This fantasy book is the second in the "Codebearers Series" by the Miller Brothers and is published by Warner Press.
Hunter Brown and the Consuming Fire is written for kids ages 10 and up. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
In Solandria, Xaul, an evil Xin Warrior, hates the Codebearers. To avenge his people, Xaul has a Veritas sword fashioned for his own evil purposes. Meanwhile, in the city of Destiny, Hunter Brown adjusts to being back at Destiny High School as a sophomore. No one believes his stories about Solandria, and Hunter tries to figure out how to live according to the Author's Writ around those who do not believe.
There is a new student at Destiny High named Rob. Hunter eventually realizes that Rob is also a believer, and during an excursion to the local fair, Rob, Hunter and a girl named Trista are forced to fight against the Dispirits from Solandria. They are quickly transported by Hunter's old friend Faith to Solandria and to the freezing cold of Galacia Shard.
Three years have passed in Solandria since he left. He is disheartened to find the Resistance scattered and Shadow in control. Petrov, the commander of the Resistance, is slowly dying from a wound inflicted by Xaul and the refashioned Veritas sword. But Petrov still has hope; he has been given the Flame. Hunter is drawn to it, and Petrov reads to him the prophecy. Hunter is given the mission of taking the Flame to its next destination to find the others to be marked by it, seven in all. Rob and Trista go with him.
Throughout the mission, the three teenagers mature individually and in their friendship. Rob becomes bold, Trista begins to believe in the Author, and Hunter grows in strength in his own beliefs. Six out of the seven are found and marked by the Flame when Hunter and Trista are drawn back into the world of Destiny to help Cranton, the bully of their school, in a life-or-death situation. Hunter succeeds in saving Cranton's life, and as emergency personnel check him and Cranton, Cranton is taken away in an ambulance, and Hunter is placed in a white van. While saving Cranton, Hunter became the seventh to be marked by the Flame. Those in the white van notice the marking. They give him a shot, and he gets the feeling that something is wrong.
The Author's Writ is true, full of life and prophecies. The Author has a purpose for everything and whatever He does is perfect. The Author's plan is not always obvious, but there is no such thing as luck, and the Author is always in control. The Author gives the disciplines to those who study the Code of Life, and people are transformed. The Author gives assurance, power and hope when needed. Because the Author created everything, all things — even bad circumstances — have a purpose. The Author helps Sam, Hunter's former teacher in Solandria, in his time of need.
The Codebearers are able to see the Author in all circumstances and place their trust in Him. Plus, they know that no one deserves to be chosen by the Author. The Codebearers quote the Author's Writ while fighting battles, and because of the Author, they know that they are never alone. They also know that it's impossible for anything to come from nothing; something is responsible for the creation of everything.
Petrov, the leader of the Resistance, reads the Author's Writ and prays. Petrov points out that he can only give what the Author has given him, but he is willing to part with what the Author has given him at any time.
After Aviad, the Author's Son, united the two Bloodstones in himself, He died and the curse of death was lifted.
Hunter has visions, and the Author's Words are spoken through him.
Hunter listens to the voice of the Flame and trusts the Flame to lead him in the right direction. Hunter is also able to forgive because he remembers how the Author has forgiven him. At one point, Hunter has nothing left so he has to completely trust the Author. Toward the end of the book, Hunter is miraculously healed.
Hope, Hunter's companion, is from the Author. Eventually, Hunter has to release Hope and trust the Author's plan. At the very end of the story, the Author sends Hope to save Hunter.
In this book, Hunter's mom is now working full time at a job that takes a lot of her time and energy. She is not around much. Hunter's sister is responsible for waking Hunter up for school. She is bossy and is easily exasperated by Hunter.
