Review: TRION RISING [and] THE OWLING [and] BEYOND CORISTA / by Robert Elmer

Trion rising (The Shadowside trilogy, 1) / by Robert Elmer.

The Owling (The Shadowside trilogy, 2) / by Robert Elmer.

Beyond Corista (The Shadowside trilogy, 3) / by Robert Elmer.

MS (HS)  Grades 6-9  Rating: 5

Robert Elmer, a well-known author of more than forty novels, takes a premise, once presented by C. S. Lewis in his science fiction trilogy, and rewrites it for today’s youth. The premise is, “What would it be like if Jesus had come to another planet?”

The Shadowside Trilogy is an excellent science fiction series, written by an accomplished storyteller whose first two books in this series were nominated for the American Christian Fiction Writers (Young Adult) award in 2009.

Elmer has done a wonderful job of developing a plot and characters that draw the reader in. In the first book, self-centered Oriannon struggles as she decides whether to stay true to her comfortable life or to follow her heart and Jesmet’s teachings. The subsequent books find her continuing to struggle with the decision to follow his teachings as she has her faith tested.

In addition, Elmer employs science fiction elements that make this a delightful read: stun batons, ear buds, and lev-scooters, as well as lots of action and a retelling of the gospel story that is not preachy. Plot twists, action and no concerns about inappropriate language make this an excellent choice for fifth grade students and older, especially those who like allegory, fantasy, and science fiction.

In Trion Rising, Oriannon lives on the bright side of the planet, Corista. She has the power of being able to record everything she sees and hears. Her life is turned upside down when Jesmet, a music teacher arrives at her school with strange new songs and ideas. Is her friend Margus right about Jesmet?

When she loses her way on the dark side of Corista, Oriannon is rescued by the very people she had been taught to despise. When they are in danger, she is forced to make some difficult choices.

In The Owling, Oriannon has returned to the Brightside and is recruited to help carry out a plan for peace. Oriannon must decide if Sola ‘s proposal for peace is really an evil plot against the Owlings, and if so, what to do about it.

In Beyond Corista, Oriannon and her friends, Margus and Wist, are on a dangerous mission  — warning other way stations of impending doom. As she is met with disbelief, she soon begins to wonder if the threat is real and if her visits from Jesmet were a hallucination.

Recommended for all middle school and teen collections in public and school libraries.

–reprinted with permission, Christian Library Journal, May 2010.

Disclaimer: Book reviews are my opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.

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