Review: Darkness Shall Fall


Alister E. McGrath's new fantasy novel, Darkness Shall Fall (Zondervan, 2011), concludes the Aedyn Chronicles trilogy, which follows siblings Peter and Julia and their bratty stepsister Louisa on their adventures in the world of Aedyn. In this world, Peter and Julia become heroes, the Chosen Ones, and succeed in uniting two halves of a talisman meant to summon the Lord of Hosts, while Louisa transforms from a brat to a Healer.

The third book begins with the children and the people of Aedyn still trapped on a volcanic island, forced to hide in caves and hunt mushrooms by night to survive. They live in terror of the monstrous Gulnog, creatures of the dark power known as "the Shadow," which threatens to cover the island. The talisman has apparently failed, for the Lord of Hosts has not come. Discouragement and doubt plague Peter and Julia, and the people of Aedyn. Only Louisa holds on to any hope. All three children are left to grapple with Job's age-old question, "Where is God in all of this?"

Although Darkness Shall Fall deals with a serious theological dilemma-the silence of God-the story leaves something to be desired. The world of Aedyn never emerges out of the twilight of the pages. The lack of description leaves the reader in a colorless world amid people who seem like a collection of names without depth or character. The meandering plot fails to create suspense, and at times the actions of the protagonists seem painfully improbable. The entire book looks forward in vain to the return of the Lord of Hosts, and at the end, the resolution of the conflict seems just a little too easy.

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