Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Passages Manuscript #1 Review

Darien's Rise
by Paul McCusker

Summary: Rising out of obscurity into a position of prestige and power, a young man remains humble as he demonstrates abiding loyalty to his king. Sound familiar? Maybe that's because it is! Except this tale has a twist involving two siblings from Odyssey. When Kyle and Anna find themselves inside the strange and mystical land of Marus, they are initially incredulous of their surroundings. With swords and pistols being brandished as modern weaponry, the two children seem to have been transported a couple centuries back into the past. However, they aren't just any normal strangers to Marus; it appears they have both been called for a purpose. As the plot unfolds, Kyle and Anna find themselves on two different paths. Yet by the end of it all, they both learn valuable lessons that will stick with them for a lifetime.

Review: I had the "advantage" of reading 1 Samuel at the same time, so I was constantly making comparisons as I read Darien's Rise. One of the things which stood out to me was the tale of David and Goliath retold as Darien and Soren. It's one of the most well-known Bible stories and has even morphed into one of the most commonly used themes in film and literature - "overcoming the giants in your life." I'd heard the story so many times I'd never really given it a second thought. Until I read it again in Darien's Rise. David used a pebble and slingshot to kill Goliath. What an incredible demonstration of faith! How it must frustrate our Lord when we gripe and complain about our difficulties. We so quickly forget that us plus Jesus equals a majority! I've heard it said before that we need to stop telling God how big our mountains are and start telling our mountains how big our God is. That's what Darien did. Amidst relentless persecution from the very person he swore to protect, Darien remained steadfast in his faith.

Another person who never wavered was Anna, the one called by the Unseen One to be a prophetic voice. She believed the Unseen One would protect her and Kyle - even when it seemed like the odds were stacked up against them. Much like Darien, Anna gradually grew into spiritual maturity by stepping into and then exercising faith. Kyle, on the other hand, never fully accepted his calling and instead began to allow pride to get in the way. His actions mirrored that of King Lawrence, who glorified himself instead of the Unseen One. In a way, it was fitting that they both met their doom in the Valley of the Rocks. As the Palatian soldiers closed in them, Kyle and Lawrence each recognized that the cause of their impending demise was lack of faith. Furthermore, they both lacked humility. Kyle wanted to be the hero and Lawrence wanted to remain king. But as Luke 14:11 reminds, "Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."

I especially enjoy how Paul McCusker's Passages series, which is essentially a contemporary version of C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, creates an environment in which the Unseen One is so tangibly real and alive. As Christians, we often forget that God is real and alive in our own world. The problem isn't that He isn't doing anything - the problem is that we aren't paying enough attention! Like Kyle and Anna discovered, we too have a specific and unique purpose in life. Our responsibility is to pursue Christ so that he will reveal his good and perfect will to us. Are we up for the challenge?

Rating: 4 out of 5