My Epic: Behold, Album Review

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The Metalcore label, Facedown, has a found a real gem with My Epic, and they’re not even a hardcore band.  I discovered this band through the Christian music website, Indie Vision, and with a sale on Facedown records for $2.99, I took a chance and bought it. What I found is easily one of the best worship albums I have heard in a very long time.

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Jeremy Camp: Reckless, Album Review

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Jeremy Camp is easily one my favourite artists in the CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) genre, with his amazing albums including Stay and Restored. And now, in the beginning of next year, Camp is releasing a new album titled, I Will Follow. So I thought I’d go back and look at his previous record, Reckless, and the musical direction he has taken over the years.

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Sanctus Real: The Dream, Album Review

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If there was one band who has constantly produced good music throughout their career, it would easily be Sanctus Real. The first band I ever called my favourite back in 2010 when Pieces of a Real Heart was released. There has been so much music flooding my ears since then, some of my favourite bands have been put to the side. Sanctus Real isn’t one of those bands. And now with the Dream, I’m pleased to announce that they will continue to be one of my favourites.

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Disciple: Attack, Review

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One band I have been really getting into lately is Disciple. With my first album from them, O God Save us All, I was impressed, but with this newest release, Attack, they’ve taken it to a whole new level. This is Metal at its finest. It isn’t the chugging, hardcore of modern metal, it’s melodic and just outright cool. It’s a hybrid between metal and hard rock, and it works.

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The Violet Burning: The Story of Our Lives: Liebe uber Allies, Black as Death, and the Fantastic Machine, Review

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Welcome to a special post. In fact, this could be the biggest album review I’ve ever written. To begin this incredibly difficult review, I want to talk about the issue of the music industry today. These days we’re so focused on singles, pop hits, and the top forty that we forget everything that comes around it. Today it’s singles, E.P’s or albums that are only meant to carry that single. Rarely does an album demand to be listened to from front to back. And with the rise of itunes and other digital outlets, buying full albums is just an inconvenience when you can just buy the song you hear on the radio. It’s safe and risk free. The Violet Burning are pretty much against that way of music production. To begin the review on a high, hard hitting note, this could be one of the greatest albums I have ever heard.

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Cool Hand Luke: Of Man, album Review

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Rarely does an album move me to tears. This is one of those albums. The final album from Cool Hand Luke, Of Man, recounts the last days of Jesus Christ, often times in stunning detail. It’s told from a different perspective on each song, from Jesus Himself, the Disciples, Mary, and the Guards. From that fact alone, this is an album unlike any other.

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The Dirty Guv’nahs: Hearts on Fire album review

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Let me tell you a story. I was browsing the free music website Noisetrade when I saw one of the top album downloads. It was Hearts on Fire by a band named the Dirty Guv’nahs. Obviously, I didn’t think much of it, and with the fact that they weren’t Christian, shrugged them off. I mostly browse through the Christian category on Noisetrade, and other than the front page, don’t really know what else comes out. Well, there was nothing new in the Christian aisle, so out of boredom, I decided to give Hearts on Fire a listen, since it was only going to be free for two weeks. The first song was Where I stand, so I clicked play and sat back to listen. After three minutes, I was completely blown away, and I don’t take that lightly.

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Brady Toops: Self-titled Album Review

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Worship music and I don’t really get along, basically because most of it, in my opinion, is stale and lifeless. You can just tell when they’re truly worshiping, or if they like to be the spotlight, and just use worship music to get there. Sadly, there are very few worship artists these days that are truly genuine in their devotion to the Lord. And with that stale emotion, comes stale music. I’m sitting here, crying out for the real thing, and not just some live worship record that repeats the same cliched phrases over and over again. Thankfully, my cries have been answered, because indie artist Brady Toops has released his full length debut album, and is it a beauty.

The album begins with By the River, a beautiful opener that lulls you in with Brady’s rich and emotion laden voice, and just by this song alone, I knew I wasn’t getting just another worship artist trying to sound like the next big thing. This guy is genuine, and his music is his own. The music of By the River, and most of this album, makes you feel like you’re in a rich green forest, sitting by the river, stumming softly on your guitar, and worshiping with all your heart.

