Into the Book

6

Beyond the Reflection's Edge - Bryan Davis

Recommended
Sixteen-year-old Nathan Shepherd has anything but a normal life. His mother is one of the greatest violinists in the world, and his father is an investigator who travels all over in the most dangerous situations. All his life, Nathan has been trained by them both, and has participated in both worlds -- the musical and the dangerous -- along with his parents.

One night, all that changes when his parents are found brutally murdered.

Nathan is sent to live with his father's best friend, Tony Clark, and Tony's capable, attractive daughter Kelly, but he has many questions. Who killed his parents and why? Who can he trust? And what is the secret of the small mirror that his father entrusted him with shortly before his death?

When the mirror begins to show things that don't exist, Nathan knows that something is wrong, and he and Kelly set out to gather more information. But it soon becomes clear that there is a whole lot more going on than either of them ever dreamed of.

With three worlds at stake, danger threatening at every turn, more mysteries than answers, and nothing as it seems, can a sixteen-year-old boy do what it takes to turn the tide of evil?

The first book in Davis's Echoes From the Edge series, Beyond the Reflection's Edge had me absolutely hooked from page one. I had never read Davis's work, and I was immediately enchanted by his prose and his believable, endearing characters, as well as the incredibly complex plot and interesting ideas. The adventure never drags, and I found myself falling in love with all the main characters, and many of the secondary characters, while hating the villains as every good villain should be hated.

I was especially drawn in by the relationship between Nathan and Kelly. It seems at times that half the books I read which involve young romance are impure or at best unwise, while the other half feature unrealistically perfect characters who are never even tempted. Not so in this book. Nathan and Kelly become incredibly close throughout their adventures, and Kelly clearly longs for a man like Nathan in her life. Nathan is very drawn to Kelly, but time and time again resists the temptation to cross the line physically, or give his heart away. He loves her, despite her tainted past, but he stays consistently true to his commitment to purity, and trusts his father's wisdom and advice.

The book contains multiple dimensions, each with its own copies of the same people. While this makes for great reading and some wonderful plot twists, it can be seen to mess with theology, since it means that there are multiple "versions" of each person, which brings up some sticky theological questions -- are they truly the same people? If so, does a single person have multiple souls? If they are different people, yet exactly the same, down to DNA and circumstances (until things start being interfered with), then are they really different in any significant way, other than occupying different space? These sorts of questions bugged me mildly throughout the book, and while I wouldn't write something that messed with theology this much, I don't know that there's necessarily anything inherently wrong in doing so, and in all likelihood it won't bother most readers at all.

Near the beginning of the book, when Nathan and Kelly attend school together for the first time, there's a lot of spiteful teasing from Kelly's schoolmates about her relationship with Nathan -- as well as hints about her previous romantic relationships. Innuendos such as "I guess living together gives you a lot of -- opportunities" pop up a number of times, discreet but obvious. The whole thing is handled very well and properly, but it bears mentioning.

There are also a number of disturbing elements -- people having their eyes burned out, extremely high danger levels, a devastating plane crash, injuries, and more. The intensity level would probably reach PG-13 in a movie, despite not being graphic or gratuitous -- it's necessary and well-handled, but definitely intense.

At times the storylines can be a little bit hard to follow, being so incredibly complicated as to be almost dazing, but the story never quite loses you. Davis's world is internally consistent enough that even when things get confusing, you trust that it will become clear in time, and in the meantime, you just focus on keeping up with the chilling, rapidly paced story.

Finally, the book ends at a horrible place, being the first in a trilogy. Thankfully, I own the second book and was able to pick it up right away and continue the adventure!

I was incredibly impressed with Beyond the Reflection's Edge, and highly recommend it to young adults looking for an engrossing read full of wonderfully endearing characters and unforeseeable plot twists. Review of the second book, Eternity's Edge, coming soon!
Grace Pennington is a homeschool graduate, a prolific writer, and the oldest of nine kids. She's partial to Charles Dickens, C.S. Lewis, Louisa May Alcott, and Daniel Schwabauer, but will consider almost any book. Most of all, she loves Jesus and desires to live her life for Him.

6 comments:

  1. I'm very interested in this one... Great review!

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    1. Thank you, Aubrey! It's definitely worth reading. :D

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  2. Sounds interesting! I'lk have to find a copy!

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    1. It is interesting! Hope you enjoy it if you do read it!

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  3. Smashing review, Grace.

    Davis' books all seem to have a bit of that... 'tinge' theologically. I noticed it in the 'Dragons in our Midst' series, but I wasn't able to quite put my finger on it, either. It's enough, though, that it's noticeable. And he tends to deal with some subjects that aren't really touched on in books, which I think is why one ends up being uncertain.

    Andrew

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    1. Thank you, Andrew! Yes, it's elusive, and very thought-provoking, if a little caution-inducing. I'd be interested to read some of his other books. :)

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