I am not usually one that goes for apocalyptic books of any kind (I did get into the Left Behind series a litttle at one time). However, I decided that I would take my chances with this book. I have been studying the book of Revelation in the Bible, and this seemed to fit perfectly.
Almost from the beginning of the book, I was terribly intrigued. It was almost scary to read the first part of the book and then hear something on the news that was similar to what was happening. It made me realize that things can get a whole lot worse than they are now--and they will! And all I can say is that if half the things in this book were to happen, I can only hope and pray I would not be around to see them!
The book was very skillfully written, and I applaud the authors' research and fantastic imagination. I had never thought of the four horsemen of Revleation in just quite this way. And I will say that I could not read this book at night because I was seriously afriad of nightmares! In fact, as I read that part about an unexplained disease wiping out large sections of the population, the television news was just reporting about the strange ecoli breakout in Europe! Talk about realistic fiction!
Now to my reasons for the 3-star rating. Biblically speaking, I believe that the authors' interpration of Scripture was somewhat skewed. While I am not an eschatologist in any sense of the word, I have studied it. I struggle with a book being written about the last days and yet there is no appearance of Christ. I struggle with extra-Biblical prophecies and writings being used to back up end times prophecies not covered in the Bible. And the epilogue of the book confused me even more. It would seem that the authors have a very divergent view of the space and time continuum that I question whether it is solidly based on Biblical truths. I do not call the authors' faith into question--there seems to be no doubt that they are strong in their faith. However, I would have like to have seen some more Biblical quotations and prophecies being explicated in the book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÂ®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
So, I have to admit that I am still slightly perplexed that I chose this book to read and review. Usually I like to read either historical or modern day fiction. I have never once in my entire life ever read any apocalyptic literature, nor have I ever had any interest in doing so. Yet, for reasons practically unbeknownst to me, I chose this book. Needless to say, it has sat on my shelf for many, many months- until a few days ago when all of a sudden I randomly decided I wanted to read it. Well, all I can say is that it hooked me right from the start and I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
The Seraph Seal, written by Leonard Sweet and Lori Wagner, begins in the year 2012 where an ancient prophecy begins to unfold. Fast forward to the year 2048. The world is fast accelerating into massive chaos. New discoveries are constantly being made in different scientific fields, and those in power are fighting to rise to the top. Add to that rising political tensions throughout the nations, mass pandemics, and escalating natural disasters, and the question arises- how much longer can the earth survive at this rate of speed? Amidst the turmoil arises a key player: Paul Binder, a historian at the University of Virginia, who one day receives a strange and cryptic message. From there he is led down a path that leads him to London. Once there he meets manuscript specialist Angela Krall, whom he teams with to decipher an ancient Syrian manuscript. Together they begin to slowly unravel clues that lead them down a mysterious path, and along the way they begin to discover that perhaps there is more to life than that which they can see and understand.
I read a review on this book recently where it was said that this book is not for the faint of heart, and I have to say that I agree. As I said, I really enjoyed this book and I found it very fascinating. However, you can in no way breeze through this book, for it is rather heavy, physically and mentally. The book itself is over 500 pages, which I believe in itself could scare some people off. Then there is the actual written text itself. There are quite a few characters to keep track of, as well as events. Everything is subtly woven together, and you really need to pay very close attention so that you do not miss a single miniscule detail. There is also a lot of what I am going to call "smart speak" in this book- meaning that things are not explained simply. Rather, it is written in very intellectual terms that I think could very easily confuse people. I know there were a few parts that I had to read over to fully grasp certain concepts.
Putting all of that aside though, I think this book was put together very well. The story was engaging, and I felt that there were a lot of events of the future that were very plausible, and could very well happen. So, if you are of stout heart and would like a very intelligent apocalyptic read, then this book is for you. I know that I will definitely be revisiting this book later on.
The Seraph Seal was a challenge to read for me, as it was different than any other book I had read before. I've spent the past several years focusing more on non-fiction works, so to jump back into a work of fiction was a more daunting task then it turned out to be.
