“What if…there was a world beyond our vision, a world just fingertips beyond our reach? What if…our world wasn’t beyond their influence?”
Drew’s life isn’t fair. His military father died when he was 12, he’s the new kid in school in an unfamiliar town with only his mom and his dad’s best friend to support him, and when an experiment in a physics lab results in an accident that leaves Drew blind, he wonders how his life could possibly get worse.
Well, it gets worse.
Unbeknownst to him and everyone else, Drew’s blindness is temporary. That’s good, right? But his sight returns with strange side effects: he has heightened senses and he can see into a dimension interacting with Earth, a dimension with dark, alien-like creatures who carry weapons and wield the power to enter humans and control them for fierce purposes. What do these invaders want? And how is Drew the only person able to see them? When the invaders realize his newfound power, Drew must discover the truth behind their attacks and defeat them before time runs out.
Let me start off this review by saying this is one of my favorite series of all time. I love Chuck Black’s books. They never disappoint. His stories are well-written, captivating, and above all, thought-provoking. Cloak of The Light, the first book in Black’s Wars of the Realm series, is no different. I read all three books in less than a month, and I borrowed the last two from a friend because I didn’t want to wait to see what happened next. Drew’s character development, his struggles to trust the unknown, the danger and eerie quality of his pursuers – it was very enthralling.
The idea of spiritual warfare can be a bit difficult for some believers, including me, to grasp and I think this book (and the series as a whole) portrayed how it might look if we could physically see the spiritual realm. While Cloak of The Light is a work of fiction, the author did very well to keep his story grounded in scripture. So, while this series is speculative, it is held together by a strong biblical framework.
Of course, no book is complete without supporting characters, and this book has some great ones. I really liked Sydney, the strong female character and Drew’s love interest in this book. She gets even more admirable as the story goes along, and I love her strength, faith and maturity. She’s not perfect, but she’s courageous. Jake, Drew’s family friend, was a great mentor without being overly fatherly. And then there’s Benjamin Berg who is that nerdy guy who doesn’t seem quite right in the head, but you still want to be his friend. Seriously they’re all great.
My one con for this book is that the fight scenes seemed a little overwritten in some places. We read about very precise movements and highly specific weapons, like Glock 21 .45-caliber semiautomatics and pocket .380 autos. These details make perfect sense since the author is former military. However, I think the average reader wouldn’t know what a Glock 21 .45-caliber semiautomatic looks like. So, we’re left with two choices: put the book down and pause the story to google what it is so we have a clear picture of the scene, or keep reading and imagine what said weapon might look like. Most of us would probably choose the latter. So while the detailed descriptions of fight scenes and weapons can do well to set the scene, it wasn’t perfectly necessary and in some cases, it caused the story to slow down where fast action was key.
Wrapping up, Cloak of The Light was not my favorite book in the Wars of The Realm series (the last two books are where Drew has a realization, and the action and danger really start to get serious). Nonetheless, it is definitely still worth the read! I await the day when this series is turned into a movie or three because I would buy tickets for all of them and bring along all my friends to the theater!
My rating: 4.5 Stars
Violence, a girl is called a “dime” by a gang member, brief instances of teen drinking, name-callings like “geek” and “jerk” are used…that’s about it. Nothing too terrible here. Recommended for 13+.