War of the Realms: Conquests & Consequences by Lee Watts, Th. D. 3.5 out of 5 stars SYNOPSIS: Alexander is the heir to the throne of Theera-Enty. After a failed assassination attempt, he is stranded on a remote jungle planet while the kingdom is thrown into chaos. But it isn’t only human-kind who are working against him. The legendary Guardians must protect Alexander by battling against demonic beings who whisper evil into the minds of men. A pirate captain is caught in the middle of the war, a group of castaways look for rescue, an old priest preaches for repentance, and the governments of different planets vie for power.
This book has an epic scope as the people of Theera-Enty begin a fight against oppression, and Alexander struggles to understand a prophecy regarding the throne. A mysterious key might lead to a treasure beyond imagining but no one can unravel its secrets.
PLOT/ACTION: This plot is full of so much action and twists and betrayals and big reveals! It really kept my interest through every chapter. There is a big space battle at the end of the book that amazed me from start to finish. Usually I am bored by fight scenes, but this was presented like a puzzle to be solved. How are they going to survive? What tricks and tactics can they use to overpower the enemy? It was fascinating, and full of emotional moments as characters had to face their worst fears and find the courage to keep going.
THEMES: There are deep themes about faith, spiritual warfare, friendship, courage, the nature of truth, and the proper roles of government and education. These powerful messages are so smoothly woven into the story that it never feels too preachy. It makes the story really meaningful. I especially appreciated the spiritual themes and the clear messages about God’s love and forgiveness through Christ.
That Hideous Strength (The Space Trilogy, #3) by C.S. Lewis 4 out of 5 stars Jane and Mark are caught between the forces of good and evil. As the N.I.C.E. corporation offers Mark a job to lure him into their wicked schemes, Jane is approached by a very different group of people who have gathered around Ransom. They each have to decide what they believe in when it turns out that archangels and ancient legends are real.
This book has a very different format from the other books in the series, and Ransom is a side character in his own story. The trouble with Jane and Mark being the main characters, is that I don’t really like either of them. They are so wishy-washy and both their personalities are unattractive. However, they do both have extreme character development and really interesting internal journeys.
Perelandra (Space Trilogy, #2) by C.S. Lewis 4 out of 5 stars In this second book of the trilogy, Ransom travels to another alien planet at the request of Maleldil. This time he goes to Perelandra (Venus), and encounters a new race of aliens, who are struggling with the same temptations from the Evil One that Adam and Eve fell victim to in our own world. Ransom must battle against the Evil Presence in order to protect the innocent new society that is just beginning to form.
I love the imaginative world-building in this book! There are so many different settings and alien animals and weird plants. Perelandra is such a strange planet with a perpetually cloudy sky and rolling islands that float on the seas. And even when you are more than halfway through the book, and you think you’ve seen all the scenery and met all the animals that Perelandra could possibly have, then there are still more mysteries and wildlife and extreme mountains and rivers to be explored.
Out of the Silent Planet (Space Trilogy, #1) by C.S. Lewis 4 out of 5 stars Ransom is kidnapped and taken to another planet, where he escapes his kidnappers and must fend for himself on an alien world. Everything he encounters is entirely foreign and strange, from the water to the trees. The landscape is wild and inhospitable, and there are aliens who (he has been told) need a human sacrifice for some pagan ritual.
Malacandra is such a vibrant planet, with rich cultures and languages of its own. I love all the little details of the aliens and their society that make it feel like a real place. It’s utterly bizarre and wild, but with little flecks of familiarity that endear you to the alienness of it all.
The writing and story-telling are truly brilliant. The plot is exciting, and the writing draws the reader into each scene so that you are experiencing what Ransom is experiencing through every adventure. I love that there are a lot of philosophical questions and spiritual lessons in this book, but it never weighs down the plot or spoils the adventure.