Mr. Strickland is the new high school principal. He is an ex-military man and deals with students accordingly. He was going to suspend Hunter without giving Hunter a chance to defend himself, but Ms. Sheppard, the school counselor, interrupts the process of suspension. Ms. Sheppard takes over and tries to get Hunter to talk about his life. Eventually, he opens up to her about Solandria. She tries to convince him that he has his own inner strength so everything is his choice, not the Author's or anyone else's. She suggests to Hunter that the whole world of Solandria is a fantasy that is only in his mind. It helps him deal with what is going on in his life. This is confusing to Hunter as is the crystal ball that Ms. Sheppard has.
Hunter and Trista become prisoners of the Scourge. Their names are taken away, and they are known only as numbers. If they disobey any rule, they are punished severely. They are given a way to escape: If they are willing to denounce the Author, they can leave the area of punishment.
The Scourge and Xaul both try to have authority over Hunter by making him doubt the Author's plans and his part in them.
On the other hand, Petrov, the commander of the Resistance, wants to hear Hunter's story and listens carefully to it. Hunter also finds Sam again and watches as Sam refuses to keep quiet about the Author, regardless of the punishment. Sam even stands up to Sceleris and is willing to die for his belief in the Author.
Other Belief Systems
Mr. Tanner, Hunter's biology teacher, insists that everything happens by accident. He believes that given enough time, anything can happen.
Ms. Sheppard tries to persuade Hunter that the Author and Solandria are all in his mind. She believes that everyone has an inner strength and a second vision.
Sceleris tells the prisoners in Dolor that if they are willing to serve him instead of the Author, they will be free.
The Xin believe that they are the Author and that the Author is in them. They are in charge of their own lives. They believe that they are perfected through pain — the more torture they endure, the better they are. They have to earn their way to be worthy of perfection and power.
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- Hunter's family and best friends do not believe his stories about the Author. His friends even start to avoid him.
Have you ever felt lonely because of your beliefs?
What did you do?
Would you do anything different?
- Hunter does not understand Rob's clumsiness and fear. Even though he is the only other believer that Hunter knows in Destiny, Hunter still has a hard time being around him.
Have you ever had a hard time being around someone else?
Were you able to resolve the problem?
- Xaul allows his sadness over the loss of his people to turn into bitterness and anger. He eventually becomes as evil as Shadow, the one who destroyed his people.
How do you think this happened?
Has your sadness ever turned to bitterness or anger? If so, how?
Do you feel good when you're bitter or angry?
How did you or can you move away from bitterness?
- Hunter eventually realizes that Boojum is a distraction in the mission that the Author has given him.
In what situations did Boojum distract Hunter?
What types of things distract you in your life?
How often does this happen?
What do you do to get back on track?
- Rob slowly changes.
What circumstances occur that lead to his change?
What are the differences you see in Rob at the beginning of the book compared to the end of the book?
What types of circumstances have led to changes in your own life?
Did you realize you were changing while you were in the middle of the circumstance or after it was over?
- At the end of this book, Hunter's fate is uncertain.
What do you think is happening?
Do you think Hunter is safe or in danger?
How would you begin the next book?
What do you think happened to Trista and Rob?
Do you think all three of them will stay friends?
- Cranton has been a bully in books one and two of this series.
What new insight are you given about Cranton?
How does this information change the way you think about him?
Do you know anyone like him?
Why do people like Cranton act the way they do?
What can you do to help them?
- It is unclear what has happened to Hunter's father, but Hunter knows that his father has been in Solandria and that he had his own Veritas sword.
What do you think has happened to Hunter's father? Why?
How do you think Hunter feels about his father's disappearance? Why?
- The Author does not give Hunter and his group detailed instructions. He gives them only the next step, and even then it is not always clear.
In your own life, has God given you a clear plan of what He wants you to do?
When has He given you just the next step?
How hard is it for you to take that step not knowing what the next one will be? Why is that?
- Throughout this book, Hunter battles his own doubts about the Author. Many of his enemies choose to reinforce his doubts as a way to make Hunter turn away from the Author.
What types of doubts do you battle?
What did Hunter do to battle his doubts?
What do you do?
What would be a good verse to memorize to help you in the midst of your battles?
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