by Jon S. Lewis
Invasion, the first novel in the C.H.A.O.S. series, introduces Colt McAlister and his friends, along with the Phantom Flyer, a WWII hero taken right out of the comic books and plopped down not only in the middle of Colt's life, but also in the middle of an entertaining action tale. The story is fast paced and funny, and well worth spending an afternoon with. In many ways, it is like a Men in Black film, complete with weird aliens and an agency meant to police them. The mix of action and humor is likewise similar to the MIB movies.
In reviewing the book for a specifically Christian readership, I should point out that it is not focused on spiritual themes, but instead presents the faith it embraces as a part of the action and, more importantly, part of the everyday lives of the characters who people the novel. It isn't a book that hits you in the face with a "Christian Message," but instead takes the faith of several of the characters as a matter of course. It is refreshing to see a contemporary novel that treats faith so naturally instead of beating readers over the head with its message, whichever side of the faith line it might fall on. Instead of treating faith as a polarized question, Invasion takes it as an assumed part of the lives of many characters in the book – much like a faith is really being lived out should be.
Invasion is geared toward tweens or early teens, but is also an enjoyable read for adults. It offers an entertaining premise to begin with (which is unfolded in the course of the novel, so I won't give away too much), then builds nicely upon it to create a real page turner. It's a book I will happily introduce to some of my younger family members and friends.
© Shelly Bryant, 2014