Black Earth: End of the Innocence
On the evening of his high school graduation, Nathan Pierce collapses on stage. Plagued with visions of a strange girl intent on killing herself, he wonders if his mental instability is a consequence of the deadly car accident he was in days earlier.
Heather Rhodes, wracked with guilt because of the fatal wreck, finds she is unable to forgive herself and begins to question her own beliefs. While the death of a newborn weighs on her heart, on her mind is the strange gift she was able to use to protect her and Nathan in the accident...a gift that Heather wonders may have just been a figment of her imagination.
Cynthia Ruin, aka The Pink Rabbit, decides that her high school graduation night should be used for partying, not walking down the football field. At a nightclub in Scottsdale, Cynthia finds more than she bargained for when a stranger from her past decides to exact his revenge on her for a prior rejection.
All three come to realize that their current problems are nothing compared to the stars that are falling from the sky. During the global crisis, the President of the United States makes it her personal mission to keep the country on the right track to becoming a world superpower, while a hostile entity known only as Absolute threatens her administration.
Meanwhile, word starts to spread that the falling stars may not be stars at all....
This is the first book I have read by David Alderman and the first in a newly created genre created by him called Edgy, Christian Speculative Fiction. He describes this as:
"Christian speculative fiction - in general terms, science fiction/fantasy/horror/supernatural fiction with Christian themes and edgy content, such as sexual themes, language, drug use, and violence. This unique genre crosses the lines of both secular fiction and Christian fiction, and creates a new breed - not just to appeal to a wider audience, but also to shed light on realistic, entertaining writing that has the power to appeal to both Christians and non-Christians alike"
From reading about this from The Crossover Alliance
, (a site he created for like mind authors and their books), this new genre has caused controversy in Christian Fiction circles due to the themes of sexual content, drug use and violence. He has valiantly defended these claims and after reading this first book I have no problem with the inclusion of these controversial themes.
In this book, there is only one sex scene, a rape, and it is not graphic at all, its description is short with little detail, therefore no shock, no offense, no smut, no eroticism (and believe you me, I am quite a prude when it comes to sexual themes in Christian fiction!). What I did find is that it painted the culture that Sin, one of the main characters, lived in and her attitude to this culture. It also showed how easy it is for anyone to fall victim to sexual sin, even Christians, when the right triggers, and circumstances are in place and their relationship with God is not as it should be. For the Christian, sexual purity all comes down to spiritual warfare and having a right relationship with God. This is shown in this novel.
I am glad I had researched David's rationale, attitude for including these edgy themes in his work, it has resulted in my not getting my defences up before I started reading, expecting something graphic, downgrading, offensive and dishonouring to God promoting sexual promiscuity and idolising sex. Researching David gave me an insight into this author's mind and heart toward writing and towards God and it is all good and very encouraging. I would suggest that if any reader has any reservations about the themes in his writing, they owe it to themselves to investigate his rationale of this new genre through his blog at David N Alderman
After reading this book, this author is one that I have no problem following. He writes well, his plot is well developed and paced well. It keeps you coming back for more as it is fast paced. His characters are very relational, nothing two dimensional here, you will find yourself loving the main characters, Nathan, Heather, Griffin, Jasper and Hush to name a few and hating the other main characters, Alpha 1, Evanescence, Mr Silver.
I would have thought is could be tricky blending fantasy, science fiction and horror together but Alderman does a very good job, although this is based on having read only this book so I have nothing to compare it to.
Alderman has achieved what he set out to achieve: blending the themes of Christian eschatology, (the end times), the battle of good versus evil, supernatural elements, alien invasion altogether without being disjointed or fractured. Apparently one reviewer of the final book has stated that Alderman joins all these together into one cohesive end plot very well for its finale. This I am looking forward to.
I applaud Alderman for creating this new genre and this series. Both are exciting, very escapist, very creative and shows his talent to create a world of many and varied characters and worlds, dark yet not totally oppressive, not religiously preachy, but believable.