BOOK REVIEW: Shadow Chaser by Jerel Law

Back for a third entry, Jonah, Eliza, and Jeremiah Stone face their biggest trials yet in Shadow Chaser, book three in the Son of Angels series by Jerel Law.

Shadow Chaser takes off right where Fire Prophet, book two, left off with Jonah and his siblings at Angel School in New York City. Something evil is lurking in the shadows of the convent where the Quarterlings, part humans, part angelic Nephilim, have been living, studying, and growing closer to God. And coming up next? Mid-term exams that will test the Quarterlings in their skills and faith.

But Jonah Stone has other problems: he keeps hearing strange voices in the dark of night. A shadow seems to creep about in every corner. Not to mention that his face has now been covered in zits and all the other kids in the convent want nothing to do with him. Can Jonah figure out what’s happening in the dark before it overtakes them all?

This entry in the Son of Angels series is not necessarily my favorite of the three so far, but it’s still a good, fun read. Some readers may feel that this book is like an extended add-on to Fire Prophet, with a lot of the action centering around the Angel School in the convent. At times I kept wondering if things would get shaken up a bit, but they stayed pretty much on course until near the end. I won’t give anything away, but something happens at the end of this book that was truly shocking. I’m very interested to see where this story goes in the final book: Truth Runner.

Although parts of the plot feel like a redux, Jonah definitely has the most character development in this book. His life begins to resemble that of an Old Testament prophet, complete with the trials and temptations that came to many of those men and women of God. Jonah’s struggle with his friends feels very real to life, and he grows through the things happening to him rather than becoming vengeful.

Those who have followed Jonah thus far will enjoy Shadow Chaser, but newcomers would do best to go back to book one, Spirit Fighter. Jerel Law remains a solid author with some very different stories to tell. Definitely worth a read.

You can purchase this book on

BOOK REVIEW: Death Weavers by Brandon Mull

A year was a long time to wait for Five Kingdoms: Book 4: Death Weavers, but, a year wait does not disappoint when it comes to Brandon Mull. Mull’s signature high stakes fantasy adventure fills the pages of this next installment, and definitely leaves a few surprises for the very end that had me gasping at the last pages.

Cole and his friends have been through three of the five kingdoms in the Outskirts: Sambria, Elloweer, and the futuristic kingdom of Zeropolis. And now, they have finally ventured over into Necronum, the land of the dead. Apparitions appear frequently with slippery deals and valuable information. Hunters lick up their trail. And a mysterious fiery horse named the Mare has been sighted roaming the vast lands. When Cole’s friends fall prey to an evil entity, Cole must travel to the land inbetween the Outskirts and death and try to rescue his friends before they are separated from him for good this time.

Death Weavers felt very different from Mull’s other books, but also very similar in some ways. At this point, we have arrived at a bit of a formula for these Five Kingdoms books: find a princess, rescue the princess, and reunite her with her run-amuck power. While that structure is truly at the heart of this fourth book, there are also some other pieces at play. We finally discover more information about some of the evils lurking throughout the Outskirts, and we also learn more about what exactly has happened to bring Cole to these kingdoms. As usual, Mull is quite innovative when it comes to twisting up the typical fantasy tropes and make them into his own creations, giving us some of the most unique places in the five kingdoms yet.

However, Cole continues to remain something of a flat character. This is something I noted from previous installments in the series, and it is definitely true here. Cole has a bit of a character arc, but he feels much more typical than Seth and Kendra from Fablehaven or even Jason from Beyonders. There is something about Cole that seems to keep him stunted in character growth. Is the story still entertaining? Yes. Is it a page-turner? Oh yes. Is Cole someone worth rooting for? Sure…?

Fans of the previous books will love Death Weavers. Newcomers will definitely feel lost entering the series here, and it is really best to go back to Sky Raiders and start from there. Mull has set up some great conflicts for the last book in the series coming in another year, and it will be interesting to see how he ends up wrapping things up.

You can purchase this book on

Church and Chess

The chess board sat between us. Brown and beige plastic Queens and pawns sat scattered across the playing field. My granddad’s wrinkled fingers gripped the knight. He hopped diagonal and up a space, putting my King in checkmate. I leaned back and sighed as Granddad laughed.

“Gotta pay attention to those knights. They’re sneaky,” he chuckled.

I laughed too. And then Granddad grew more serious. “You still speaking to those kids at church?”

“Yep. It’s a lot of fun too.” I told him about the latest talk I had given to the group of grade schoolers at church. He sat back, French doors behind him, both hands clasped over his bald head. After I was finished, he leaned forward.

“You know, there’s something important you should remember. Always be careful when people talk about Jesus’ death on the cross, but don’t talk about the resurrection. That’s the most important part of the story.”

We would sit and talk like that for hours. About God, about life, about church and chess. We talked about so many different things over the years, I can barely remember them all. But that one day he told me to always remember the resurrection is one that has stuck in my mind for years.

Whenever you talk about the cross, talk about the resurrection too. Because it’s the most important part of the story.

When I sat down to work on Sparrowhawk, I knew I wanted to write about Easter. I also knew I wanted to write something that took place in the Middle Ages, and so I dug in to the research. I discovered that a certain Pope in the fifteenth century loved falconry. Because this Pope loved his falcon and took him nearly everywhere, the nuns throughout the Catholic Church took to falconry as well, bringing their birds into churches across Europe. The falcons, owls, and hawks became such a problem that the leaders of these churches had to tell the nuns to leave the birds in the convent.

A fun tale emerged with the adventure, danger, and settings I love. But something else began to emerge as well: the theme of resurrection. Jesus died on the cross so long ago in Ancient Rome, but that isn’t the end of the story. Jesus came back to life three days later, and now Jesus is alive. That’s what the Easter story is all about: the fact that Jesus defeated death and pain and suffering in that moment of triumph.

So when it came time to dedicate the book, only one person seemed to be the right option: William H. Stevenson, my granddad. He and I spent so much time together talking about Jesus and the Bible, and those memories are the ones I love holding on to.

Granddad passed away in 2014, but he didn’t pass into nothing. He passed into glory as the old spirituals used to say. He’s living in the presence of Jesus and soaking in the rays of His everlasting light.

This Easter, remember: the most important part of the story isn’t death. It’s life.