Book Review

Book Review: American Omens by Travis Thrasher

40274204The year is 2038 and Cheyenne Burne is a brilliant young programmer working for Acatour, the world’s top technology firm. Her father converts to Christianity, and he suddenly disappears without a trace. When a stranger hands Cheyenne a coded message that sends her on a collision course with a clandestine group of believers, she must put her life in the hands of those following a man known only as the Reckoner. He claims he wants to bring back true faith in Christ to America and also reveal the forces behind the disappearances of the many renowned people who publicly declared their Christian faith.

Operating in the shadows and living off the grid, this mysterious prophet assembles a ragtag team–including a former bookseller whose store was shut down for selling prohibited books–to help him take the battle for transparency to the top. With a ruthless FBI agent closing in, can Cheyenne and the others expose the truth and lead a return to God in America before it’s too late?

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This was an interesting book. I liked the premise of a dystopian/futuristic America, and all of the action that must take place in order to “fix” the corrupt government. I loved Cheyenne and Malek, and the rest of the characters were well formed as well. I also really liked how the three perspectives worked together to show the complexity of the situation and the different sides of the story, and then ultimately blended together.

Here’s my biggest complaint: I felt like this book largely used the “fear factor” side of Christianity (there was wrath, judgment, and even a Day of Reckoning). I completely understand that within the Christian-dystopian genre, this is going to be present, but I felt like with this, Thrasher missed the perfect opportunity to share the true gospel rather than just indicate it as the only positive alternative to the death and destruction. The Christians are all operating on the basis of “the world is corrupt, and this is the only bit of goodness left,” which I felt minimized the true impact of the message of Christianity. The fear tactic can produce results, but often they aren’t lasting and/or genuine, and that’s my concern with this book.

SPOILER ALERT:

My other big complaint with this book is that there was this prophecy that roughly a month from the beginning of the book, the Chicago area would be wiped out (think the story of Jonah, but with the ending of Sodom and Gomorrah). But it was only mentioned a few times, incorporated into the fear factor, and that was it. I was left with questions as to what happens, how it happens, how the characters are affected, etc. and since this book doesn’t seem to be a part of a series I was left disappointed.

Overall, I’m glad I read it. It made me think critically about technology and its presence in our life, and stretched me out of my normal reading genres. Dystopian is definitely not my favorite genre, but it is good to branch into every once and a while.

I received a copy of this book from Multnomah for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own. 

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