The 4th Watch: The Assignment
The Rebel Christian is always looking for new Christian books to review so I was very excited to dig into this piece when Newman presented it to me. I want to start off by saying this is certainly a book that Christians can read and enjoy but I think secular readers might find it just as entertaining. If you enjoy supernatural books—or anything involving angels and demons, I would highly recommend looking at The 4th Watch.
So, let me first start out by saying what I definitely enjoyed about this book. I liked the concept of the story—angels and demons, and spiritual warfare are right up my alley. One of my favorite scriptures is Ephesians 6:12 … We wrestle not against flesh and blood … This book nearly embodies that verse as we watch two guardians go through their everyday duties in protecting two young girls from childhood into adulthood. Fighting battles against the unseen forces of our world proves to be adventurous, exciting, and even dangerous at times. This just demonstrates how God protects us each and every day from things we aren’t even aware are coming for us.
Now, let’s get down to what I didn’t like about this story. The first thing I noticed was the writing; it wasn’t bad by any means, but it wasn’t very strong either. Maybe this is the style of YA fiction, or maybe it just wasn’t my cup of tea. The story was good, and the characters were great, but I definitely wished for better writing. On top of that, there was also a lack of diversity—as a woman of color, I am always looking for books and characters I can identify with and relate to. This is a personal preference but it’s a legitimate one. I like stories that showcase multiple ethnicities—in 2019, I don’t think that’s asking for too much.
Secondly, I liked the concept of the guardians protecting the girls but since both characters were women it made their struggles seem almost stereotyped. Men and women both struggle with attitudes, adolescence, and promiscuity. I felt that the battles fought here were skewed, if not unfairly represented. On top of that, having the guardians chase away every demon who came close to the girl’s kind of took away the responsibility of our own salvation. But that’s not exactly a complaint because this is just fiction and some rules are bent for the sake of the book. But the last thing that put me on edge was the idea of referring to God as the Master.
I’ve been reading, writing, and reviewing Christian fiction for years now and I’ve always been drawn to books that were strongly or openly Christian rather than vaguely or loosely faith based. It isn’t fair or accurate at all to call this book loosely Christian, in fact God and the name of Jesus Christ are both mentioned throughout the writing, but the term Master is the prominent name given in this piece. This is just another matter of preference for me; I prefer to outright say Jesus Christ so that there is no confusion about who I’m speaking of—this is Christian fiction, why not call the Lord who He is? Not that He isn’t a master, just that it sounds better, in my opinion, to say God or Christ. But again, this is just my preference—as I said earlier, some rules are bent for the sake of the book and left at the leisure of the author.
I know I might seem nitpicky with this review, but I did enjoy this book and I do hope others will enjoy it too. YA readers and teenage Christians will appreciate this most, but any fan of Christian fantasy/supernatural fiction will certainly enjoy this as well.
*I received a free copy of this book, on behalf of The Rebel Christian, in exchange for an honest review*