Speculative Christian Fiction gives a lot of creative freedom, except in this—when writing fiction using Jesus and Heaven, one needs to be careful in their portrayal. The Wrong Enemy by Jane LeBak bothered me in some ways and went deep in others.
The Wrong Enemy takes place in Heaven. It’s a story exploring the angelic realm. One of their angels, Tabris, murdered the child he was supposed to guard. The chapter opens with Tabris facing the Accuser. Tabris gets another child assignment to the anger and surprise of most angels. The question Tabris struggles most with is why God put him in charge of another child; a child he could possibly murder. One angel, Rachmiel, becomes the true friend, never giving up on Tabris.
While Tabris struggles with the growing anger and pain in his soul, a demon (fallen angel) continues to bother him to coax him to hell. Tabris struggles against the wily ways and seductive reasoning of the demon as Tabris continues his downward struggle. He hasn’t spoken to God since the child’s murder and many angels look at him with suspicion. Rachmiel tries to find out why Tabris murdered the child. It is only towards the end that Rachmiel and Tabris come together and discover the truth with the Holy Spirit’s help, of course. The story continues forward as Tabris and the child begin to mend their ways. But while the writing was excellent, I had difficulty keeping my interest in it.
First, it tread on a slippery slope with this quote:
“Josai’el [an angel] laughed. ‘But yes, when she was a child, someone told her to talk to me when she needed help…’”
We’re supposed to pray to Jesus. So this bothered me. Perhaps because of my background I am hypersensitive to these things.
Second, humans cannot become angels and there’s no in-between time when they die. You are either saved or not saved; hell or heaven. The book spoke about Limbo—a place between earth and Heaven.
The slow beginning of the novel kept me from finishing as fast as I normally finish a novel. Finally, by the third chapter I began to get into the well-written emotions and struggles of all the angels. In some places, I read avidly getting lost in LeBak’s fictional world—that’s what every reader loves! Many readers will be able to relate to Tabris’ struggle.
One of the angels, Miriael, pointed out to not let the demons talk or they will seduce you by their well-placed lies. Other areas of wisdom and a complex explanation of why bad things happen rang true with me. It doesn’t soften the blow of Tabris’ bad decision, but it also shows in a spot of wisdom why God didn’t give Tabris the full justifiable consequences—Tabris endured the emotional and mental consequences all ready. Any further punishment would have made him fall to hell.
The Wrong Enemy, while emotionally moving, had a slow beginning and slow end. Others may have a different opinion. Jane LeBak’s writing was this novel’s salvation. I gave this novel three stars.
And by the way, the cover art looked exceptional!
*Book given by author to review.