I cannot remember whether the author contacted me for a review or I contacted her stating I will be reviewing/interviewing her after I purchased this book. Either way, I am glad I found this book. The Nephilim mentioned in The Omega Watchers is a favourite topic of mine as well as eschatology. Some Christians would not know what the Nephilim are or may not have studied eschatology and therefore may not be aware of the connection between these two in relation to the verse in Matthew 24: 37,
“As it was in the day of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”
I have read quite a bit about both topics and this connection to Matthew 24:37. The growing number of bible researchers/scholars and even devout bible students who study eschatology seem to all agree on the major details relating to these topics. It is from this perspective that I was hoping Hedrick would have shown in The Omega Watchers. I am pleased to say that she has! She has done a great job of it too! There is always the risk that when a complex topic/s like these are converted to the fiction arena, that the plot gets bogged down in too much information, derails the plot, becomes detached from it and the characters and is counterproductive. Not so in Hedrick's well-crafted novel. Both the plot and all the details relating to the Nephilim, Matt 24: 37 verse, alien visitation, end times deception/eschatology is carefully intertwined and forms a solid basis for this fast-paced, suspenseful edgy, speculative based novel.
However, I would not just leave it at that. Hedrick successfully entertains throughout even when delivering the vast amounts of information relating to the aforementioned topics. She has made it one engaging read and through this educates the reader in these issues and how the Gospel is embedded in this as well without it coming across as preachy or bible bashing Gabi and Caleb. It very much reminds me of how to witness to those who do not believe, be non-judgmental, non-condescending, not self-righteous, but love them, accept them as they are and build a relationship so there is a neutral platform to share the Gospel.
It is from this perspective that I believe this novel could be instrumental in ministering to the unbeliever in Christ, by exposing false doctrine of various New Age theologies and practice such as astral travel, ascended masters, everyone possessing godhood and god-like power of healing and peace. All the above are designed and constructed to deceive and encourage the human race to believe this lie while being bound by demonic strongholds. She successfully does this through the character of Gabi and her vulnerability from losing her mother when she was 5 years old and her father many years later.
I have always felt that when learning is made to be fun or enjoyable in a format that the student/learner is comfortable with, then the uptake and retaining of the learning is more successful and understanding is greater. I have had a better understanding of the topic outlined in this novel than if it had been in a non-fiction account. Putting in a fictional setting like this novel, then I can fully grasp this better. I believe that Christian fiction should not just entertain and educate as is evidenced successfully in this novel, but it should edify the believer as well. It should encourage their walk with Christ and their relationship with Him as well. For me, Hedrick is successful here.
Another aspect where the above characteristics of what I expect from Christian fiction is the spiritual aspects of this novel. Some Christian authors do not have the Christian's prayer stated in full as they feel it detracts from the action of the scene or plot and some readers don't like this either whether they are Christian or not. There may be some novels where it is appropriate to just state that there was prayer for peace, healing, salvation etc but in other novels, where it would be appropriate for full prayer inclusion and there is not, I feel this omission is a shame as this is real life for the Christian, and for the non-believer who may be offended by this, well, this is the Christian's reality and I don't believe a novel based on Christian/biblical themes should be watered down to be politically correct. Thankfully, Hedrick has not succumbed to this practice. In this novel, it is very appropriate for prayer to be included in full. I found this refreshing as the instances where they were praying were in times of spiritual warfare concerning their research, the car accident involving the Professor and when Gabi was under the influence of the spirit guide/demon. Spiritual warfare is serious and affects every aspect of our lives, whether we know it or not, and to have prayer shown in its fullness adds a necessary aspect of reality to the plot and to portray what happens in real life.
It was also refreshing to have God very much a part of this novel and not just mentioned. I appreciated that the author included the presence of God in a tangible way when the Omega Team prayed for the aforementioned instances and the final conflict when this demon disguised as an angel of light was in the final stages of encouraging Gabi to cross to the demonic side. Again, this shows the supernatural side of reality and the warfare of the spiritual realm. It was great that the Spirit of God and the power of His might was shown as it is in defeating the demonic stronghold over Gabi and for her to see the spirit guide for the demon that he is and that the truth of the bible and what had been witnessed to her by the Omega Team members was true.
My only criticism is that Gabi has been depicted as rather emotional and high demand and this becomes a bit annoying after a while, but I can see what could contribute to this with the loss of parents at an early age.
I have read other end-times novels and every author seems to have a different take on the bible verses that are relevant to the eschatology and their poetic license in translating this to the fictional setting. I liked what Hedrick has done in the novel. Her take is very concise and specific and adheres very well to the biblical record. The culmination of all the plot lines in this novel come together for one very memorable climax and leaves the reader on a cliff hanger. I only hope that the sequel is here sooner rather than later. I cannot wait to see what happens next and be further entertained, edified and educated in eschatology, spiritual warfare and demonology.
Putting all this together with relational characters and romance as a subplot, this is one very enjoyable read.
I am looking forward to the sequel, The Third Strand, to be released in the near future. If this current has left me on a cliffhanger, then I can feel assured that the next one is going to start on one as well and continue with a fast paced, thrilling, supernatural ride like this one.