Review: “Kingdom Come” by Justin Coogle

Kingdom Come by Justin Coogle. Amazon Digital Services. 406 pages.

This is the second book that I have read and reviewed as a result of a thread I joined on Goodreads directed at those who write Christian speculative fiction. While the first book was a bit of a disappointment, this one was a pleasant surprise. Here is the Amazon description:

It has been 5 years since Pope Quintus replaced the late Pope and shook the world by forming the DH, Vatican City’s new demon hunting division, changing spiritual warfare forever. The Swiss guard have been replaced by three elite warriors, the Trinitarians. Exuberant funds have been funneled into their weapons division, Section 12. Their new intelligence unit, the Oracles, locate demons with unprecedented accuracy for first strike advantage. All these come together to support the heart and soul of the DH, the very demon hunting teams who hit the ground and take the fight to the enemy.

But Jason Collins is struggling to find his place on his own team, Team Joshua, let alone be the life force of the DH. He doesn’t have the impeccable talent and skill of Maria, the wisdom and faith of Michael, or the courage and cunning of their team leader Rodrick. In his desperate attempts to prove himself worthy to himself and his team, Jason now teeters on the edge of expulsion. But when Team Joshua encounter a pair of witches in a demonic graveyard, Jason discovers a plot set by the ancient demon lord Baal that would change the world order.

Jason must wrestle with his failure, friends, and faith to save the Church and the world there after.

KINGDOM COME puts everything on the line and throws its readers into a faith-fueled supernatural adventure unlike any before.

So it’s very clear early on that Kingdom Come deals with demon hunters. In fact, the tone of the book relies somewhat heavily on anime and the movie Van Helsing. There’s plenty of action, and yet there is a surprising amount of spiritual flavor as well. Here is my review, section by section:

Theme: The idea that a new pope arrives and immediately calls for a division of demon hunters raises a lot of questions, as it did in the story, and I wondered early on if the author should have given a reason why the pope called for the division. But the story explains it later on. In fact I found that a lot of the questions I had early on were eventually answered in the story.

Characterization: This is one area that I thought some more work could have been done. The story starts off being told from the perspective of Jason Collins, and you get the idea that the story is about him. But halfway through the story it switches viewpoint to others within his team so we can see what is happening to them. Because those characters haven’t been developed as much as Jason was up to that point, I felt that the story was a bit incomplete. I felt the story would have been stronger if the author would have gone back to the first few chapters and strengthened the characterization of the other main characters as well as shown the story from their point of view.

Spirituality: At first, I felt that it was going to be a Christian version of Ghostbusters, merely jumping all over the globe to kill demons. But as the story progressed, spirituality became a larger issue in the story, specifically the issue of idolatry in all its forms. In many of the issues, including spirituality and characterization, I felt like the story grew better as it went along, as if the author was finding his writing legs more and more with each page. In addition, there were several places where I felt the book needed more proofreading.

But my quibbles are minor compared to the positive discovery of finding an exciting adventure story that is also strongly spiritual and actively Christian. It’s got some violence, some minor swearing, and might not be for everyone. But it also has a great spiritual message that I think many readers would benefit from.

I give it four and a half stars out of five.