I wish I could remember the title of this one. I think it’s something like, “Between Two Worlds,” but I can’t find mention of this book anywhere, nor can I remember the author. I think it was self-published or possibly published by a very small publisher, which doesn’t help matters.
Anyway, I got a copy of this one during my early days of book reviewing, back when anyone approaching me with, “Want to review my book?” evoked a giddy thrill in me because holy crap, someone’s trying to pitch to me, that’s freaking awesome! The author informed me that it was a Christian fantasy tale intended for younger audiences, and I admit, that concerned me a little, but figured that hey, if Narnia can have heavy Christian themes and still be loved the world over, then I ought to at least give this one a chance.
The book started out in a way that made me raise an eyebrow. It takes place in Heaven, and apparently, everyone in Heaven reverts to being about 7 years old and eats cookies and plays all day, because hey, why not? Kids probably do think that’s what an ideal afterlife should be about. And since the book was geared toward kids in the first place, as much as that didn’t sound like a great afterlife to me, I let it slide.
Most of what I read of the book was odd, simplistic, and definitely full of preachy morality. Little Heavenly kids go to earth to save lost souls and bring them to the light. Not so much Christian fantasy and really evangelical Christian fantasy.
But the turning point for me was a scene in which some guy who’s been brought to Heaven by our little munchkins ends up running into the Good Prince, who’s a transparent expy for Jesus. And the Good Prince demands to know what this man’s doing in his domain, how did he get in, and before the guy can even start to explain, the Good Prince starts causing him severe pain and practically tortures him on the spot! Until the little tyke who brought him here runs up and goes, “Stop, he’s with me!” Then the Good Prince is all smiles and kindness.
So the moral of the story is that Jesus is totally cool with torturing people if there’s any sign at all that someone snuck into Heaven without his knowledge, I guess. And you know, I’m not Christian, but that was too painful for even me to take. This is supposed to be the good guy! In a sickly-sweet story for evangelical tykes! You’d think that the Good Prince would, I dunno, show some mercy and compassion and hear the guy out or something, but no. Jumps straight to torture, because someone wandered into the wrong section of his home without an escort.
Good thing he doesn’t throw many dinner parties…