Thursday, April 4, 2013

Eternal Warriors: The War in Heaven: Book One

Eternal Warriors: The War in Heaven, book one in the Eternal Warriors series by Theodore Beale, is an older book (published in 2002), but still has plenty of appeal, particularly for the video-game playing, teen set. Christopher Lewis is misunderstood, picked on, and lonely. Although he gets along with his sister, Holli, he constantly fights with his other sister, Jami. Little does he know, a battle is being waged in Heaven and he has been chosen to play an important part.

When Christopher's guardian angel, Mariel, is lured away from Christopher's home, a mysterious stranger visits Christopher in his bedroom. Kaym is disturbing, but appealing at the same time. Kaym's promises of power and importance prove enough to overcome any misgivings Christopher feels, and Christopher soon finds himself in a downtown club, meeting the fallen angel assigned to him. Melusine is a seductive temptress, and not even her horns and tail can discourage Christopher from relishing her attention.

Kaym and Melusine bring Christopher to the Prince of Light (Satan), who charges Christopher with opening the Gates of Heaven at the appointed time. Slowly, Christopher realizes he has been brought back in time to the war in Heaven where the angel, Lucifer, challenged God's authority. Only a human may open Heaven's gates, so Kaym gives Christopher a key and special powers to assist in his mission. Christopher's transformation into the angel-like Phaeoton is intoxicating, and soon he is emulating the Prince of Light and successfully leading a host of fallen angels against the angels of heaven.

Meanwhile, Holli and Jami are being pursued by demonic forces. Their guardian angels rescue them, and bring them back in time, as well. Although Holli loves the Lord, Jami isn't sure what she believes. The sisters spend some time with the Lady of the Tower, preparing to play an important role in the battle between heaven and hell. They learn more about good and evil and are presented with many choices.

Plot Spoilers Ahead: As Holli's faith becomes stronger, Jami realizes she wants to trust God. The girls learn to trust their guardian angels and believe in the power of prayer. They also meet Jesus (Kherev) and Jami is given the choice to follow him. After the girls affirm their faith, they encounter Christopher. He has been so seduced by the fallen angels, he fails to recognize his sisters and attacks them. Only after he meets Kherev (Jesus) and returns home does Christopher realize what he has done. Happily, it is never too late for forgiveness, and Christopher repents and is reunited with his sisters. Although Melusine continues to tempt him, Christopher chooses to join Holli and Jami in church.

What I Like:  I like Beale's portrayal of the spiritual battle for the souls of humans. Readers are reminded of the importance of prayer, worship and small, everyday choices. I especially like the inclusion of song lyrics from some of my favorite 1990s worship songs.

The action is fast-paced and reads much like a video game. (In fact, the book is based on a video game of the same name, created by Beale and friends.) 

I appreciated the fact Beale made the fallen angels and Satan appealing. Although disturbing, it is  good to remember Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. The guardian angels were also appealing but trustworthy as well, so clearly a better choice. 

What I Dislike:  I had a hard time keeping all the names straight. Often the fallen angels are referred to simply as "angels," which is accurate, since technically they hadn't fallen yet, but it made some of the battles and interactions confusing. Also, the angels were characterized in very human terms. Even good angels were sometimes petty, jealous, and unreliable. However, I suppose, in order for one-third of the angels to have joined with Lucifer/Satan, they must have had shortcomings.

In this book, the line between fantasy and allegory is often blurry. Some events are clearly allegorical (for example, the beautiful, appealing Prince of Light obviously signifies Satan) but other events and characters are less clear (I am still not sure whether the Lady in the Tower represents anyone, or is just a random character).

Overall Rating:  Very Good

Age Appeal:  Young Adult (14 and up) due to language and seductive angel descriptions

Publisher Info: Pocket, 2002; ISBN:978-07-43453448 ; Kindle, 307 pages, $2.99

Buy it on Kindle at for $2.99.

Special Notes:  Christopher often uses the term "pissed off." Also, some chapters begin with song lyric quotations from bands such as Metallica and KMFDM.

Although not widely available in paperback, the Kindle edition is only $2.99!

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