About the Book (from the publisher):
The Prince Warriors by Priscilla Shirer (with Gina Detwiler), (B&H Books, 2016)
The battle is real.
As brothers, Xavier and Evan are used to battling each other. But now they’re discovering that there is a much bigger battle going on all around them. And it’s their turn to fight. Based on Ephesians 6:10–18, The Prince Warriors is the first book in Priscilla Shirer’s epic new series that brings to life the invisible struggle ensuing in the spiritual realm. Xavier, Evan, and their friends have typical lives until they enter a mysterious land called Ahoratos. There they meet their guide, Ruwach, who offers wisdom and direction as the kids’ initial adventure begins—an adventure filled with armor and danger and a very real enemy.
Written by New York Times Best-Selling author Priscilla Shirer, The Prince Warriors series was created for middle-grade readers and will include the fiction trilogy as well as Unseen: The 365 Prince Warriors Devotional and the Unseen app.
I’ve read several of Priscilla Shirer’s adult Bible studies and love her perspective, writing tone, and insights. She’s one of my go-to, trustworthy Bible-study writers. In her first foray into children’s fiction for middle grade readers, we see great insights into living for God and spiritual warfare, in particular, with this series (the first of a planned trilogy).
There’s a lot to like about this book, particularly the magical realism and otherworldly-ness found within the spiritual realm of “Ahoratos,” which four main characters find together, and the teamwork and trust they learn together. The plot remains interesting and action-packed throughout the book’s twenty-five chapters. The characters offer some range in personalities (and includes one girl as a main character, too, which makes the title of the book a bit misleading), though some of the traits and comments can lean a bit on the stereotypical side, particularly when referring to gender stereotypes. But there are several things to like there, too, like boy/girl friendships (yet not necessarily romantic) and varied interests (science, skateboarding, drawing, etc.).
The biggest obstacle in reading is that the point-of-view perspectives change constantly within each chapter, and even within paragraphs from sentence to sentence. Though the book is told in third person, it is still told through a character’s perspective because readers ‘see’ internal thoughts and characteristics that would only be known through that character’s perspective. But, most novels switch perspectives chapter to chapter, or perhaps at page breaks between scenes, not actually from paragraph to paragraph within the same scene. This constant perspective change can be a bit distracting while reading because readers regularly have to switch their own frame of mind to be able to envision which character is saying and feeling what, and which characters are getting to know someone else or seeing something through observation of that character. The writing could also be tighter in some places as several spots “told” instead of “showed” a key characteristic or feeling.
But, if readers can get through the perspective changes, the intriguing plot and the strong faith-based themes are what really carry this book. The book ends satisfyingly with the current adventure wrapping up, yet more adventures promised in future books, as well as some unanswered mysteries and a newly introduced character to learn about in the second book. This story also discusses great themes (trust, believing without seeing, kindness, forgiveness, redemption) through action and then lets the reader see how these characters apply the themes in their ‘real world’ lives, which makes this book great for parents to read with their kids and discuss together.
What are some of your favorite faith-based middle grade reads?
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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