Review: “Sudden Mission” by Guy L. Pace

Sudden Mission by Guy L. Pace. Vox Dei Publishing. 198 pages.

Once again I find myself reviewing a book from the Christian speculative fiction thread of Goodreads. Authors and reviewers there agreed to read, critique and review each others books. It’s been a good opportunity for me to meet and see some new and exciting Christian authors and some not so good. This one falls somewhere in the middle.

Here is the Amazon description for Sudden Mission:

Satan, once one of God’s favorites, now His Adversary, grows impatient with the plan and begins to harvest souls. In a fell swoop, he throws reality out of whack and the world into chaos. God calls on Paul and his friends Amy and Joe to set things right. The young teens journey through a messed up world—with a little help from an angel—struggling against everything the Adversary can throw in their path to accomplish their Sudden Mission. With their world and their parents’ lives hanging in the balance—and the Adversary sending everything from zombies to Samurais to stand in their way—Paul will discover if he has the strength and faith to set things right again and stop Satan’s harvest.

This is an unusual YA book, which is fine. It’s filled with plenty of action and excitement. Readers follow high schooler Paul and his friends Amy and Joe across the United States as they avoid all kinds of obstacles on a quest to “set things right,” according to Angel Gabriel. Their challenges range from black fog and white fog to invisible domes that cover cities to zombies, four-foot aliens in flying saucers to samurais. That action keeps you going and might be enough for many YA readers.

But the first hurdle is, of course, the major suspension of disbelief. Not only does the reader need to accept the fact that Satan would recruit zombies, aliens and samurais to fight for him, but that in all the world three high schoolers would be recruited to travel from North Carolina to Montana to right this wrong. It’s the stuff of fantasy and more specifically, video games, and at one point, the story diverts into an RPG where Paul and Amy become characters. I would have had an easier time of this storyline if there had been a more reasonable explanation for why this all happened. But the answer is simply, Satan decided not to play by the rules anymore. Had there been a more plausible explanation, I might have had an easier time buying into the story.

The second hurdle I had was that there were many external obstacles, but I didn’t really see any internal ones. I would have loved to see some character development by Paul and his friends. This coming-of-age, chosen-to-save-the-world story typically includes some self doubt or growth on the part of the main character, but I didn’t find that here, and that was disappointing. It would have made the story a lot richer.

One big plus was that the book was very well edited, and I didn’t find any typos whatsoever, which is unusual. I just wish the story had a little more depth.

I give it four stars out of five.