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Renegade Spirit Series #1: The Tattooed Rats
Thomas Nelson / 2006 / Hardcover
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Tattooed RatsIn the year 2012, being a Christian can land you in jail or even get you executed. Christian high school student Patrick find himself in a hospital for "reprogramming" and discovers the "Tattooed Rats." It's a world turned upside down where things aren't what they seem. Friends betray, seeming enemies protect. The World Peace Alliance is on Patrick's trail and he's faced with a choice to serve Christ and face possible death or deny his faith and lose his soul.Demon's BluffIn Part 2 of the "Renegade Spirit" series, young Patch, on the run because of his outlawed Christian faith, seeks refuge in the town of Demon's Bluff, where it's said a mighty spiritual battle once took place. But as the townsfolk prepare for their annual Spirit Fest, he finds he might have to blow his cover if he's to enlighten the people to the dangers of toying with the supernatural.
The premise of Jenkins's latest collaboration, the first in the Renegade Spirits series, is an attention-grabber: a Christian teenager fights for his life and his faith in a world where Christianity has been outlawed and believers are hunted down and punished (or worse). But the execution of this idea makes for a challenging read. A story that seems too futuristic for its setting (the year 2012), an unwieldy cast of characters, and brief, sound-bite-like text passages that jump from character to character are a few of the elements that disrupt the book's narrative flow. While the suspenseful action/adventure tone and soul-searching themes of conformity and tolerance are surefire draws for teens, the target audience may not stick with this volume long enough to get the full message. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Christians are driven into hiding as government forces hunt them down. A ruthless one-world government takes over. Teens are caught between heaven and hell, their lives and souls hanging in the balance. Welcome to the world of The Tattooed Rats, a new apocalyptic novel by Jerry B. Jenkins and John Perrodin.
The Tattooed Rats centers on the character of Patch, a teen Christian who leaves his compound and is captured by the forces of the World Peace Alliance, who blow up his compound and take him to a re-education center. There, he meets members of the Tattooed Rats, a group of underground Christians who identify themselves by their distinctive tattoos. With their help and the help of his friends Molly, Nancy, and Erin, he escapes, joining a new Christian compound. These Christians dont accept him because they hold him responsible for the destruction of his former compound, and they eventually throw him out, along with the Tattooed Rats. He is left to cultivate a new life as a member of the Rats.
This book, while entertaining, is not nearly as good as one would expect from a writer of Jenkins caliber. The novels structure is choppy, which, while it creates a good sense of tension, can be confusing. Also, the dialogue is unrealistic and often does not make sense in relation to the age of the characters talking. For those expecting an experience similar to that of the Left Behind novels, the changes in theology may be a bit disorienting as well. In this version of the End Times, there has been no rapture before the tribulation, and the Church is under siege by the thoroughly evil one-world government. Depending on the personal beliefs of the reader, this may or may not present a theological problem.
Despite its negative aspects, The Tattooed Rats also has some good elements. For instance, the authors lend a healthy dose of reality to the spiritual battle between the forces of Heaven and Hell. Demons and angels are portrayed as being real beings, and prayer is noted for its effectiveness in spiritual combat against evil. This book also highlights the difference between just acting like a Christian and actually being one, and encourages perseverance during hard times.
Although this novel was an interesting reading experience, aspects of the writing style and structure prevented it from being as immersive and exciting an experience as it could have been. Because of these aspects, I would not consider adding The Tattooed Rats to my personal library or recommending it to older readers. However, I do feel this book would be well-received by and well-suited to younger readers. Peter Semple, Christian Book Previews.com
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Author: John Perrodin
Located in: Colorado Springs, CO
Submitted: May 01, 2007
Tell us a little about yourself. I'm a novelist with a unique opportunity...to learn about fiction writing from Jerry B. Jenkins, author of the Left Behind books. Working with Jerry is an incredible experience and every day I learn new things about the craft of writing. Many readers found The Tattooed Rats book fast-moving and with all the swift scene changes, more like a movie script than a typical novel. The May 2007 issue of Focus on the Family's BRIO magazine includes a brand-new prequel article that tells what happened before Chapter One in the book. I was delighted to learn that the BRIO staff enjoyed the book so much! What an honor to work with such a professional team...
What was your motivation behind this project? We wanted to tell the story of one Christian boy's attempt to make Christ-based decisions even though he's the only believer in his high school. What would that be like? To have to stand for your faith when everyone else mocks or disagrees with you?
What do you hope folks will gain from this project? We hope that readers will realize that even when we make mistakes, God forgives. And although, Patch Johnson, the main character in the story makes a huge mistake, he can turn from his selfishiness and toward Christ. Too often, we think that once we've taken a step the wrong way we can't get back on the right path. But we can...with God's help.
Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists? My own children have influenced my writing because they serve as my personal critique team. They tell me what they like...and don't like. And they're learning to be better writers in the process. I know that writing is a process of continual growth and am hopeful that Demon's Bluff, Book 2 in the Renegade Spirit Trilogy, will provide an even more exciting ride than The Tattooed Rats!
Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know: I hope that readers enjoy The Tattooed Rats and also check out Demon's Bluff, Book 2 in the Renegade Spirit Trilogy. This just in: Book 3 has just been titled. It will be called: Seclusion Point!
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