3 out of 4 stars
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Certain people are said to "try the patience of a saint." Well, I'm not sure about any saints, but Lilly Faithe Christians is certainly enough to try the patience of Corinthian Angel Creation Of God - Cori, for short - in Joseph L. Marshall's book, Lilly And The Angel - Volume 1: The Story of Snuggle Bug.
Lilly is a six-year-old who has recently been a bit of a headache for her mother, Faithe, and her rebellion culminates in a week-long punishment. Meanwhile, Corinthian has been demoted in Heaven, but he still has hopes of becoming a Guardian Angel (author's capitalization). When God assigns Corinthian the task of getting Lilly back on the straight and narrow, the job proves to be anything but easy for the human-averse angel.
Having read the description when I selected this book, I already knew that Lilly was going to get on my nerves, but I didn't realize that she'd jump all over them like they were a trampoline park! As the mother of a particularly obstinate (now adult) offspring with a bad mouth, I could empathize with Faithe, and I wanted nothing more than to hop into the book and administer some corporal punishment to her brat! Even so, about a third of the way into the book, I started to sympathize with Lilly when she was the butt of the mean girls' jokes at school, as that too is a position I've been in. Her recent woes caused me to shed a tear as well. Sadly, my sympathy didn't last long, as Lilly was learning nothing from being on the receiving end of bad attitudes. Cori also started off on my bad side, but he grew on me after a while. Still, like the less-than-perfect angels from the television series Supernatural, he too had a long way to go, and he left me shaking my head more than a few times. Aside from Faithe and her friend Grace, the only really good characters on Earth were Lilly’s pet frog, Lucas, and her stuffed animal, Snuggle Bug.
Since this is a spiritually-based book, Lilly's faults, such as selfishness and stubbornness, take the form of actual evil spirits that only Cori can see. I thought that the Aegis' battles with the spirits were quite lively, and I found myself on the edge of my seat during such scenes, especially during the last tenth of the book. Overall, I think that Lilly and the Angel is a great book for juveniles, who can surely empathize with Lilly over her mean mommy. Hopefully, though, they won't stop with merely seeing themselves in the young lead but will question why they feel and act as they do, as that's a lesson I'm sure the author is trying to get across.
The first page of each chapter in this tale includes a relevant illustration. The images are black-and-white line drawings - though I'm not sure whether or not they're colorized in the physical book - but I still found them to be interesting to look at, and I often used the zoom feature in my e-reader so I could study all the details. Really young children, however, will likely not be satisfied with a book that's far more text than pictures.
Even though I found Lilly and the Angel to be a great spiritual journey, there were a few gaffes in the book, mostly grammatical errors. The biggest typographical mishaps were issues with punctuation, but there were also a few missteps with verb agreement and hyphenated words in addition to several syntax faux pas. Additionally, the author was inconsistent with his capitalization of “Heaven” as well as "His" and "Him" when referring to God. One other thing that stuck out to me was Faithe's failure to hear screaming matches between Lilly and Cori; I'm assuming that Lilly's room was not soundproof.
It really saddens me to give this yarn a less-than-perfect score, but I am rating it 3 out of 4 stars, mostly due to the aforementioned grammatical lapses. Even so, I have no hesitation in recommending this book to Christian tweens and parents along with people of any faith who enjoy a good battle with literal spirit monsters. Nonbelievers, though, may find the tale too heavy-handed about godly matters. I also warn potential readers that this is book one of three, and while it doesn't end with a cliffhanger, per se, it does leave many ends untied. I couldn't find books two and three online anywhere, so I don't think Mr. Marshall has finished them yet.
You must accept that there is beauty in even the worst of people, unbelievable strength in the weakest of creation, even though you yourself may not see it!"- God, Lilly And The Angel.
Lilly And The Angel - Volume1
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