Along with By the River, Golden Bell adds a good dose of gang vocals into the mix, and it really lifts the song to new heights. The oh-oh’s in the chorus are beautiful, even celestial. This is amplified even more in Lord have Mercy.

Another highlight, Glorious Name, is the celebratory song of the record, and really makes you feel like you’re worshiping with the angels.

Come on Home really highlights Brady’s incredible voice, and brings you to tears in this song about the prodigal son.

I admit, I was a bit skeptical with the inclusion of Swing Low Sweet Chariot, but was interested to see how Brady would carry it out. Again, he takes the song to a new level, and I was blown away, especially with the new bridge, and the ever brilliant gang vocals.

Soon and Very Soon is a cover of the old hymn. A beautiful piece of poetry that is absent of all instruments. With only Brady’s voice, and a small choir backing him up, that’s all this song needs, and it’s a very peaceful moment on the record.

My personal favourite, Make Your Home, has everything a good worship song needs, and more. It has the best buildup of the entire album, and it really pays off in the end.

O For Grace ends the album on the highest note of them all, with the final half of the song completely instrumental, it allows time to think over what you just heard, and offers a beautiful time of personal worship.

The only song I wasn’t fond of from the first listen was Reckless Love, simply because it leaned into the generic territory a bit too much, and it doesn’t quite capture the beauty of the other songs. But, it builds with a triumphant bridge that nearly redeems the entire song. It’s definitely not a bad song, it just fades a little in comparison to the other amazing songs on this record.

Overall, Brady Toop’s self-titled is a true gem of a worship album. Full of rich emotions, faultless melodies and harmonies, and just beautiful music and vocals, this is a must have for any music lover. Fans of up tempo, live worship albums may have to look elsewhere, but for those who want worship and artistry along side each other, Brady Toops easily delivers.

4.5/5

Thousand Foot Krutch: Oxygen:Inhale Review

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TFK has been in the business since the late nineties, and since going independent in 2011, they’ve shown no signs of slowing down. Their first venture into the independent world, The End is Where We Begin, fused all their styles together, from rap, rock, metal, and balladry to produce one of their best albums to date, and today they follow it up with a new two part album series titled, Oxygen.

Part one of the series, Oxygen:Inhale, is the natural follow up to the End, and it takes a different turn from what most fans are used to. Of course we still have the rawk (the TFK term) songs, but they have also taken a more southern rock twist with these songs, and after a quick listen through the samples, a much slower album to what we’re used to. But that doesn’t mean it’s void of any rock, like I said before, half of the album is solid, classic rock and roll, and because it’s TFK, Trevor inserts his signature rap style vocals into the mix, and is especially apparent in Born This Way and Untraveled Road.

The idea of oxygen, Trevor explained, was that we need to not take half breaths, but full breaths. We’re not to just be living day by day like we have forever, but to live everyday like it’s our last. We must take in all God has for us, and leave nothing behind.

Lyrically, what’s most pleasing about this record is that it’s a whole lot more worshipful than previous ventures. Though TFK have always included God clearly in their lyrics, it’s never been so blatant as it is on this record. Over half of the record takes the worship approach, without it ever sounding like a run of the mill worship tune, and it will please most worship fans, including myself! The devotion and love for God Trevor and the boys show on this record is intense, and not since Needtobreathe’s Multiplied have I seen such emotion poured out. Trevor’s voice is simply incredible, and all who have read my review on the Masquerade album, know his is a voice not to be reckoned with. He’s reaching new highs I’ve never heard him reach before, and it’s definitely enough to get the blood pumping.

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So how does Inhale compare to Masquerade, or even the End is Where We Begin or Phenomenon? Let’s have a look.

The album begins with Like a Machine. A song that’s sure to get the blood pumping and the party started. Not deep lyrically, but a fun opener nonetheless.

