The Invisible Friend
A book review for parents
This third historical fiction book in the "Viking Quest" series by Lois Walfrid Johnson is published by Moody Publishers.
The Invisible Friend is written for kids ages 10 to 14. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Bree's life as a slave is off to a rough start because she insults an influential woman in the community. As Bree is introduced to her new home, God reminds her that He has her there for a reason. He has not forgotten her. Her brother Devin returns with ransom money, but her master Mikkel declares that Devin is still his slave. Devin is forced to remain until the following spring when his fate will be decided. Meanwhile, Bree and Devin are reunited with their sister Keely, who was taken by Viking marauders six years earlier. During the long winter months, Bree shares Jesus with her captors and others in the community. To her amazement, Mikkel's grandfather and grandmother tell her that they have been waiting for someone to tell them about Jesus. In the spring, Devin is granted his freedom, and a ransom is paid for Bree, but Bree exchanges her freedom for that of her sister and a friend.
The novel focuses on how God does not make mistakes. God knows that Devin and Bree are enslaved, and they realize that God has them in Norway for a reason. Even though they do not like where they are, they both come to the conclusion that God can use them in spite of their situation. The theme of sacrificial giving permeates throughout the book. Bree tries to explain how Jesus wants to be with people even though they have not acknowledged Him. Then she gives her freedom in exchange for her sister's and offers a ransom for a friend. Bree frequently explains what it means to be a follower of Jesus, and slowly, some of the main characters are able to see the emptiness of their gods and acknowledge the love of the true God. Bree emphasizes that although she is a slave, she is free in Christ and that those who choose to serve false gods are the ones truly enslaved.
Mikkel shows respect to his father and mother. Even though he goes against his father's wishes, he desires to be wise and imitate his father's ways. Bree shows honor to those she serves. Also, when she gives her word, she keeps it.
Other Belief Systems
The whole village goes to a religious ceremony where they call upon their gods for a ship's safe return. Bree is required to go, but she feels the dark coldness that comes from serving false gods and quickly leaves. Grandmother has dreams where a goddess in a fog is trying to take her, and she is petrified. Bree shares the Gospel with her, and when Grandmother accepts Christ, her nightmares disappear. As Bree tries to figure out what Grandmother's dreams are about, she asks Mikkel about their view of the afterlife. He shares with Bree that brave warriors go to a large and magnificent place that is filled with food and fighting. The old and the sick go to a place that is neither night nor day. Just, honest rulers go to a location that is filled with people like them.
Devin and Bree kiss and hug each other as brother and sister.
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- Where has Mikkel turned his focus?
What does God's Word say about becoming what we serve?
What or who have you chosen to serve?
- Does God still have control in difficult circumstances?
How have you seen God working through difficult times in your life?
How can you remember that God has a plan for you when things don't go the way you want them to go?
- What are Bree's and Devin's views on making promises?
When you make a promise do you take it as seriously as Devin and Bree?
What promises have you made but have never followed through?
What does God say about making and keeping promises?
Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.