Readers who remember the Frank Peretti books from the 1980s - This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness - will notice similarities in Battleground right from the start. As the title suggests, a battle is raging in the spiritual world, and the effects of this warfare wreak havoc in our own world. The scenes of interaction between demonic angels and God's messengers are at times engaging and even humorous. At other times, this battle brings tears, as the reader realizes how true it is that we are living in a spiritual war zone. The stakes are high--human souls. Demons with names like Rejection, Strife, and Disillusionment take hellish joy in planting thoughts in people's minds. Only constant, fervent prayer can unleash the angels to do battle on behalf of the five teenage characters (the world changers) and their families and friends.
However, the similarity between Battleground and the Peretti books ends here. Battleground is 458 pages of postmodern-culture teens and their numerous temptations, failures, repentances, and prayers--pages of prayers. The book opens with the hint of a years-old murder mystery that I kept waiting to see solved by this group of spiritually aware teens. Instead, the plot jumps around between the individual spiritual battles of the five main characters. One conflict involves a mother in an unrepentant affair with her boss. I'd hoped to see this man come to justice. The author dropped hints that he was somehow tied in with the murder. Sadly, I was left hanging. The murder mystery disappeared entirely from the plot, and I found myself holding a rather noticeable "loose end."
There is an audience for Battleground, but I don't believe homeschooled students are that audience. Most of the "battles" revolve around public school themes like drinking, partying, fighting, and worse. Many public-schooled Christian teens will relate to the scenarios described in the book, and they could be encouraged to stand firm in their faith. However, there are a number of things you should consider before putting Battleground in your homeschool library:
There is no doubt our nation's teens are in trouble, and a battle is raging over their souls. Again, I emphasize that Battleground has a place on the shelves of many libraries. However, we homeschool for a reason. Should we encourage our kids to peer through this wide window into a public school peer group we prefer they not become a part of? I believe not.
- The cover depicts five teens surrounded by an angel. While this is a positive image, the teens themselves are not the images of good role models. A skull on a skateboard, magenta hair, and a T-shirt with "It's All About Me" clinging to a girl--clearly showing every curve--caused me to move this book out of the line-of-sight of the younger children.
- The inappropriate language sprinkled throughout the book is certainly today's reality, but I can go to the pubic market to hear it. I don't want to give my teens any ideas.
- The one Christian teen in the opening chapter is not a beacon of righteousness. Although he repents quickly of his thoughts, I was disappointed. Could he not have upheld a few standards and still been "cool" to readers? On the positive side, all five teens become believers, purposing to honor God in word and deed. They accomplish this very well by the end of the book.
- One of the most disturbing and unnecessary scenes involved a secondary character. A Christian girl goes against her good sense and the Spirit's implicit warning and attends a party. Within minutes she is drugged with a spiked drink, carried into the bedroom by an unsavory young man on the lookout for just such a "conquest," and raped. While not graphic, it put plenty of pictures into my mind--none of them of the Philippians 4:8 variety: "Whatsoever things are ... pure ... think on these things." I could not figure out the purpose for this scene. The girl was a minor character who only showed up once or twice in the book.
And another perspective…
Battleground is the first in a series of adventures entitled WorldChangers and
is a thick, soft cover book of 458 pages, with an additional 4 page Author's
an 8 page Excerpt from Safari, the WorldChangers Adventure
#2 book. Touted
website as a supernatural thriller, it is written for teenagers and adults
effort to bring readers to a realization of the spiritual battle going on for
today's youth. The prologue includes a description of the story of Satan's
placement of dominion over the earth. The book has five main teenage characters
are similar to any average teenager who may read the book, and tells the story
how they will be drawn to one another through a series of events as they come
saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. The book offers a perspective on angels and
and their unseen interaction with humans that many of us do not recognize or
My sixteen year old daughter and I enjoyed this book as our evening read aloud
struggled to keep ourselves limited to only ten chapters each night. The book
total of sixty, generally very short, chapters and allows a reader to complete
book in very manageable sessions, if desired. It is definitely not appropriate
younger students as it does portray truthful struggles often battled among
teenagers, but even the battle scenes, death, and rape situations are handled
clean style allowing for necessary information and nothing more. The book includes
comical situations that readers will be amused by, including references to
that will bring a smile to most faces. The reality of demons is well presented
angelic support is found throughout the book as angels obey the commands of
heavenly authority. Racial prejudice is dealt with head on and in a corrective
that offers a level of education for social matters. Subject matter includes
of alcohol and the loss of virginity and many of the battles fought within
Christian walk are dealt with in the story line. Prayers are regularly part
story line and the power of Prayer is raised to a high position of duty for
Christians. The portrayal of an Intercessor is very well presented as one who
very active behind the scenes within the Lord's work, without necessarily having
direct information regarding situations they pray for. Ultimately, the power
and his active part in the lives of his children and his creation is very real
is central to the book.
This is definitely a book for teenagers and adults as terms like "take a leak",
"mean old fart", and an instance where a girl took a boy's hand and places
her shirt, were decidedly mature situations unsuited for younger readers. I
myself embarrassed reading with my teenage daughter, although it opened discussion
and was a very true representation of teenage life. Some subject matter is
approached that may cause disagreement for some readers, such as human traits
sinful nature being personified in the demon of Lust, demon of Pride, or demon
Anger. In an effort to present possibilities of a spiritual realm we do not
understand, presumptions regarding angelic and demonic behavior are made, but
very plausible and well written. Scriptures are often used, but rarely cited,
we found very disappointing. For new Christians reading the book, it will be
find many of the referenced scriptures without help, an opportunity the author
completely missed. I also had to explain "microfiche" to my sixteen year old,
although it did supply an educational moment not otherwise expected while reading.
And some may be surprised by angels not necessarily having a gender as they
materialized as men or women, depending on the situation. The writing itself
manufactured at times, as if it were dragging, which was disappointing, although
were able to continue reading regardless.
The WorldChangers Adventure series is off to a great start in Battleground as the
first of the series. The images of individuals surrounded by angelic support
demons being bound by the prayers of saints are comforting and well presented.
are often so wrapped up in this world that we forget that we are in the midst
battle for the next one every day. Our teenagers are perhaps the most aware
realization and this book is a tremendous offering for them. Rarely are demons
broached as subject matter in our Sunday Schools, homes, or classrooms, even
home schools, and this book will open many discussions necessary for Christians
make an honest fight to save people and bring them to the knowledge of Christ.
truly enjoyed reading Battleground together and look forward to additional
installments as we will follow the lives of the characters in the series. More
importantly, it was an eye opener to have demons and angels presented as very
active creatures who are a part of our every day lives. This world is a battle
field, and the battle is for the very souls of every person we come in contact
every day, knowing that angels and demons are actively coming in contact with
person as well, brings home the truth that we need to live each day for the