Title: Cloak of the Light
Author: Chuck Black
Series: Wars of the Realm, book 1
Major Themes: Allegories, Science Fiction
Synopsis: Drew Carter’s life is changed forever when he realizes evil beings are trying to influence people and take over the world.
I read quite a few of Chuck Black’s books seven years ago, when a friend introduced me to the Kingdom series and follow-up Knights of Arrethtrae series. I was excited, then, when I heard he was writing a new series, but didn’t have the chance until just recently to access the Wars of the Realm series. Even though they’re a lot different from the two other series, I did end up enjoying the first book quite a bit (although there were some caveats, as I’ll explain later). Cloak of the Light, the first book, is a science fiction. For the most part, I enjoy fantasy and science fiction, but I also enjoy allegories quite a bit, so I was excited when I realized this is an allegory too—just a very different version from what I’ve been used to so far!
Drew Carter’s early life wasn’t easy. As a youngster, his dad had been killed in action, and while his mother did her best to support the two of them, he had a hard time holding on to hope for the first few years. However, Jake, a man who had been on assignments with his dad many different times, did his best to care for the two—and taught Drew different survival skills over the years. As time went on, Drew developed an odd friendship with an eccentric geek named Ben, who soon proved to be interested in some weird physics experiment. Things went wrong, however, and Drew was blinded in a freak accident. Drew’s sight miraculously came back, but he soon realized the experiment was still working—in him. He was now able to see and experience things on a whole new level, his senses heightened beyond any normal human’s capacity. The only trouble in relation to his newfound abilities? He became aware of invaders around him, ones that were manipulating people and attempting to conquer the world. Can he figure out who they are in time—before anyone gets killed, or worse?
What I liked: I did enjoy Cloak of the Light to some extent—it’s a very gripping story. The characters are well formed and relatable, and the setting is fairly believable. There are some good role models in the story, like Sydney who encouraged people to accept the Bible as truth, or Jake, who stood by his promise and invested in Drew’s life.
What I didn’t like: I did struggle with the major themes to some extent. One common theme I noticed was a lot of fighting between the “good” guys and “bad” guys (which can be expected from the main premise of the story), but it almost felt like too much killing at times; not enough respect of life. This always saddens me because when someone dies they won’t have a chance to repent. In this particular book, it was mostly the spiritual beings that died, but since I really struggle with any violence of any kind, that didn’t set well with me anyway.
I liked and I didn’t like Drew’s spiritual life. He’s agnostic, without any real religious leanings (although he’s falling for a Christian girl), and with him being able to see the spiritual realm and both good and bad angels, he’s often terrified with them around. However, despite being able to see this, he hasn’t come to believe in God. I did appreciate that he wasn’t presented with the gospel, was instantly converted, and became a lukewarm “Christian”—that’s good, and it feels realistic. I’ve seen too much “instant salvation” in “Christian” fiction (although I do recognize that at times it does happen in real life!). However, it also feels like his lack of seeing the truth has dragged on almost too long—so I’ll be interested to see what happens in the following books.
Overall, while I did enjoy some portions of Cloak of the Light, it was an intense read and I’m not sure I’ll be reading the sequel very soon. Like I said before, I really don’t appreciate violence, so while this book was good I don’t want to continually be filling my mind with things along this line. Teenagers would appreciate this story, although I’d personally recommend it for those that are 18 and up because of some of the content (mostly just a lot of fighting, often violent).
WARNING: In chapter 3, someone is hurt after a car accident, some mention of blood, and there is talk of aliens. Chapter 4 has someone at a party, a girl is acting seductive in a swimsuit, drinking, and another car accident with someone killed (another mention of blood). Throughout the next few chapters, someone claims to have seen aliens and a doctor goes missing (he’s later found dead after he ran off the road). The words “h–k” and “gee” are used. In chapter 13 someone claims to see an alien, and also does combat training. Chapter 14 has a very tense, violent school shooting, with some mention of blood. In chapter 15, a man is tempted with suicide as an evil being attempts to influence his mind. Chapter 17 mentions a man in a fight, and how he got injured. Chapters 18 and 19 mention martial arts and martial arts training, as well as a battle. Chapter 20 has a beast come to attack some people. Chapter 28 has a fight and lots of killing, and chapter 29 is also very tense with a dangerous gang fight and many people threatened to be killed (the beast from chapter 20 also shows up again). I know that wasn’t everything (I tried to take notes as well as I could), but there were several other less-violent but still difficult scenes such as where someone witnessed people trying to severely injure or kill other people, but were thwarted for one reason or another.