A book review for parents
This supernatural thriller is the first book in the "Watchers Chronicles" series by Dawn Miller and is published by Zondervan.
The Prophecy is written for teens ages 15 to 18. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Seven years have passed since Sam, his adopted brother, Jonah, Carly, Jeremiah (nicknamed J) and Jenna were close friends in middle school. At 19, Sam now lives in St. Louis. Jonah is trying to become a musician in the same city, but is caught in the party scene. Jenna returns to St. Louis as a single parent of 5-year-old Mikey; J is a hired gun in Chicago and takes a "job" in St. Louis; and Carly leaves Miami to return home to St. Louis to visit her dad.
They each have been having nightmares and memory flashes about rescuing Jonah from a trash dumpster and other situations they shared when they were younger. Some are attacked by life-threatening encounters arranged by evil angels (MazziKim) but are spared when good angels (Irinim) intervene. The five friends are able to physically hear, see and even smell an alternate dimension around them, in which the battle between the forces of good and evil is raging. As they make decisions or remember the past, they hear both the good and the evil voices speaking into their minds, trying to urge them to do things.
A group called the Resistance, made up of spiritual people, study ancient texts, watch strange weather patterns and monitor developments around the world. All of the signs point to increased spiritual activity converging on St. Louis. They sense that, according to a prophecy, the Watchers — the five friends converging on St. Louis — will be key players in the coming battle between good and evil.
Nick Corsa wants to harness the Watchers' powers for his own ambitious plan. He is the one who had a job for J. J is supposed to betray his friends to help Corsa's cause. While this is unfolding, Corsa captures and murders Sam.
Jonah tries to figure out what happened to his brother and suspects Corsa, but first he must battle his addictions. To get away from his drugs, Jonah throws them out the car window. A policeman sees what he did, and Jonah is taken to jail. Then Corsa's organization captures Jenna and her son, Mikey.
When a good angel helps Jonah break his addictive behavior, Jonah realizes that this angel has helped him before. He prays for a miracle, something he hasn't done since he was 10. Professor Kinney, part of the Resistance, posts Jonah's bail. He and another Resistance member help Jonah and Carly decipher the symbols, doors and inscribed letters on paintings Sam made before he died. As they do this, the Resistance members share about the ongoing battle between good and evil, the Irinim and the MazziKim. They show Jonah several leather-bound journals written by people just like Jonah, who have been Watchers throughout the centuries.
J thinks Corsa is framing him when he is asked to "clean up another mess." J arrives at the dock and discovers his grandmother lying between two crates. Thinking she is dead, he admits that he can't do things his way anymore. He hears a voice that says he was created to do something better and accepts that he is a Watcher.
As the Resistance asks God to guide the Watchers, Jonah, Carly and J rescue Jenna and Mikey. In the end, Carly believes that Jonah is the key to the prophecy about the Watchers and that faith plays a major role what is about the happen.
The five main characters are strong in their faith when they are in middle school, but at the book's opening, they are involved in the things of the world. Although there are some references to Christianity throughout the story, these references come mainly through the words that the good warrior angels speak into the minds of the Watchers or through members of the Resistance. The members of the Resistance explain what has been foretold in the Bible and what has been recorded about momentous events in history. They also interpret what is taking place spiritually. By the end of the story, the remaining Watchers realize that they have forgotten much of what they knew as children. Still, their faith has sustained them amid spiritual warfare.
Sam is the leader of the five friends, and each looks to him for guidance and direction. Professor Garrett Kinney, TJ Levine and Carly's father, Chaplain Hagan, help the Watchers understand who they are and guide them to understand how the prophecy is being fulfilled through them.
Other Belief Systems
When the Watchers were young, they spent most of their time together. One year at Mardi Gras, they visited a fortuneteller who gave them a prophecy that Sam would be a warrior who is powerless, Carly a child who is motherless, J a friend who betrays, Jenna a mother who is childless, and Jonah a brother who is brotherless.
The Grigori are fallen angels whose agenda is to destroy all of humanity by killing the Watchers, and the MazziKim are evil spirits that have come from the union of Grigori with human women. Nick Corsa carries a copy of the book Die Geheime Lehre, which is based on Aztec mythology. It includes mantras and incantations, and written on the title page are the names "Adolph" and "Dietrich Eckart" along with a faded sketch of a pentagram. A deck of tarot cards is spread across a coffee table at Corsa's house with the one card lying face-up. This reminds Carly of something from one of Sam's paintings.
A few times the phrase, "what the…" is used (with the final word left out). A mild word, freaking, is also used, as is the term Village-of-the-
The descriptions of the fallen angels, the Grigori and MazziKim, are graphic as these creatures morph into other forms that appear to be alien — with shimmering or scaly skin, glowing eyes and heights of 10 feet or more.
Sam and his girlfriend kiss, as do Jonah and Carly.
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- Why do you think the Watchers have drifted apart after having been such a close circle of friends in their middle-school years?
Why might their faith have dwindled?
How could not keeping in touch with good Christian friends hurt your relationship with God? Explain.
- How do Sam, Jenna, Carly, and J rescue Jonah?
What would you do if you found yourself in a situation like they did?
- Have you ever sensed that you were being prompted to do something that you didn't think was right?
How did you keep from following through on that temptation?
- What kind of spiritual warfare is going on in this book?
What kind of spiritual warfare goes on around you?
How is it the same?
How is it different?
What part does free will play into this?
- How might dabbling in drugs make one more susceptible to other temptations?
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.