Friday, September 12, 2014

A Rant of Sorts

Sometimes I just have to wonder what I'm thinking. For most of this past summer, I've been listening to the Left Behind Series mainly because the first book was part of the Tyndale Summer Reading Program. And while it was nice to revisit this series, I see now why I never took the time reading either the prequels or the final one Kingdom Come. The final one came out 7 years ago, and by that point I was already over the series. Especially since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out that year.

This isn't exactly a review per say, it's really more of a rant.

For those who haven't read either the Left Behind Series or this book, here is what this one is about.
Following the years of the Tribulation and Christ's triumphant victory over the Antichrist, Nicolae Carpathia, believers have been reunited with their loved ones. Set during the Millennial Kingdom, Rayford Steele and others who survived are enjoying the peaceful kingdom of Christ on earth. His grandson, Kenny Williams, has grown up and is working with his parents at a child care center. When he is asked to infiltrate a group of dissidents, he agrees. Though he realizes it could very cost him the love of the woman he is in love with. But with lies cast against his character and Kenny's parents and friends doubting him, Kenny must trust in Jesus in a way he never has.

Ok, so that's pretty much the synopsis. This book was not only VERY slow moving, but I felt it wasn't even written by the same people. There is so much wrong with this book. I think I see why I've never actually read it when it came out. I didn't need to know what was going on. I think that the authors decided to capitalize on the success of the series and truly only wrote this for the money.

From my understanding of Scripture, I've always been taught that Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice for our sins and that there is no need to offer the Old Testament sacrifices again. In this book, it appears that life in the kingdom is like the Old Testament times - sacrifices and all - only with Jesus as the ruler of the world.

It has also been my understanding of Scripture (and I admit that I could be completely wrong!) that the Church will need no need for food, drink, sleep, etc during this period. The authors have chosen to make even those who were either Raptured or martyred need food, drink, sleep, etc. The authors have also chosen to make the main characters (Rayford, Irene, Abdullah, Chloe, Cameron, Chaim, Tsion, etc) even those who have glorified bodies be in need of food, drink, sleep, etc.

Also, this book introduces a whole new cast of characters while not even mentioning some of the others (Chang, Leah, Hannah, Naomi, etc). I've also been given the impression that the characters (all of them including those who have been glorifed) still go through the normal human emotions.

There are VERY large pieces of the book are basically retelling pages after pages of the main series. And HUGE passages of nothing but Scripture. I don't mind the characters speaking Scripture, I really don't, but the large amounts of it, specifically within the heroes stories, I found to be very tedious and did nothing to move the plot along.

The action scenes are really few and far between. When there is action, it does move quickly, but I've been bogged down in the rest of the "filler" that I'm like oh There's the story!

After the authors have invested twelve books developing the characters, they (the characters) had depth to them. They also had personalities and I felt like I knew them. Yet in this book, the characters are very flat. These are characters that have been fleshed out since the first book (Rayford, Chaim, Chloe, Cameron, Tsion). I felt really cheated. Here were characters I'd come to really know and love and I'm left with really nothing to them.

There are times when I really liked Kenny. But so much of the interactions with Kenny are juvenile and seem to just be a case of "he said/she said." Once everything was wrapped up with Kenny, what happens to him was almost an afterthought. I expected more. Oh and the ultimate final battle. It was like only a chapter long.

What happened to the thrill ride of an adventure I'd come to enjoy and expect from the Left Behind series? Why did the authors write this book as if it's target audience was between the ages of 10-14? I know that my reading tastes have changed over the years since I first read Left Behind. But even with my reading tastes changing, I can still recognize quality when I read it.

Yes, I forced myself to finish the book, mainly because I'd already invested in the series and I really don't like not finishing books I start.

If I had to recommend this book to someone, I truly wouldn't. I've been left feeling very disappointed in a series I've enjoyed over the years. While I don't feel the same way about this one that I felt about Casual Vacancy by Rowling (I felt really disgusted with that one), this is not one I'd recommend. I'd tell you, reader friends, that just read the 12 books in the main series and don't even waste your time or money on this one.

 The rating I'd give this one is 1.5 stars, which I wouldn't round up at all.

This is my own personal opinion and I received absolutely zero compensation for sharing my thoughts. I'd actually read this book via Audible.

Rant over.

Those who know me, know that I will very rarely go off on a rant like I just did. Because that's just not my personality. But every once in a while, I will need to get something off my chest. This particular post, I'll leave comments available for one week and then lock the comments because I don't want it to turn into a debate.

I will say that Audible gets 5 stars on customer service! I had a problem with the playback on Thursday, and through a series of tweets, I worked with the people at Audible to figure out what I needed to do for the problem. They were very very helpful. And while this was my first time to seek help via Twitter, I was very surprised by the fast response.

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