Untraveled Road is where the album really begins to show it’s spiritual side. A song about walking the path less traveled, the narrow road. Trevor sings in the chorus, “We walk, where no one wants to go, on this untraveled road!” A battle anthem that’s sure to make you want to walk the life of Christ instead of talk it, because, “Light shines brighter in the dark.”

Born This Way is another rocker, but this has a lot more of a classic, southern feel to it that puts a big smile on your face. It’s about being comfortable in your own skin, and not trying to live like someone you aren’t. We’re all God’s children, and each one is unique. We’re all equally loved by God, no matter who we are.

Set Me On Fire is the first worship song on the record, and boy it’s catchy. A pop song at heart, but it still feels like TFK. Simply about God setting us on fire with His love. Not sure if we’ll see it in church, but it would be amazing if it did.

Give It to Me is the final full on rock song on the record, matching the heaviness of Born This Way and Like a Machine. Trevor plays with the high range of his voice magnificently in the verses, and like Born This Way, is just a fun song about God taking our burdens off our shoulders.

I See Red brings it down a notch, but picks up again in the latter half. A fun light rock song about the saving power of the blood of Jesus. In the final half, you just want to sing along as Trevor sings, “We can run, we can hide, but we can’t live without it. It’s the same in us, takes the blame in us.”

Light Up takes a beautiful acoustic turn, and leads the way into the softer half of the record. It displays Trevor’s falsetto perfectly, though at times it does get just a little overbearing. A simple love song that can either be about a romance or as worship to the Lord.

In My Room is lyrically, one of the best TFK songs to date! About a teenager facing abuse from those around him, so he goes into his room, and cries out, “They make me feel so empty, their words they cut like knives. You tell me to forgive them, but I’m not sure I’ll survive. I’m not sure if it’s a good time, or even if you’re home. It’s a long, long way from your throne, but can you meet me in my room?” A tear inducing song, and a must listen.

Oxygen takes a full on worship route, and it does so brilliantly. My personal favourite on the record, it brings chills each time, and is full of God’s presence. Declaring that God is our oxygen, and that we have no life without Him.

Final song, Glow, takes a country turn, and is one of the best on the record, and in my opinion, the perfect closer. It begins with the chilling words, “Today I died in search of you.” Again, so much devotion for the Lord. This song reminds me of the cry of Elisha after Elijah went up in the chariot of fire. He cried for Elijah’s anointing, or nothing. In this song, Trevor sings, “Burn me bright, or let me go, make me stronger on the inside. Hold me tight, or just let go, because I don’t want it if I can’t glow.”

Overall, TFK have definitely passed their last album, and maybe even Welcome to the Masquerade. With half of the album rock, the other half ballads and worship, this is sure to have something for everyone to love, even if you’re not a TFK fan.

I highly recommend Oxygen:Inhale by Thousand Foot Krutch as one of the best albums on the year!

Here’s the album stream if you’re interested: Youtube, thousand foot krutch, oxygen inhale

4.5/5

 

Thousand Foot Krutch: Welcome to the Masquerade, Review

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In celebration for Canadian rockers Thousand Foot Krutch’s new album, Oxygen: Inhale, coming out this Tuesday (one of my most anticipated albums of 2014) I want to look back at, in my opinion, their best album: Welcome to the Masquerade, the Fan Edition, since that is the version I purchased.

This is easily their heaviest record, as it begins with the epic intro, the Invitation. This leads into an explosive album title track opener. It hits with you an adrenaline charged guitar riff that is just epic.

Fire it Up is the pump up song of the record, and really gets the heart beating, with the best vocals from front man Trevor McNevan to date (until the new record comes out that is). A song about being on fire for God, and taking His presence to the streets. This is sure to get your feet moving.

Bring me to Life takes the album into metal territory, with a scream from Trevor, and a fist pumping, anthemic bridge that shouts to the mountains and bridges in our lives, and commands them to “Shut it!”

The album soon slows down after yet another rocker with Watching Over Me, a song about knowing the Lord is with us through every thing we go through.

The Part That Hurts the Most (Is Me), is one of the best, most emotional tracks on the record. It’s pretty tame for the most part, until we get to the bridge, which again finds Trevor screaming his lungs out.

