When I found this new author, Max B. Sternberg on Facebook, I was intrigued by his book description: "Tired of glittery vampires? So am I. Think magic swords are overdone? Good, cause this one is a spear. Waiting for an apocalypse book with a good message? Wait no more!". His wit gave me a good chuckle, but what really surprised me was reading the book Sternberg had written. The Book Blurb for book one of the Darkness Overcome Series: The Rhise of Light is found below.
This is not your typical Christian Fiction story…
The entirety of living civilization stands on the very brink of death. Undead hordes have rampaged across the world. Determined to do his part, Leon Rhise left his wealthy father's estate and chose to defend the last living kingdom by joining the military. It had seemed to be a good idea at the time.
After his career in the airship navy came to an abrupt end Leon arrived home, hoping for a warm reception. Instead, he was abruptly tossed out. Disowned, unemployed, and friendless. All hope seems lost. Then Leon discovers a mysterious relic, which opens up the possibility of him becoming a Judge: a hero of legend. One that has not been seen for centuries.
As Leon travels the road less taken his destiny converges with newfound companions, each one surrounded by mystery. Advised by strange beings in dreams and visions, Leon learns that the undead onslaught the world has suffered is part of a much larger problem. A solution can be found by learning about the forgotten being known as Adonai. But the world is ending, and time is running out.
Delve into a world that brings a unique twist and interpretation to faith-based high fantasy. With emotional highs and lows, certain peril, dysfunction, and humor; tough questions are asked, and answers will come to light.
What struck me from the very beginning of Sternberg's book is the clear and purposeful use of scripture. From his lighthearted description of the book's contents, I was not expecting a seriously Biblical faith journey wrapped up in a zombie apocalypse sprinkled with humor and comradery.
There is no waiting for the action to start in this story. Within the first few pages the reader is thrown into a world that is doing its best to survive a dire war that seems impossible to win. If you are not a fan of battle or the dispatching of zombies, even in a less grotesque way than is usual, I would recommend that you leave this book on the shelf. If you enjoy a good epic with a creative twist that places the theme of "Death vs. Life" on center stage, you will love this book.
The adventure of this book is found less in the landscape or geography and more in the use of careful and artistic rendering of the people that the story is based upon. The use of airships to war against zombies is not technically a new idea, but the author paints a beautiful picture full of fantasy races in fantastical settings that lend to the uniqueness of his worldbuilding. Each character is given a meticulous back story that is revealed at well placed intervals that push the over aching themes forward. Viewing the story through their emotions and experiences is a powerful tool for the author's ultimate goal.
There is a faint residue of romance laced into the story, but it is by no means nonexistent. I would place it in the "very sweet and shy" category. I would imagine that the foundation that is laid in this first book will be built upon in future portions of this series. I will place the warning here that "The Rhise of Light" is a FOUNDATION book for a series. There is some closure, but the book is more of "a door opening" story.
When it comes to a Christian faith journey, this is hands down the best I have read to date. Where there are plenty of authors (including myself) who will hide a faith journey amidst the main plot of a story, Sternberg pulls no punches and places the difficulties of faith right out there in the open. If you do not feel convicted to live a better life for Christ after reading this book, did you even read it at all? He does not place this journey on a pedestal and neither is it smooth or easy. The reality of the Christian walk that he weaves into this completely made-up story is so moving to read.
This book starts with scripture, follows scripture, and ends with scriptural truth. Not something that I thought I would ever say about a fantasy apocalypse story containing zombies, but there you have it. I was really impressed by the professionalism of this debut novel and the difficult questions that the author chose to tackle. This book strengthened my faith and took me on a wild ride in the process. In short, I hope that we do not have to wait long for the next book in this series.
Are you interested in Max B. Sternberg and his book? Links Below!
Max B. Sternberg https://smile.amazon.com/Max-B-Sternberg/e/B08ZDTNQJC
Disclaimer: The above book link is an affiliate link. If you choose to purchase a paperback through my affiliate link the book is printed and delivered by Ingram Sparks at no extra cost to you. I do get a commission if you use the paperback link above. This has not in any way effected my honest personal review. If you want an Ebook copy of this title, feel free to pop over to Amazon and look it up!
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Rating System in Order of Intensity
N - NOTHING to worry about. Read this to your infant with a clean conscience.
A - Showing some ANKLE. Perfect book for the Puritan in your life.
P - Clutch your PEARLS. Grandma may raise an eyebrow, but keep on reading.
G - Will make you GASP. Both eyebrows will be involved in reading this book.
B - This is the full BLUSH people! If you are prone to fainting you will need a fan.
DB - You must DOUBLE BLINK to clear your eyes from being contaminated. None of the books I share here should reach this rating...Thank Goodness!