Young teen readers will keep turning the pages of Alister McGrath’s Darkness Shall Fall, the final installment of his fantasy trilogy The Aedyn Chronicles. In the style of C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, McGrath creates a magical world in danger, and only the children from our world can save it.
Two months after a volcanic explosion on the island of Khemia, Julia, Peter, Louisa, and the rest of Aedyn’s quickly diminishing band of survivors are fighting for their lives, pursued by the treacherous Gul’nog. Aedyn’s ruler, the Lord of Hosts, had promised rescue, but relief still has not come. Then potential freedom seems to appear suddenly in Peras, a warrior who claims to be a messenger from the Lord of Hosts and who volunteers to lead them back home. The offer sounds perfect, but can they trust him? The group must decide quickly as the Gul’nog close in and an evil Shadow spreads over the island.
The people of Aedyn share similarities with the people of Christ as depicted in 1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light” (NIV). These heroes clash with the Shadow in the name of light and carry the mark of their ruler. As Louisa says, “We have the power of the Lord of Hosts. We have each other. And we have the certainty of our calling” (p. 175).
Although the events unfold in a fantastically unreal world, the characters’ struggles and questions are relatable to our own spiritual journeys. Do miracles happen in a world of science? How do we discern fact from fiction? Where is the Lord of Hosts (a representation of the Christian God) when life is difficult? Can we trust Him in impossible situations? Readers of all ages in God’s holy nation can relate to at least one, if not all, of these concerns.
A few select scenes of action-violence mentioning blood and detailed injuries are a notable concern for some readers, but middle school students who enjoy fantasy stories will love McGrath’s exciting conclusion to Aedyn’s adventures. Young readers will stay glued to the book and absorbed in the fates of Peter, Julia, and Louisa until the last page.