The next ballad is Look Away. A beautiful song about not looking away when God calls us to Him, despite what others may say. This is the first song I ever heard from them, and I still love it five years later.

Forward Motion finds them going down a more pop/rock route, and is one of the most enjoyable on the record.

The album ends with the straight forward worship track, Already Home. This song is absolutely glorious, and if this doesn’t usher you into the throne room I’m not sure what will. Trevor’s voice is amazing, and in the last minute, it’s an amazing experience. You have to listen yourself to know how powerful this track really is.

The bonus tracks aren’t anything really great, except for Take it Out On Me, a song about dealing with anger. The bonus trilogy of tracks begins with the rocker Shook, leads into Take it Out On Me, a heavy pop song (if that’s a thing) and ends with Anyone Else, another ballad about a relationship between two lovers, but can just as easily be about God.

TFK began with a more rapcore style, and have evolved to hard rock and nu-metal over time, and this album straight up rocks. The whole theme of Masquerade is that we sometimes hide ourselves behind masks. Masks of pain and false identity that takes us away from God. It’s a journey of self discovery and salvation that ends with the cry, “I’ve made a mess of myself on my own, and now I’m on my face and I’m calling out your name.”

If there’s one rock album you buy anytime soon, if you haven’t already got it, Thousand Foot Krutch’s Welcome to the Masquerade is an absolute must have. Highly recommended!

4.5/5

Album Review: NEEDTOBREATHE, Rivers in the Wasteland

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Needtobreathe are one of my favourite Christian bands out there, and with five amazing records under their sleeve, there’s good reason. I’m very picky with bands who I choose to be my favourites, but Needtobreathe ranks number one!

Their newest album, Rivers in the Wasteland, has absolutely blown me away. Released back in the beginning of April, I’m still listening to this constantly. It’s that good, and it only gets better each time. An instant classic, and I’ll tell you why.

The album begins with Wasteland, a hauntingly beautiful folk track about the wastelands we find ourselves in, and how there’s always, “A crack in the door filled with light.” It spills with epic hope in the final few seconds, and already sky rockets the album above most others, with just the first track!

The next three songs have more of a country/rock sound to them, especially Feet, Don’t Fail me Now and Oh Carolina. These three tracks are just so fun, and though there’s nothing obviously Christian about them, they’re great tracks to stomp around to!

Needtobreathe take a lot of different musical twists and turns during this record, and nothing ever feels like filler. It can go from rock and roll, to worship, to gospel choirs and banjos! Not once while listening through did I want to skip a song. Each one has its own flavor, and each one is a standout.

Difference Maker is my favourite lyrically. It’s about the damage of ego in a Christian’s life, and how we can call ourselves, “Difference Makers.” A truly convicting song on how we see ourselves. The truth of the song is, we’re not difference makers, and only Christ can change a heart. And when we see ourselves as more than we are, we become lonely and unloved by those around us. It’s when we think we know everything that we really know nothing.

Track seven, the Heart, has become my favourite song of the year, and maybe even the decade. It flows with rich, thick joy that’s beyond toe tapping. And the music video to go along is beautifully excellent. “Long live the heart, long live the soul, that knows what it wants!”

That same joy flows into the next song, Where the Money is. This is a song about not looking for money and riches in life, because “It’s just a tragedy trying to take its toll again.” My brother’s favourite track 🙂

Multiplied can not go without a mention. This is simply one of the most beautiful worship songs written in a long time, and I don’t take that lightly. Absolutely breath taking in every way. Bear’s vocals shine like never before, and each instrument has a stand out point. Second best song, along with the Heart.

The album eventually closes after another brilliant song, Brother, with More Heart Less Attack. A soothing ballad about being more loving in life. No room for judgment here! Pure poetry with a beautiful melody, and it brings the album to a close just as powerfully as it began.

Overall, Rivers in the Wasteland is easily one of the top five albums of this year, and I doubt anything else will pass it, but if something does, I’ll review it straight away! But if you pass this, you’ll be missing one of the best albums of the decade, and it leaves you with hope that there’s always a river in the wasteland.

