The world doesn’t come to an end, but technology abruptly cuts off in this series of thrillers by New York Times bestselling author Terri Blackstock. Blackstock weaves a suspenseful tale of modern-day people coping with a global blackout starting with Last Light – Book One in the Restoration Series (2005, Zondervan Publishing). The story centers on the present-day upper middle class suburban Branning family who live comfortably with financial stability, healthy kids, a nice house, and an “average” community of home, church and work.
When the lights go out – literally – social order is fundamentally disrupted. and we are given the opportunity to explore human nature under pressure. All of a sudden, worldly success markers have no value. Instead, only resourcefulness and strength of character matter and ensure survival. Of course, not all those highlighted in the story rise to the challenge, and what follows in a page-turning adventure of one family and its fight to stay alive and maintain their humanity – with the help of God. Add into the mix a sociopathic murderer, a love triangle, and numerous plot twists and turns, and you have a ripping good story.
This story invites the question: if you or I were squeezed under severe conditions, what would come out? “Contents under pressure” is the phrase I use to warn my kids that I am stressed out and struggling to maintain my emotional equilibrium. But what would happen to us under the intense trials that Terri Blackstock dreams up?
In my opinion, Blackstock succeeds in creating a series that challenges readers to think. The “About” page on her website explains her vision further: “she felt drawn to write thrillers about ordinary people in grave danger. Her newly awakened faith wove its way into the tapestry of her suspense novels, offering hope instead of despair. Her goal is to entertain with page-turning plots, while challenging her readers to think and grow. She hopes to remind them that they’re not alone, and that their trials have a purpose.” (About the Author, www.terriblackstock.com)
The four books in the series constitute one seamless story. So if you want to know what happens in the end, plan on hanging in there for all four novels. My daughter brought books two and three along on vacation and whizzed through them, creating a reader’s panic which we resolved by visiting the local library in our vacation town to check out the final volume. I apologize in advance to my blogging friend, Susan, who recently sent me a pithy protest about series books: “Cutting off at the last page with a painful cliff-hanger makes me think again about reading them. I prefer books to be stand-alone, not force you to read the next one so you know what happens.” A plug for her blog, by the way – She has created an attic for her grandchildren based on the Narnia Chronicles!
The Restoration Series in order: Last Light (2005 Zondervan), Night Light (2006 Zondervan, True Light (2007 Zondervan), and Dawn’s Light (2008 Zondervan).
The Restoration books contrast sharply with the TV series created by Eric Kripke entitled “Revolution” (TV-14) which is in its second season on NBC. “Revolution” entertains the same premise – what would happen to the human race in a world without power? However, the exploration of the nature of man seems to run more to an alternate view that evil will most likely overtake good and a dystopian society has no Supernatural Force to help. The story also picks up fifteen years after the catastrophic event and shows a re-worked society with thugs and villains solidly in charge.
Reader Tip: if you don’t yet have one, get an account with http://www.goodreads.com which is a helpful website that provides an organized way to keep a list of books you want to read – Also, I find it helpful in keeping straight the publication dates for series I am reading which satisfies my personal compulsion to start with the first book in a series! It also gives opportunities to list and rate those books you have already finished. In addition, goodreads has a social media “friend factor” that allows an account holder to give and take recommendations from others.