Faith Awakened by Grace Bridges
November 4-10, Christian Fiction Review Blog is touring Faith Awakened by Grace Bridges.
I can't remember which promotional blurb I read, but something I saw somewhere (or maybe I dreamed it?) led me to infer that "Faith Awakened" would be something like "The Matrix". Caprice, you ditz, you're confusing this with last month's review, you say? Actually, I read "Faith Awakened" (and wrote most of this review) three months BEFORE I heard anything about "Flashpoint". Plotwise, "Faith Awakened" wasn't as much like "The Matrix" as it was "The Stand" by Stephen King. Government-sponsored plague destroys nearly the whole population of the planet. A mere handful of survivors are left behind to start over. If you enjoyed "The Stand", the Mariah plotline of "Faith Awakened" will give you a similar experience, with a much happier ending. I daresay "Faith Awakened" is less depressing than "The Matrix" too, at least in the end.
But I am skipping to the end, and that's not the meat of the story. However, before going any further, I must confess I am woefully inadequate to discuss the meat of this story. "Faith Awakened" went over my head. It left me scratching my temple and wondering what it meant. This is a story for deep thinkers, the kind of people who read literary fiction, the kind of readers who actually understand and appreciate "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens. Alas, I am not one of those people.
"Faith Awakened" is actually two stories, with two plotlines presented in tandem. One story doesn't start chronologically until after 95% of the other plotline is finished, so it is like a bunch of flashbacks. The narrative goes back and forth in a time warp. I am sure this parallel telling is somehow significant; it surely must be. If only I was the type of person who didn't need Cliff Notes in order to survive high school literature classes, perhaps I would have grasped the significance. But as I said, it went over my decidedly non-literary head.
In the first plot, Mariah is a young Christian woman (which their jargon calls "Awakened") who survives a global plague. When 99% of the population dies, those who survive are left to wonder if their resistance to the disease is permanent. There is a period of shock and mourning, understandable after such a catastrophe. Just as Mariah is beginning to recover from the shock and just as she falls in love and starts to think of marriage and starting life over, the tiny band of survivors discovers that the virus is mutating and they will all die unless they plug into hibernation machines. Mariah is the one who finds the machines and figures out how they work and then convinces everyone else they must utilize these machines or suffer the same fate as the rest of the population.
In the other plotline, we meet a small girl named Faith, who lives a rather uneventful childhood and then travels quite a bit later in life. Even with the continent-hopping (Ireland-Germany-Tonga), the Faith plotline was still somewhat dull, in my admittedly un-literary opinion. Faith and Mariah are connected, but I am getting close to giving away too much here.
The Mariah plotline was much more interesting, in my opinion, especially after the plague hit. Plenty of action and suspense there. And the stakes couldn't have been any higher: Will humanity survive? You'll have to read "Faith Awakened" to find out.
Visit the Faith Awakened website.
Visit the Grace Bridges website.