Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Day the Angels Fell by Shawn Smucker: A Retrospective Review

It's no secret that 2014 was somewhat of a chaotic twelve months around the world. As we find ourselves facing the dawn of a new year, it's natural for most of us to seek opportunities to increase hope in our lives. Unfortunately, it's often difficult to escape reality while we witness the tragedies that life throws at as. Each of us seek ways of escape; momentary distractions that allow us to regain focus, strengthen our resolve and find our footing on our foundations of hope. For many of us, the escaping into a book is a powerful and effective vehicle to distract the mind and encourage the soul. It's easy to get lost in a good story, but even the best and most creative literary narrative will take the reader nowhere without an effective storyteller. The successful storyteller is one who can temporarily transform reality into what is seen through their creative mind's eye, transporting the reader into another world that engages and stimulates all the senses. This is what Shawn Smucker has accomplished with his first novel, The Day the Angels Fell.

With incredible detail and compelling imagery, this gripping novel of adventure and fantasy, follows the story of Sam Chambers, a twelve year old boy who experiences tragedy in the unexpected death of his mother. Twenty four hours before, attempting to escape a violent thunderstorm, he finds himself seeking shelter in an old antique shop, where he discovers the pivotal words that encompass this book: Find the Tree of Life, carved on an old shop table. With the help of his best friend, Abra Miller, these two young protagonists begin a journey that revolves around this unusual mandate and Sam's keen intuition that it is somehow mysteriously connected to the death of his mother.

Embarking on a quest reminiscent of the Lord of the Rings, these two are tested beyond their limits as they journey through an ancient story that intertwines with each human being who has walked this earth. Confronting both the very crux of both life and death, hope and discouragement, love and hate and even to the very confrontation of the origins of good and evil, Sam and Abra eventually come to realize that they are on a journey that transports them from what they know as real and rapidly thrusts them into the realms of the supernatural. Finding themselves being led toward a final and all encompassing conflict, Sam and Abra begin a struggle of choices that threaten their friendship, as well as the very balance of the world and all created history.  Learning lessons way before their time, they begin to understand the permanence of decisions and consequences, as well as the stark realty that quite often, the desires of our heart are not always the blessing that we hope them to be. It is within this realty that Sam comes face to face with the natural truth that some of things we hope for, although well intended, can result in disaster and border on the essence of confronting evil.

The Day the Angels Fell is a novel that is both engaging for preteens as well as adult. Older children will find the pages of this book to be exciting, thought provoking, and cause them to contemplate the issues of life, faith and finding their place in this world. Adults will discover the same, but will also find themselves recalling memories of nostalgic youth and the simplicity of childhood. While "Finding the Tree of Life", all readers will discover the proverbial message that lies within, as well as be reacquainted with the beautiful story of redemptive history. This is a novel that restores hope, deepens faith and challenges the reader to engage in life for what it offers each day and live each moment to the fullest.

The Day the Angels Fell is available at shawnsmucker.com as well as Amazon. You can also connect with Shawn on facebook and twitter.   

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