creating a family with inherent conflict, and yet there is inherent, plausible love here too. Her character development and personality conflict is probably what I see that she does best. Where I see this story is possibly lacking is intensity. I don’t see the desperation that I would anticipate happening in this situation. Confusion? Yes. But I’m waiting for a feeling of apocalypse to hit in this story, and maybe it’s still too early for that.
Blackstock has decided to take the high road in presenting her story, and for some Christian writers, that means lowering the intensity level. On the other hand, I have some of my own colleagues say my writing is too violent (what I would consider intense). And there are some murders, some dead bodies, etc. in this story, so it isn’t totally sanitized. But once again, maybe the intensity will increase as the series continues. This is after all, book one of four books.
To sum it up, this is a well written, although I considered a little flat, Christian suspense book. I give it four stars out of five.