Zealot Finale: Book One by Jason K. Bailey. Independently Published on Amazon
This was another book in the thread of Christian speculative fiction authors on Goodreads that I belong to, and the good news is: this one was completely different than the last. My best definition of this book is a cross between Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy crossed with manga. Here’s the Amazon summary:
At a young age, Chen Qiao lost everything but his faith.
When the dark dealings of the wicked rulers of the Earth create a planetary conflict, innocent people are forced to evacuate their home world and seek refuge on the friendly planet of Terra-Nuli. Qiao, now alone, is hurled into the arms of his godfather, a godly and faithful overseer of young souls.
In time, Qiao discovers he possesses exceptional abilities that defy explanation. But as he grows older and his eyes settle on the world around him, his focus shifts from Christ to his fears–and through fear, he stumbles, revealing the deception and wickedness of his own heart. Soon, dark forces from the past begin to prey upon him, revealing the origin of his abilities, but also a desire to misuse them.
What are the depths of a man’s depravity?
And how far will God pursue someone to save them?
Zealot Finale is a three-part series that uses a science fiction and fantasy setting to tell its story–a parable with parallels to reality, designed to encourage readers to be zealous for the things of God.
This is rich world-building, and the author says right up front that this is book one in a series. So be prepared for a lot of very alien stuff, lots of characters, and myriad storylines. Bailey knows his universe, and does a good job of setting up the story world. He also has a talent for dialogue, although I found aliens talking just like twenty-something humans a little disconcerting. If you like Douglas Adams, you’ll be right at home here.
What I did find problematic were the storyline or lines. The author thankfully starts with an extensive explanation of what had happened in the world up to this, and how the earth had basically destroyed itself, only to be saved by a coalition of alien races. Then they wound up influencing the aliens a lot more than they should have. After that, the story begins in earnest. Trouble is, I had a hard time following it, with multiple characters, multiple storylines and multiple races that acted and talked all the same. I confess that I was confused a lot of the story.
But as I said many times in Douglas Adams’ books, “We don’t know where we’re going, but we’re having fun getting there!”
If you like stories with alien races, especially with a Christian flair, I recommend this book. Be aware that it’s book one, and you might need to read on to really understand the story. Just be patient.
I give it three and half stars out of five.