A nicely symbolic imagining of the afterlife underlies Michael Abayomi’s The Journey, first in his Guardians and Lost Paradise series. Daniel wakes to a strange and dangerous world where surprising allies offer to guide his path. Meanwhile reapers ride dragons and threaten his soul, and strangely fierce and sad creatures hide, refusing to take the path to the other side as they seek re-entry to the lives they lost.
“The irony of the whole thing,” says a friendly guardian, “is that those they are hoping to see again so badly are already waiting for them in the afterlife, wondering why they aren’t there…” but sometimes it’s hard to let go.
Letting go has many different guises in this novella, and Daniel needs to learn to release his anger and despair while holding onto trust. “Nothing is impossible,” he learns as he steps onto the surface of water, “given the right amount of faith.”
The Journey is a Christian fantasy, with clearly Christian themes behind the curious world it creates. The threats and action are exciting, with a pleasing adventure-game style. And the story’s nicely tuned to young readers and their parents, with enough food for thought without provoking unwarranted reactions. By the end of the tale one journey’s finished and another about to begin—a satisfying conclusion that clearly promises more books to follow.
Disclosure: I bought this novella when it was offered free.
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