3 out of 4 stars
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I found Spyder Bones by Oliver Phipps both intriguing and entertaining. This story of spiritual warfare during the ’60s reminds me a lot of Frank E. Peretti’s This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness.
I rate this novel 3 out of 4 stars, just deducting one star due to a few errant punctuation errors and head-hopping.
To summarize this story of good versus evil, Aaron aka Spyder re-enlists in the Viet Nam war. This time, he works for the medical unit and earns the nickname “Spyder Bones” from an old friend who also re-enlisted. During a rescue mission, he struggles to save a young private and in the process, he falls from the helicopter. As his body and soul are temporarily separated, yet held together by one thin spiritual strand, Aaron is then able to discern both angelic and demonic beings that other human beings cannot perceive. He survives but is then recruited for an even greater war—the war against good and evil. His adventures have him facing off against the worse of evil entities throughout the “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” scene of the 1960s.
What I liked most about this novel is the diverse characters, especially the lead character Aaron aka Spyder Bones. The Author Oliver Phipps has created an interesting and very colorful cast of characters. Each character was so well-developed they seemed like real, non-fictional people that you might know of in real life.
I liked the foreshadowing when his girlfriend Ping’s grandmother called him a “soldier of light.” I also liked the way the scenery of the world between life and death was described. Some chapters were really eerie and horrific, others encouraging and heartwarming. Some scenes were bittersweet. I also liked the realistic depiction of war and the turbulent sixties—Oliver Phipps doesn’t candy coat anything. Phipps also does a good job creating realistic dialogue.
I became totally engrossed in this story and empathized with Aaron to the point that I became worried about him. I had gotten completely emotionally involved and had to keep reminding myself that it was a fictional story.
What I disliked most was too much sexual content throughout the story and some head-hopping on Chapter 9 between Aaron and Sonya.
I don’t recommend this book to children or young readers, due to the questionable content and swearing (which starts on page 4). I do recommend it for people who like supernatural thrillers (mostly with a Christian-Judean perspective). Non-religious people may not be interested in this book due to these spiritual concepts.
However, spiritually religious adults like myself who like holy warfare stories with great action, realistic dialogue, and diverse characterization will love this story.
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