The Awakened is probably one of the best Christian fiction novels I’ve ever read. I’m typically more critical of Christian fiction because, as a Believer myself, I really want the faith genre to be represented as wonderfully and professionally as possible. When it comes to Indie authors and self-published authors, I sometimes feel like they rush into publishing without giving their stories time to grow and develop from a decent book to a page-turning masterpiece.
I don’t know if Spillman threw this together in one night of God-breathed creativity or if he spent years of careful planning—either way, this book is clearly written with the heart and fervor of a most patient and passionate Christian writer. Mr. Spillman, I appreciate your contribution to the Christian literary realm.
That being said, The Awakened is about Lazarus (yes, the one raised from the dead in the Bible) who has been given the gift of resurrection and charged with battling the slaves of Satan in this crumbling world. To help him out in this daunting mission are the Awakened, a group of resurrected soldiers whose purpose is to aid Lazarus in this fight of the faith. The organization of immortals calls themselves SOAR and they face struggles of every kind. From purging evil in the government to stopping international terrorist attacks. All of this happens at the hands of the UnVeilers, dark enemies who are searching for the secret in Lazarus’ journal, left by Jesus Christ himself. This secret is unknown even to Lazarus but that doesn’t stop anyone from trying to find out what it is all while preventing the devastation of the world.
What I liked most about this book was its creativity. I really enjoyed the concept of characters from the Bible being resurrected for a purpose like this—protecting mankind. The notion of a secret organization of Believers who fight evil on Christ’s behalf is the makings of a very epic Christian adventure. On top of that, Christ was not hidden from the spotlight. Lazarus constantly refers to himself as Jesus’ friend, which I absolutely loved. Spillman does a great job at keeping the attention focused on Lazarus but also reminding us that all of this truly centers on the Lord.
The writing for The Awakened was just as good as the plotline. It really is a terrible thing when you have a great idea paired with poor writing, I was thankful that didn’t happen in this case. There was, however, a few things I didn’t like about this book. I felt there were way too many characters and I didn’t like that most of the focus was on the modern-day world. I thought the setting would stay in the AD period, before any modernization, but I do understand the need to push forward, considering the plot. It just felt like the overlying theme of international terrorism seemed more like this was a Christian spy novel—which I have no problem with—but the modern-day storyline with the AD journal entries almost read like two different plots.
Aside from that, I really did enjoy this book as a whole! Jesus was my favorite part, of course! Watching Lazarus and SOAR push through their struggles was so easy to relate to in our world as we know it. Sometimes we are given a task by God and we don’t know if we have the strength to complete it—or we might not even know what it is! But Jesus never gives us something we cannot handle.
I truly enjoyed the love and admiration Lazarus had for Jesus, it really brought Jesus to life as more than our God in heaven but our friend who sticks closer than a brother. Reading this book made me want to dig deeper in my faith; I want to have that loving, intimate relationship with the Lord that Lazarus had. I want to know Him as my friend whom I trust and love dearly. This novel was as inspiring as it was adventurous and entertaining.
I strongly recommend this to readers of all ages. Christians around the world are encouraged to pick up a copy today and anyone, Believer or not, who enjoys action and good-versus-evil novels will absolutely love this.