Monday, October 11, 2010


Interesting title, huh? I doubt I would have ever looked at this book except for the fact that it was recommended by Ted Dekker, who is coauthoring with Tosca Lee a book series to be released next year.

Demon is a Christian novel, the fictional memoir of a demon named Lucian, who tells his story to editor and divorcee Clay. Clay's name is symbolic, as we discover when Lucian retells the familiar story of the Fall of angels and humanity and the Redemption of the "clay people." But don't dismiss the story for its supposed familiarity because Tosca Lee writes from the viewpoint of a demon, reshaping and transforming all you ever thought you knew about God's incredible love for humankind. Yes, despite the words being from a demon, this is ultimately a love story, a retelling of the greatest love story of all time, a true love story. I'm a Christian, and I make no apologies. Although Demon is fictional, I believe in the story Lucian tells.

Essentially, it's this. Angels lived in perfect harmony with God, their creator. Then some rebelled, led by Lucifer. Lucian was one of those who followed Lucifer. One mistake, one sideways glance, so to speak, and they were doomed to the ticking of time, to an eventual end in Hell. Then God created creatures of clay, mud. He breathed his very own life into them, and he called them his children. From a demon's viewpoint, this was amazing and so, so unfair. They'd never been or pretended to be anything close to God's children. And then the clay people turned against God...again and again and again through the ages. Mistake after mistake, not once but innumerable times. And God forgave them, ultimately becoming a perfect sacrifice so that they would be forgiven for eternity. Where do the demons come in? They were jealous. For one mistake, they were doomed. And they were flabbergasted at how humanity took their forgiveness for granted, even within the church. It made them angry, and so all they could do was try to doom as many humans with them as possible.

I, at least, had never considered why demons are the way they are. They rebelled. End of story. But it's not, really. As Lucian points out, their story is really our story. They hate us because of our privileged position, and we take it all for granted too much of the time. This story will make you think, and for that, it's worth the read.

But if you are looking for a novel, this isn't really it. C. S. Lewis wrote The Screwtape Letters. Fictional, but not a novel. Demon is slightly more novel-like in that it also tells the story of Clay, who's writing down the demon's memoir, but mostly, you'll feel like you're reading an expanded account, the dark side's account, if you will, of Biblical history. Great for provoking thought, but misleading if you think you're getting a spellbinding, entertaining story. Although it was interesting enough, it didn't hold me like a novel usually does. I don't like to know the ending of books, and I kind of knew where this one was going.

I had one argument with the author's portrayal of demons. Lucian seemed to be able to read Clay's mind, and I'm not sure I believe demons can do that. God can, of course. He's omniscient (all-knowing). It sometimes seemed that Lucian was too, but that was explained by the fact that the demons know each other's minds and Lucian wouldn't have had to be at Clay's side all his life to know the most intimate details as relayed to him by the Legion. Also, his ability to predict occurrences in Clay's life is explained by the fact that Lucian has observed the entirety of humanity's existence, leaving him with a pretty good hold on predicting what a human will do next. I buy that. Perhaps Lucian only appeared to be reading Clay's mind, by the same trick, but the author isn't clear on that point.

Another thing my husband pointed out is that the angels weren't tempted to rebel, while humans were. That, at least, is one distinction that Lucian didn't acknowledge as he complained about God's injustice in forgiving the humans again and again. However, the author notes her research at the end of her book, and it is undeniably a well-thought-out piece of fiction.

Two stars for story. Four stars for provoking thought.

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