4.5/5

God Bless.

 

T.L. Hines, Waking Lazarus, Review

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T.L. Hines is a very unknown author in the Christian fiction world, yet I can’t see why. I just finished his debut novel, Waking Lazarus, and I have to say, what a novel!

The story is about a man named Jude Allman, who has died three times, and each time has risen back to life. He can’t figure out the reason for this, and soon he ends up changing his identity and becomes a janitor to avoid the press who wants to use him for their own healing.

Soon he gets visited by a girl named Kristina, claiming that he’s something special and has been called by the Lord. Since Jude wasn’t a Christian, it was hard to accept this so he wrote her off as just another fan trying to get healing.

But soon he begins to get visions and he tastes copper just before someone dies. It begins with a guy who gets run over, then a nurse who was about to commit suicide. The visions get creepier as the story progresses, and soon he finds himself rescuing two children from a child kidnapper.

It’s then where things get scary. Jude, the Chief of police, Odum, and Jude’s partner, Rachel, embark on the most dangerous mission of their lives.

The twists in the end will leave you shocked, and they were definitely something I didn’t see coming!

Waking Lazarus is a brilliant thriller/horror novel about God’s perseverance in our lives. It shows that nothing can stop His plans, not even death, as seen when Jude gets hit by lightening, drowns in freezing water, and freezes inside a car.

The content is pretty soft for a novel of this kind. It does get violent, but nothing a young teenager couldn’t handle. Jude dies several times, and gets chased by a man with an ax. Children are seen being held captive in cages, one is chained to a bed and several are stuffed in bags while unconscious, a woman gets shot in the head, and a car falls off a cliff.

I highly recommend Waking Lazarus by T. L. Hines for fans of thriller and horror in the same vein as Peretti and Dekker. And other than a few scenes of violence, there is nothing else you need to worry about,so it’s quite clean. I’d recommend twelve and over, but I doubt they would understand what’s happening; even I didn’t get it at times, and I found a few scenes to be a bit strange.

But overall, Waking Lazarus is a fine testament to God’s faithfulness.

4.5/5

God Bless!

Frank Peretti, The Visitation, Book and film review

The Visitation Novel Review

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Christian fiction legend, Frank Peretti. is an absolute master of the thriller/horror genre. With over twenty books under his belt, including children’s and young adult’s, he’s impacted the world with his tales of spiritual warfare. His fifth adult book, the Visitation is no exception. This book was also adapted into film so I’ll review both. First, the novel.

The Visitation is a complicated story, basically because it has so many characters it’s nearly impossible to keep up. The story is about a burned out minister named Travis Jordan whose wife died of cancer (Don’t worry, that’s not a spoiler). It then goes on to this mysterious man who enters the town of Antioch. He performs miracles in the same vein as Jesus Christ. Eventually this man builds such a following that nearly the whole town believes he’s the messiah who’s come again in the flesh. All except Travis Jordan, the new minster, Kyle Sherman, and the former minster, Morgan Elliott. Eventually other’s join the action, but that’s not until later.

The story is two fold. Not only is it about a false Christ deceiving the town, but it’s also about Travis Jordan’s journey to becoming a minster. Over half of this 520 page book is a flashback going through Travis Jordan’s life from teenager to minister. He and his wife travel to every kind of pentecostal church imaginable, and just about every one is crazy.

The story has a lighter feel than his others, but the dark atmosphere is still there. Throughout the book Peretti makes fun of the pentecostal’s crazy ways, such as walking around yelling out in tongues, and their obsession with money. It’s pretty hilarious how they act sometimes. I nearly fell out of my chair laughing at one point!

The flashback’s are a story in themselves. It goes from him finding a job, falling in love, then being dumped, then falling in love again, then getting married, then finding the best church to serve in….. It goes on for a very long time, and it will bore impatient readers quickly. I for one, was not bored with it at all! Who gets bored of romance? 🙂 Anyway, as good as the flashback scenes were, he could’ve cut a good load out without deterring from the story.

