Round two of my discourse on the Fallen series by Lauren Kate has us picking up where I left off last month: that is, my concerns from the use of angels in these stories. Naturally, as a Christian and an author who incorporates Christian themes, my big issue with the angels in this series had to do with the religious implications. I suppose part of it was my own fault; I was a bit slow on the uptake. It was probably my perpetual optimism, holding out hope that the author would stop flirting with sacrilege and tie the theology in her story to Scripture in a real and meaningful way – but it took me until book 3 to realize that her religious references are mythological in origin, not Biblical. I promise I did not go into these novels intending to pick apart the author’s theology! (I firmly believe that all stories have value – the best ones teach us something, but even the ones that don’t are usually worth their weight in entertainment.) But when a series revolves around fallen angels and directly mentions religious themes, it’s kind of hard not to get picky.
Here’s a small sampling of what bothered me in these books. The 24 elders of the heavenly court turned out to be an evil sect (this is even a major plot point). An angel and a demon openly “live in sin together” – sure, they label it as a “sin,” but it’s accepted and romanticized. Lilith is described as Adam’s first wife before he met Eve (like I said before, religious mythology). And one of the best characters – a cute but crazy gargoyle named Bill that helps Luce learn to time-travel – turns out to be evil! And not just evil, but the devil himself! (Plus, we learn that he’s actually Luce’s first “boyfriend” and their relationship is the starting point for the split between heaven and hell – talk about an intense plot twist O_o.)
There are even certain lines that rubbed me the wrong way, like Cam saying that “Good and evil aren’t so clear cut” (since when?!), or Luce’s objection to Dee’s sacrifice: “Why did something dear have to die so other dear things could live?... Had God created love to make pain feel even worse?” (book 4). For a series that pulled strongly on religious ideas, hearing the main character fail to appreciate the gift of giving one’s life for another (especially ironic since that main character did in fact have her own sacrifices to make ><) made me very sad.
Worse than that was the author’s portrayal of God. In fact, the “Throne” (aka God) appears in a distinctly female form in the last book (despite being referred to by the male pronoun in the book before O_o). There are also parts of the story where other characters “lobbied” God, or God admits to “not knowing” something, or even, as described at the end of book 3, “He sounded tired, and pained, and less certain than Daniel had ever imagined possible.” I have issues when God is cast as a powerful being but is not omniscient or omnipotent (this was the same problem I had with the other angel book I read). I’m sorry, but anything less than an all-powerful, all-knowing Creator is simply not God.
At the same time, I do recognize that these books are fiction. I get that. And while I love the “escape to another world” that reading provides, that doesn’t mean I put all my core beliefs and values aside when I pick up a book. (In fact, my favorite stories are the ones where I can see the truth shining through the fantasy, even if it’s not written specifically to be religious.) And when I read a story that features parts that contradict what I believe, it actually has the opposite effect: because it goes against what I deeply hold dear, it pulls me out of the story and rather ruins my enjoyment, because suddenly the fantasy world and the world of truth that I rely on are at odds.
So I will simply say, if you (like me!) are the sort that wants to see Scriptural truth reflected in fantasy (or at least the possibility of truth applying to the story), if you want religious references to be based on the Bible even when the story is fiction – then for the sake of your sanity, don’t read this series ><. However, for those of you still looking for that little ray of sunshine, that silver lining of the cloudy sky – let me reassure you that the next post will discuss the parts of this series that I actually really enjoyed!
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
Until the next time, keep reading!
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I have two passions: reading and writing. You can't write good stories without first reading good stories - that's my theory, anyway. So this is where I'll share with you the depth of those passions: background on what and why I write, as well as talking about the books that I read and how they impact my writing.