Thursday, May 22, 2008

Arena - the book by Karen Hancock....a rave review!

I just finished reading Arena by Karen Hancock.  What a superb book!  She is a Christian author who writes Christian Science Fiction/Fantasy books.  Arena is the first book she wrote.  She has also written four others in a series titled The Guardian King Series. (Also excellent books.)

Arena is truly an amazingly, well-written book.  It is thrilling, intriguing and addictive!  Seriously, both Sam and I can't stop thinking about it.  We both wish we could still be reading it.  The plot is well thought out and the characters extensively developed.  Her writing style is such that you really do feel like you are right there alongside the characters experiencing everything they are; very vivid.  Its almost tangible.  Here's the teaser on the back cover of the book:

“Hancock’s intense debut is an excellent…edgy contribution to the genre…”
~Publisher’s Weekly

A 2003 Christy Award Winner!

“The genuinely enthralling mix of adventure, romance, and vivid imagery fused with spiritual symbolism invites readers to lose themselves in Hancock’s imaginary world… engrossing and well-paced.
~Christianity Today

Plagued by fear and disillusionment, Callie Hayes volunteers for a psychology experiment that promises to turn her life around. Unnerved by the mounting evasiveness of the research workers, however, she soon changes her mind and asks to be released from the project. To her horror, the workers refuse, dropping her instead into a terrifying alien world amidst an ongoing battle between good and evil. With limited resources and only a few cryptic words to guide her, she embarks on a journey that will change her life forever. Will she decipher the plans the Benefactor has established for her escape, or will she succumb to the deception of the Arena?

“In evangelical fiction’s best science fiction of the year, Hancock works out a progression of faith by trial somewhat like Pilgrim’s Progress. But she departs from the conventions of allegory to draw her characters in depth, and the flora and fauna of her arid alien landscape are carefully thought through." ~Booklist Top Ten Christian Novels 2002

"A classic in the making for the modern era.” ~ Library Journal

She really has incorporated all areas of interest in her books.  There is romance, action, adventure, science fiction/fantasy, and a core Christianity base.  The thing that has continually kept my mind thinking over her books is the way she depicts spiritual warfare and power.  I don't know if I can do justice in explaining this thoroughly, but I will try.  Where for us in this world God gives us strength and power to overcome and live victoriously in our everyday life and also gives us the power to combat the devil and his little minions, in her books its much more tactile and corporeal.  Where we gird our loins with truth, put on the breastplate of righteousness, a helmet of salvation, shod our feet with the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace, take up the shield of faith and sword of the Spirit (Word of God)- Ephesians 6:14-17, in her book the characters have these things, but they are actual articles of clothing or actual weapons that work in conjunction with how little or great their faith and relationship to their Creator is.  Its just amazing.  It makes me think of how it might possibly be to be in the actual presence of God in the Throne Room in Heaven.  Kind of like a wistful longing for our real Home. :)  Its such an exciting prospect.  Don't get me wrong, when God wants His works and power to be manifest in a tangible, physical way, He absolutely can and will do it.  The Bible has plenty of examples of the lame walking, the blind seeing, the dead rising, people being physically healed of all manner of illness.  People are still recipients of God's miracles in this way today.  The thing is even though the spiritual battle that is being waged between Good and evil is indeed evidenced in the physical realm, if you will, the root of it all is in the spiritual realm.  It all comes down to do you submit to God or don't you?  Do you live your life according to His will or your own?  Do you have a personal heart transforming relationship with the Savior, Jesus the Christ or do you have a head knowledge of Him and think that's enough?   The state of your spiritual journey with or without God, the renewal of your spirit, heart and mind via His strength and power, love and goodness or the lack of it all starts on the inside and presents itself in what you say, think and in your actions (outward verification).  The best evidence of a changed life is a changed life as our friend and pastor Ebb is fond of saying.  So back to what I was saying about the spiritual war being very physical in Karen Hancock's books....hopefully, you'll read them and then let me know what YOU think.  I would love to hear all about it.  If I get enough of a response, I'll make a response post about it with the entire collection of responses I get.  I have put the link in the Excellent Books and Movies I Recommend and Links to Them column to the right of my blog page. I will make the link available here, too.:)  I've also put links to the other books Karen Hancock has written.  There are three ways to order them:  Edenstar Books and Games, Christian Book Distributors or .  If you click on the link to her website for Arena or any of her other books, there is a place you can click to order from one of these places.  I got Arena as well as the last book in The Guardian King Series off of .  Though I've read the first three books in the series, we borrowed them from family and so intend to order them as well.  (Trust me all of them will be read and re-read!)

By the way, she is working on her latest book and according to her, she thinks she might be almost finished.  I encourage you to read her blog:  Writing From the Edge. She goes into her writing processes and its really very interesting.  Also, here is the link to her bio where you can find out more about how she came to be a Christian and also how she got started on writing books.  Very cool stuff.

Okay, that's all for now.  I would really love to hear what you think about her stuff.  Let me know.:)

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