Throughout the story of the false Christ, Peretti goes to warn about the dangers of following signs and wonders, which I mentioned in my last post. These signs lead to a big spiritual deception, and by the third half, things get pretty disturbing and scary. It was interesting to see how the church reacted to a messiah in the flesh, and it wasn’t pretty.

Content wise there’s nothing in the first two thirds you need to worry about. The first two thirds are really a drama, and the suspense doesn’t come in until the last third. That’s where it takes on the horror role, and all the violence is packed into that last half. It gets very disturbing at times, for example, there’s a story about a young boy being crucified to a fence, possessed people act crazy and start beating people, and demons are actually visible inside homes, so it gets very scary. At one scene a very young girl is murdered by a demon in a very gruesome manner. That is the worst scene in the book, but it’s only a fleeting moment.

Overall though, this is one of Peretti’s masterpieces! It’s written so well and it flows so smoothly that it feels like you’re actually there with the characters! Reading this it’s evident that Peretti is the king of Christian fiction!

5/5

The Visitation, film review.

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This film adaption of Peretti’s novel is hard to describe. At one point it sticks pretty close to the book in the essential story, on another it strays pretty far in details. Such as the death of Travis’ wife in the beginning. That’s the major change.

The film, to me, has much more of a darker tone than the book, and it’s not afraid to call itself a horror film. It’s a typical Christian film really: Bad quality, mediocre acting, and rushed story line. The characters are not how I pictured them in the book at all! The girl Travis marries in the end is a Christian in the book, but in the film she isn’t. That was a sad change.

Story wise it is an abridged version of the book, and leaves more out than it changes. The flashbacks are not even evident in this film, and I was very disappointed in that since the flashbacks contain some of the very best scenes from the book.

Content wise the film is rated M (Australian rating) and doesn’t really have anything objectionable in it. Violence is pretty minimum, there’s nothing sexual, there’s no language, which is a great change for this type of film. The objectionable stuff is in the tone of the film. It’s pretty scary, so it’s not suitable for twelve years and under. Young teenagers won’t have a problem. The possession scenes are poorly done as well, and are more comical than scary.

Overall this film was a disappointment, though not a complete failure. In the end the Bible is what saves, so it’s Christian message is pretty strong.

2.5/5

I must take note that this book and film are not for the unbeliever. They will think Christian’s are a bunch of crazies if they read or watch it. It’s obviously written for Christian’s alone and is not for evangelical use.

Anyway I highly recommend the Visitation by Frank Peretti in it’s novel form. Skip the film. It may not be the happiest story ever written, but it certainly opens eyes!

William Sirls, the Reason, Review

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Hi readers, thought I’d do a review of one of my favourite books, The Reason, by William Sirls.

“Only Believe.” That’s a main caption of the story, and sums up story in one sentence. Let me elaborate.

The story is complex and involves several characters all centered around one anchoring object that holds the story together, a cross. It begins with a bang as a bolt of lightening strikes the cross in half. It’s then this mysterious carpenter appears in town and begins to do things that aren’t normal. Who is this guy? That’s for you to find out.

The characters involve a mother whose son is diagnosed with leukemia, a doubting doctor whose past haunts him, an alcoholic who is on the verge of suicide, and a blind pastor with a retarded son.

The story revolves around the cross being mysteriously repaired by the carpenter and things escalate down from there. When I say down I don’t mean bad, I mean depressing.

This whole story is very depressing and deals mostly with a child’s slow death. Those who don’t like sad stories will definitely not like this one. I myself could hardly read the last quarter due to its dark and depressing story line.

(Major spoiler alert.)

If you are worried about the ending and questioning if it ends on a hopeful level, don’t worry. In the end the stranger appears at the church where the boy’s mom is crying. He’s holding the boy’s hand and the mother and son unite for a happy ending.

(End of spoiler)

Overall this is an amazing book about faith and the broken human condition. Though it isn’t without its flaws. First off the writing isn’t the best I’ve read, it’s just average. The story at times was very similar to the Joshua novel by Joseph F. Girzone, and at times it moves very slow. The last 150 pages are nearly entirely set in a hospital and seem to stretch forever. There are quite a lot of characters, but compared to Peretti’s novels it isn’t much.

