As a young teen, it was end-times novel Left Behind that first taught me how to say “yes” to Jesus.
As a new Christian, it was C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia that opened my heart’s door to the unchanging character and neverending love of God.
As a young wife and mother searching for help, Karen Kingsbury’s inspirational stories wove hope through my story.
Because stories have the power to reach our hearts in ways that no sermon, lecture, or instructional book can. Stories connect with the deepest parts of us. Stories can speak to us even on our tired days, our confused days, our feeling-far-from-God days. Stories whisper hope to our weary hearts because they have this unique way of saying, “me too”. If you had walked this earth two thousand years ago and strolled by our Savior, you would have seen Him at the top of the hill, surrounded by hungry crowds, speaking hope to all… through stories.
But we’re not living two thousand years ago. When stories were a way of life and family members handing them down to each other was the norm. When deceitful messages and destructive images didn’t blare at children from billboards, TV screens, and even from inside the pages of a book.
We are living in Today. Today, when I hope to raise children who not only know and serve the God I love, but feel and believe like they are part of His story. Today, when I know that my grade-school daughters will tomorrow be rapidly growing teens who need adventure, need inspiration, need the power of a good story just as much as the teens of yesterday. Today, when I’m praying for tales and heroes and themes that usher in so much hope and truth, there will be no room left in our imaginations for shame or confusion.
And Hope is what Priscilla Shirer has written in her beautiful series of juvenile fiction, the “Prince Warriors” trilogy. I’ve been privileged enough to read and review the third book in this epic trilogy, “The Prince Warriors and the Swords of Rhema.”
In the “Prince Warriors” trilogy, Shirer unwraps for us the fascinating spiritual world of Ahoratos. Sometimes Ahoratos is so beautiful it takes your breath away. Other times the scent of evil in that otherworldly realm is so near it stops you in your tracks. At all times you’re drawn into that world, sharing adventures on its bright and beautiful slopes, its narrow and dark stairways. As you turn the pages, you find you’re climbing steep mountains with Finn, thrusting swords at your enemy with Levi, banging on prison bars with Ivy.
With this series, Shirer has plunged headfirst into juvenile fiction, creating beautiful stories that I look forward to sharing with my children when they’ve moved beyond the world of Seuss. When they’re ready for adventure, imagination… and when that glimmer of adolescence begins to shine on their souls and whisper to them of the battle between good and evil in this world.
You see, Shirer has done more than provide us with a safe alternative to vampires, witches and wizards…
She’s provided inspiration for the very real battles our youth are facing Today. Her characters don’t just fight Forgers, and ride dragons, and get tangled up in the claw-like limbs of giant trees… they deal with heart issues like anger, and jealousy, and feelings of unworthiness.
The “Prince Warriors” trilogy tackles spiritual warfare — lies and deceit and faith and the disciplined use of the Word of God — as a key theme. But Shirer doesn’t just quote a few verses from Ephesians Chapter Six and expect her readers to “get it”…
The boots, and the helmet, the shield and the sword, are described so beautifully that you can’t wait to put yours on, too.
And though her setting is anything but ordinary…
She’s painted a picture of young people who are just like you and me, just like anyone you might meet walking down your own block. Her characters aren’t airbrushed, aren’t perfect… but they aren’t afraid of their flaws. Because they’re learning to trust the Source who transforms, who heals, who provides.
And maybe that’s why almost from the moment this book popped into my mailbox, I found myself sucked in to the pages.
Maybe that’s why even though the spine says “Juvenile Fiction,” it spoke to my heart too.
Because if Manuel can practice discernment when he meets a smooth-talking liar, maybe I can too.
If Levi can say, “Your words aren’t going to bother me,” to his soul’s worst enemy, because he’s got on that helmet of faith… maybe I can too.
If the kids can fight lies with the truth, one thought at a time, one Word at a time, one clang of the sword after another… maybe I can too.
If Finn and Levi and Mr. J. Ar can travel down winding staircases, through narrow hallways, and into the darkness, “one step at a time”, trusting their ever-present guide… maybe I can too.
If Shirer’s true-to-life characters can find forgiveness with each other, find hope to believe again, after trials and tears… maybe I can too.
And most of all… if the Prince Warriors can find healing, find wholeness, only for the asking, simply because they’re trusting in the One who called them… maybe I can too.
Friends, if you’re looking for for action-packed stories and adventure, for your middle-grade children or even for yourself, I would highly recommend Priscilla Shirer’s Prince Warrior’s series. You can find the book I’ve reviewed here, “The Prince Warriors and the Swords of Rhema”, at LifeWay.
Trusting in our Source, in our ever-present Guide, in the One who calls us, together,