“…a sudden, sun-bright glow burst from inside Jeremy, turning him white-hot to look at, fading as quickly as it came. Jeremy shaded his eyes and glanced at the sun, wondering if the sudden light came from a sunspot or something.”
In this passage from the opening to Kathryn Dahlstrom’s new work, Children of Angels, the life of thirteen-year-old Jeremy Lapoint changes forever. With his father in prison and his mother battling to make ends meet, the hope and joy that Jeremy once knew have vanished. His peace is also robbed by the hateful remarks of bullies like Sid Lundahl, Chad, and others at Anoka, Minnesota, Middle School. He is altogether too accustomed to hearing himself called, “the son of the sleaze ball.” However, on the day that Ms. Dahlstrom’s readers first meet Jeremy, something is different. It is as if some long dormant part of him has been roused by the taunts and jeers of the bullies. He suddenly has the urge to stand up, to fight back, and to…fly. With a leap and a bound he soars through the air – half terrified, half ecstatic – like a teenaged Superman. It is only later at school – when he is chased by a vicious demon and rescued from the seeming peril by his guardian angel, Asiel – that Jeremy realizes his “superpowers” operate on a level entirely different from Superman’s. Asiel informs him that he is a Nephilim – part human and part angel – connected to the “heroes of old” described in Genesis chapter six.
Asiel, however, does not reveal the entire history of the Nephilim to the newly enlightened Jeremy. Instead, he responds to his ward’s frenzied questions, saying: “Seek the truth at the proper time – and the One who gives it. The angel in your kind longs to serve Him. The human … has a fight on his hands.” These words signal the beginning of Jeremy’s journey: his search for the truth about himself, his quest for the faith he has never known, and his pursuit of the peace that transcends understanding. His early steps along this road take him to the Higher Humanity Institute – a school for children who share Jeremy’s special powers, headed by “commandant” Louisa Prouse. But, the school is literally crawling with demons that only Jeremy can see. Daunting questions begin to swirl through his mind. Why is the presence of evil so strong at a school for the children of angels? Why do none of the other pupils know about the Nephilim? What will be the outcome of what Asiel dubs “the war for truth”?
The world Kathryn Dahlstrom has created within the pages of Children of Angels is an epic battleground pitting good against evil, truth against falsehood, and faith against doubt. In the midst of the action, some of the most pressing questions that may arise in the minds of men are examined:
“Where was God when they took my aunts to the gas chambers?”; “Why had Dad made drugs more important than Mom, Dana, and his son?”; “Do you really love me, Lord Jesus?”The writing style is both gripping and entertaining – aimed at young people, but appealing to readers across the age spectrum. The intensity of the action is enjoyably tempered with the type of lightheartedness and banter that only well-crafted characters in their early teens can provide. Also, the imagery that Ms. Dahlstrom uses is remarkably solid – the scenes vividly playing across the picture screen of the reader’s imagination. In fact, it would be wonderful if this story was adapted for the silver screen, bringing a fresh mixture of faith, fantasy, mystery, and excitement to movie-goers who crave what the back cover of the book calls, “adventure with a life-changing message.”
[A special thanks to guest blogger Anna Gant for this review of Children of Angels! Also thanks to WinePress Publishing for this first book in the exciting New Nephilim series.]