Christ's Glory, Not Mine

by science fiction author Andrea J. Graham

Beyond the Reflection’s Edge Review

This month, the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy blog tour is featuring Beyond the Reflection’s Edge by Bryan Davis. This alternate universe thriller is one of those titles marketed to young adults that may be more appropriate for adults in some ways. Meaning, up front, this mature adult loved this thoughtful, made-for-the-silver-screen,  headache-inducing mind-bending acid trip (I mean that in the nicest way possible, and granted I was coming off post-operative pain meds, which certainly doesn’t help in the headache department.) However, the violence, which includes a demon-type guy that goes around gorging out eyes with a death ray, is such that parents, particularly the kind that raised the gotta-love-him hero, might not want their children feasting on.

At some points it needs a “Kids, don’t try this at home” warning. Heck, for that matter, it needs a “Dads, don’t try this at home” label. While the mirror games this will spawn are harmless enough, some of the feats pulled off that some genius might try to copy–like base jumping off a rooftop without a parachute–are dangerous.

That said, parents would be wise to weigh the violence against the book’s positive elements: a pro-abstinence, pro-grace message, illustrations of sacrificial love, symbolic elements that evoke “We walk by faith, and not by sight” and “we see through a glass darkly” in a way that will make the concepts stick in kids’ minds, and so forth. Also, the characters actually showed concern for those injured in the pileups their high speed highway chases cause.

It conveys the concept that courage is doing what’s right despite your fear in a way most won’t find preachy.  It also raises important questions that will get kids thinking about the sovereignty of God and the correlation between man’s creative power and God’s, which some grasp of is a must for all Christian artists, including writers.

It contrasts the results of Christian home schooling: respectful, “old fashioned” teenagers that share their parent’s world view and beliefs, versus what the world’s educational system produces (or more precisely, the stereotype of the Typical American Teenager). This one is particularly good for planting the all-important question: “How do I want to school my own kids?”

This list of positive elements is not complete without the no-parachute base jumping sequence taken to task a moment ago. Taken as a dream sequence, it conveys a powerful and memorable message about trusting our Heavenly Father to catch us when we follow Him off the proverbial cliff, to have faith in His word and not what our eyes see. The problem is the text could be taken as a literal, wide-awake stunt, which means some–some–teens, particularly of the foolish male variety, could be tempted to actually try this in real life, where the laws of physics are not particularly impressed with one’s faith in their ability to defy them.

So, moms and dads, if it sounds like the positive elements outweigh the bad, get a copy of Beyond the Reflection’s Edge and “prescreen” it. You’ll be glad you did, if you catch my meaning 😉


4 comments

  1. Thank you for the thorough and thoughtful review. I agree that this story is not for younger kids, so you are wise to point that out.

    I’m glad that you enjoyed it overall.

    Bryan Davis

  2. Well, that’s why I’d encourage parents to be proactive about their kids’ (including teens) reading materials in general. It really will depend on the individual child, er young adult. There could be a twelve year old girl mature enough to be totally blessed and an eighteen year old boy unstable enough to read this and take up extreme base jumping . . . . I hate to stereotype like that, but it really is usually the young males of the species that are crazy enough to do that stuff. It would be sad to get such a creature to actually read a book, only for him to commit suicide . . .

    For you as the author, it’s a good problem to have, that your story is so believable that impressionable souls not firmly grounded in reality might copycat. Having Kelly get injured trying the leap from roof to roof stunt was a nice touch in that department.

    Seriously, the comment at the end means Mom and Dad should read it because I think they’d be “prescreening” it about as seriously as an as-yet-childless couple “prescreens” veggie tales . . . . This is one of those, “Mom/Dad, did you buy this for me or for you?” novels.

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