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Review – Spirit Blade Podcast

Today I’m reviewing Spirit Blade by Paeter Frandsen.

Synopsis: In a future where the government mandates the spiritual beliefs of its citizens, only a few rebellious “Seekers of Truth” remain to free the world from deception.

On his quest for meaning, Merikk follows a path that leads him across our world, and into another. Against his will he is thrown into action alongside members of the Underground Liberation, standing face to face against forces human, alien and demonic. Science fiction and the supernatural collide in a genre-bending adventure! Open your mind and then brace for impact as you discover the power of the Spirit Blade!

The Spirit Blade Audio Book is a novel that serves as the source material for the scripts of the Spirit Blade Audio Drama Trilogy. This archived draft has been converted into an enhanced audio book format read by Paeter Frandsen and featuring sound effects and musical score from the “Spirit Blade” and “Spirit Blade: Dark Ritual” audio dramas!

Production: Absolutely stellar. This is, in my opinion, professional quality. The music and sound effects all add to the atmosphere.

Grade: A+

Cast: Paeter does all of the voice work, male and female. He truly acts it out. There’s also a fair amount of digital manipulation unless I miss my guess. This does lead to a few oddities, like one character who reminds me of Christian Bale’s Batman.

Grade: B+

Story: Paeter describes this as “Christian Science Fiction”. From his site:

[It] is simply science fiction with a Christian twist. The realms of sci-fi and fantasy have already been touched by classic writers of the Christian faith like John Bunyan, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Modern authors like Frank Peretti, Stephen R. Lawhead, the duo of Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, along with several others, have also delved into worlds of Christian sci-fi and fantasy.

Sometimes these stories are allegorical. Other times they are more literal. They may take place in our future, an alternative past, or possibly in worlds and realities completely different and alien to our own. They may contain clear presentations of Biblical truth, or simply uphold the values and ideals of the Bible. But something of Christianity is always found in their depths.

Overall, I’d say that the writing is good, though perhaps not great. The story certainly entertained me. I did like his take on demons and how they might interact with the real/spiritual world. The story moved quickly (at times too quickly) and there was a great deal of action and a surprising amount of violence. I say surprising given the nature of this otherwise typical bit of Christian fiction. By that I mean, Paeter doesn’t use any swear words, pulling a BSG and making up his own. There’s also a lack of sexual situations. The characters are all a little two dimensional, especially the bad guys. I barely noticed that though as the action and pacing pulled me along.

Grade: B-/C+

Verdict: The best part about this book was the action and the production. It really immersed you into the world that Paeter created. If you’re a fan of the authors he mentions then you’ll likely get a kick out of this.

Grade: B+

Addendum: While I enjoyed this, I will say there are some things about it that made me ponder. This is one of those works of Christian fiction that both displays and disproves some things that bother me about the genre (if Christian Fic is really a genre per se).

For the former, this strikes me as something that only a Christian would listen to and enjoy. That bothers me a little since, as a writer who is a Christian, I believe we need to produce things that make it out of our little ghetto. The amount of “preachiness” is in places excessive. Does the book really need that considering its audience? There’s also that weird vibe I get from books that splash a fair amount of gore and violence around but won’t drop an F bomb (unless it’s “frell”) and won’t show a boob (not that sex is necessary, but it’s at least as human as violence). This isn’t limited to Christian lit, but we seem to fall prey to it most often.

For the latter, this proves that Christians can put out a quality, polished product. Much of what I’ve seen in our ‘verse suffers in that department. There’s also some grayness in some of the characters that one doesn’t often see in this slice of entertainment. Some of the good guys aren’t all that “good”. If Paeter had slowed the pace down some and developed some of the characters further that would have made for a more solid story.