I really didn't have any expectations of this book, but it sort of reminds me of the Left Behind series of books, where it deals with the book of Revelation, and end times prophecy. I can tell you that the way a book grabs my attention has a lot to do with how good or bad a book turns out in my opinion. The Seraph Seal was a legitimate struggle for me to read through. It never caught my attention, and I found this book more of a chore to read, than actually enjoyable. And I suppose that if I was not tasked with reviewing it for Thomas Nelson, then I probably would not have forced myself to read the entire book.
The source of my struggle with this book are characters that were too impersonal and unknown, a story line that never stays in one direction, and a premise that honestly was too much to believe in. The best way to describe this book is I felt the author was trying to fit three or four books of information into one novel, hoping that their one attempt at fiction writing would stick, and this book would be their defining legacy.
While I'm quite sure the authors put much work and research into this book, I just felt I was forced into reading a story that went in a thousand different directions, and took way too long to finally go in a direction that made sense and easy to follow. Fiction is supposed to be an enjoyable endeavor. The Seraph Seal did not accomplish this purpose.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÂ®.com [http://BookSneezeÂ®.com] book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 [http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html] : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
I recently reviewed a book through Thomas Nelson Publishing called The Seraph Seal by Leonard Sweet and Lori Wagner. To be honest I really had a hard time getting past the introduction. It seemed confusing and quite dry. I decided to push through and found that this book is full of excitement, suspense and brilliant character development.
The story takes place in the future and the lead character Paul Binder is a cultural history professor at a nearby University. He seems like your normal guy, with a normal life. Paul witnesses a car accident and runs over to help. He finds that the driver is dead but notices a note neatly set on the dash-board of the wrecked vehicle. On the note was his name.
I don't want to give anymore away so you will just have to read it! If you like history and mystery this is the book for you. Sweet and Wagner have done their research and have created a fiction master piece that is very believable! There are clues from Paul's lost journal that lead you to understanding the conclusion of the book. This is the first time I have read any book like this and I hope it isn't the last!
My expectation of this book was that it would be non-fiction and extremely technical. I probably would never pick this book on my own, but there was nothing else available, so I reluctantly picked this one. However, this book wasn't as complicated as I thought and it was fiction. But, I would only say this book was good, not amazing.
I would only recommend this book to certain people because this isn't one of those sit-down-and-read-it-in-five-hours kind of books. This book will only appeal to a very specific audience. It's like "The Hunger Games" versus "Twilight". Or "Harry Potter" versus "The Chronicles Of Narnia". It's not a vampire novel that several teens would want to read or a magical world anyone would want to enter. This book is definitely for fans of technical, apocalyptic books.
This story read like a one third-fantasy, one third-apocalyptic, one third-science fiction. It reminded me of the "Harry Potter" series (although I've never read or watched a HP movie/book, I know my stuff). Matthew Serafino was the anti-Christ, so he'd make a perfect Draco Malfoy. Angela Krall would be a great Hermione. And Paul, well, he'd be Harry. So if you're a fan of that series, I think you'd really like this. If you like the "Left Behind" series, you'll like this. If you loooooovvvvvveeeedddd "Inception", you're really gonna like this.
As for me, the book was alright. Not a waste of time, but not something I'd read again either. It had its share of interesting parts, so much that I was crossing the street in Phoenix traffic reading this book. It took talent--- no lie!
My complaints? The book was a little big for my comfort, both mentally and physically. Looking at the book, it seemed impossible to finish--- more than 527 pages... that was a serious mental block! And sometimes, just holding the heavy book made my thumbs ache terribly. Also, the book had its boring times. I admit to sometimes skimming. The book got confusing, and even though it told you where it was, like it would usually say "Washington, DC" when referring to Matthew Serafino, but it would only say the place, so it leaves you like "Who is this?" And the dialogue sometimes was a little too fast-paced. Plus, it sometimes got the tenses messed up, like it would go from past tense to present tense and ti was very noticeable and unprofessional. Maybe it wasn't that obvious, but I'm a Language Arts junky, so I know my stuff. And sometimes, the plot moved a little too slow (maybe that's why the book is so big?). Yeah. I'm a little disappointed with the book.
Three stars, no doubt about it. I still think you might wanna check it out, but DON'T BUY IT. Rent it from the library, but do not purchase it. I think it would have been an awesome movie and if this was made into a movie, I would rush to the theater. But as of being a book? Not reading it again.
Note: Special thanks to Thomas Nelson publishers for providing me with a free copy of this book.