So now I’ll deal with the content: Spoilers may follow.

Violence: There are a few scenes at a bar where characters beat each other up. A girl jumps off a bridge but we later see that she is okay. The whole story is about a boy with cancer so that may be regarded as violence.

Language: None.

Sex: None, except for one scene where a girl wakes in a married man’s house with a vomit stain on her shirt. The daughter of the man comes in and says “You shouldn’t have kissed Daddy. Only Mommy can kiss Daddy.”

There is nothing objectionable in this book, but it isn’t for everyone. Even though the ending portrays hope, it dwells so much on hopelessness that the writer could’ve cut a good 50 pages or more out easily without effecting the story. So in the end, I’d highly recommend this incredible story by William Sirls, with some slight caution due to upsetting scenes.

4/5 stars.

Ted Dekker, The Priest’s Graveyard, Review.

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Hi readers. I just finished reading the Priest’s Graveyard by Ted Dekker and thought I’d do a quick review for any who would like to read it. I’ll try not to reveal spoilers, and if I do I’ll warn you 🙂

Okay, so what it is about? Well, if you’re confused by the title and think it’s a haunted graveyard story, you’re wrong. In fact an actual graveyard never makes a single appearance. The Priest’s Graveyard is a metaphorical title. To understand it you need to understand what the story is about.

The story is about injustice. It’s about this priest named Danny Henson who, when he was sixteen, witnessed the death and rape of his sisters and mother. Eventually he shot the soldiers who killed his family, and it was then that he took on the “calling” of killing every sicko out there. Everyone who hurts others, he inflicts those same punishments on them, and at times it gets disturbingly gory.

Meanwhile a lone girl named Renee Gilmore was fleeing in the streets from her captor, Cyrus, who had abused her. To make her life even more dreadful she also had an addiction to heroin.

Soon, a man named Lamont Myers rescues her and takes her in and takes care of her. He helps her grow stronger and escape her addiction with help from other medications and drugs. Eventually they fall in love and marry.

I won’t give away Lamont’s details because it’s a major twist in the end.

Soon Lamont is killed, and Renee makes it her objective to kill the man who killed her lover, Johnathon Bourque. Soon Danny and Renee cross paths and what happens through the remaining pages is an exciting thrill ride with many twists and turns. And yes, Danny and Renee eventually fall in love as he helps her go after Johnathon Bourque.

(Spoiler Alert)

At the end Danny and Renee realize that everyone is guilty, not only the ones who hurt others. They realize God’s grace and mercy and learn that we shouldn’t judge others. The Scripture that’s echoed throughout is, “Judge not lest thou be judged.” We shouldn’t judge others in our sight and determine who is guilty of death or not, because we all are. So in a nutshell that’s the message and story behind it.

(Spoiler end)

Be warned, this isn’t a book for younger readers. I’ll go through the content on the bottom, it may contain spoilers.

Violence: Lost of disturbing murders done in a horrific way, but it’s not constant. That being said, the times it does come are very shocking and may deter the sensitive readers. For example a man gets cut up in pieces, lots of people are shot, and a man gets his tongue cut off while in a drugged sleep. Yep, pretty disgusting, but it’s all done with very little description.

Language: Since it’s a Christian book cursing is absent. The characters do call others names like idiot, but that’s as far as it goes.

Sex: None in action, lots of past references, and a girl is threatened sexually once. A lot of references to rape and sexual abuse, but it’s only past references and nothing is seen in action. Passionate kissing in multiple scenes.

Drugs: Again, nothing taken in action, but a lot of references to Heroin since the main character was addicted by it.

Overall this obviously isn’t a kids book, so I’d recommend years fifteen and over, and only then with caution. But despite all the violence, this is an amazing book with a great message. Yes, there are evil people who deserve death, but we’re all just as guilty. We all put Jesus on that cross, that’s the worst offence anyone could commit, and yet He did it to save us anyway.

That’s grace.

3.5/5 stars.