Bill Myers, Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt, and Alton Gansky. Invitation. Bethany House Publishers, 2017. See here to buy the book.
Authors Bill Myers, Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt, and Alton Gansky have teamed up to write the “Harbinger” series. This book, Invitation, is the first book. Each author contributes a story, and each story is from the point-of-view of one of the characters. In this book, four people come together in the midst of supernatural phenomena. There is Brenda, a tatoo-artist; an atheist professor who used to be a priest; Andi, the professor’s assistant; and Tank, a high school football player with the ability to heal.
Had I just read the first two stories, I would have given this book three stars. And I am saying this as someone who likes most of the Frank Peretti novels that I have read: I did not care for the “Darkness” series, but I loved The Visitation, Prophet, The Oath, and Illusion. The first two stories had interesting details. Bill Myers’ story talked about the professor’s preference for books over people and his bad relationships, and Frank Peretti’s contribution talked some about the professor’s struggle with God, whom the professor sees as overbearing and bullying. That is why I would have given the book three stars rather than two or one. At the same time, these two stories were rather scattered and confusing. There was little development of the characters or sharing of their backgrounds, for so much of the focus was on the supernatural oddities. I felt deprived of context as I was reading this book.
Angela Hunt and Alton Gansky rescued this book, though. Especially Angela Hunt. Hunt’s story spent a lot of time detailing Andi’s background, thoughts, and feelings. I actually felt as if I knew the professor more after reading Hunt’s contribution than I did when I read Peretti’s, and Peretti’s story was the one that was from the professor’s point-of-view. In Hunt’s story, the professor pontificated a lot, and he came across as rather reasonable, rather than as some bitter atheist with an axe to grind against God.
Gansky’s contribution could be hard to follow, in areas, and yet he developed Tank’s character. Tank is likable. And, incidentally, Tank is the main person who reflects theologically on the mission of the four. Gansky’s contribution provided more context to the book as a whole.
There are things that would have made this book better. Perhaps more reflections on supernatural phenomena or aliens would have enhanced the book. I would also be interested in learning more about why the professor left the priesthood. But maybe the sequel will flesh some of these things out. And I am open to reading the sequel.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My review is honest!