Author: Jerel Law
Series: Son of Angels - Jonah Stone
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Jonah Stone is a somewhat-below-average kid, struggling to keep his grades up and avoid getting picked on at school. His dream is to make the basketball team, but after the first day of tryouts, the coach pulls him aside and tells him rather bluntly that 'basketball's not your sport'. Devastated, Jonah walks out to the soccer field and asks God why he's not good at anything, and can't God please do something to help him? Out of frustration Jonah kicks a nearby soccer ball... and sends it flying hundreds of yards. When he gets home he tells his dad, who hands him a football, which he then throws hundreds of yards. He's able to do the same thing with a baseball.
That's when Jonah's parents decide that it's time to tell him the truth: he's not fully human. His mother is in fact a nephilim, the daughter of a human and a fallen angel, making Jonah one quarter angel. The nephilim in the Bible became famous, mighty warriors; the nephilim today apparently share the same superhuman abilities. Suddenly Jonah is a different person - from standing up to the bullies at school to embarking on a mission a few days later to rescue his mother after she is abducted by fallen angels.
I was extremely disturbed by the content of this book, mainly because it is intended for young children - the main character Jonah is thirteen. This is not something I would want my children reading, for several reasons.
Reason #1 - In Spirit Fighter, Jonah is something of a loser until his 'angel powers' kick in. Then suddenly he's the strongest, fastest kid around. If this is the kind of fiction we're giving our kids to read, how long will it be until a kid who has just flunked a math test or failed to make the football team starts thinking 'Man, if only I was part angel'?
Yes, the nephilim are real beings whose existence is recorded in the Bible, and they did become mighty warriors. Yes, fallen angels really did have offspring by human women. But on no level is this normal or okay, and we should not be 'normalizing' it by writing modern children's fiction about it. Why would we want our children even thinking about things like that, anyway? The Bible makes it clear that the days of the nephilim were dark days, when the thoughts of man's heart were only evil continually.
Reason #2 - I am not convinced that Jerel Law's portrayal of parenthood in this story is biblical. I'm a writer, so I do understand that the parents frequently have to be moved out of the way in order for the children to be able to have their big adventures; that being said, in Spirit Fighter, Jonah's mom is kidnapped and the task is apparently something that a fully human person can't do, so Jonah's dad is forced to sit at home against his wishes, doing nothing while Jonah and his sister are sent to rescue their mom with their angel powers. Seriously? That's pushing it, folks.
Reason #3 - I don't like the attitude the author takes towards spiritual warfare. Yes, I absolutely believe in a spiritual realm and spiritual battles being waged around us. I believe that humans are occasionally called to play active roles in these spiritual battles, and sometimes humans are even given glimpses into the spiritual realm. And I believe that God gives us whatever strength we need to do what He wants us to do. But Jerel Law's portrayal of this - Jonah's sister throwing up a 'force field' around them when they're in danger, an enemy with an opposing force field that saps her strength, a bow and arrows that just materialize when needed - is way too flippant, more like a video game than serious spiritual battle.
Kids do not need to be reading books that are going to make them think spiritual warfare is no big deal ("I'll just say a little prayer, throw up a force field, take down a demonic cougar with a shovel, and it'll all be good, right?"). I understand that this is fiction, but it is fiction written about real spiritual matters - matters that are not something to be toyed with or taken lightly. Yes, even faith as small as a mustard seed is enough to do wondrous things - but the spiritual war going on around us is not something we should be taking as lightly as it is taken in this book.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.