After years of relentless bullying, teenager Joseph Harris is close to despair. When he is assaulted at school on his sixteenth birthday, both his teachers and parents ignore his pleas for help. Seeing no other choice, he takes his own life to end his misery. Expecting to be damned to Purgatory, Joe awakens in Limbo where he is offered the chance of redemption. He is tasked to save the soul of an innocent child, one at the centre of a battle between God and the Devil. At stake, the souls of all the Lost Youth, the bullied children who have taken their own lives and are damned to Hell.
As the child grows, the Forces of Hell send their top General to torment the boy, to drive him to follow Joe’s fate, while Joe combats the threat with his own growing power and understanding of the Ethereal World. Finding allies and enemies in unusual forms, Joe struggles to keep the child from falling into the hands of Satan and his Demon host as they seek to capture the Soul Key, an entity which is blocking their entry back into Heaven.
As Angels, Fallen Ones and Demons gather, the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy lead the celestial forces to battle “FOR THE LOST SOUL.”
“A bittersweet fantasy pitting good against evil”
I received a review copy in exchange for a non-reciprocal review, which means I didn’t read this book because it is the sort of thing I usually read. Nevertheless, I was deeply moved by Joe, the main character, and Adam, the boy he is charged to protect. There are a lot of very good people in this story who captured my heart, and more than once their struggles brought tears to my eyes. I was even captivated by a little blue demon. But I’m afraid I couldn’t keep straight all of the demons and angels or follow their complex rules of engagement. Also, even though I know there are evil people in the world, plus many fairly ordinary people who do evil things because of peer pressure or fear of what will happen to them if they don’t go along, I found the evil characters in this book to be extreme, possibly because they’re all possessed by various henchmen of Lucifer. For me the fantasy and the extreme nature of the evil characters over-simplified some of the very real issues dealt with here, abuses in foster care, sexual slavery, and the torments some children face from their families and peers. Due to this simplification and since the main character is a teenager, maybe the book should be called YA. The writing is very smooth, but the book could use better proofing. The reader often has to provide a missing word, or ignore an out of place word, to make sense of the sentences.
Having said all this, I definitely enjoyed the book as I followed Joe through his trials, always rooting for him. The author creates vivid scenes and a lot of suspense as well as the many strong sympathetic characters. Anyone who is looking for Christian fantasy will probably enjoy it even more than I did.