A book review for parents
This first science fiction, fantasy book in the "Shadowside Trilogy" by Robert Elmer is published by Zondervan.
Trion Rising is written for kids ages 13 years and up. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Oriannon Hightower of Nyssa is the daughter of a prominent member of the Corista Assembly. She's spent her life memorizing the words of the holy Codex and watching her countrymen follow those laws religiously. But when a music teacher named Jesmet arrives with new ideas, healing powers and a song that stirs Oriannon's heart, she begins to wonder if there's more to life than just the rules of the Codex. The Assembly's hostility toward Jesmet grows; in time, he's banished to Shadowside and Oriannon follows him there to discover he has other followers who really feel and understand his song. Jesmet eventually is killed by the Assembly, but Oriannon returns to Shadowside to help her newfound friends and finds Jesmet is there, and alive!
This unique space-age allegory explores what happens when a young woman from a pharisaical society encounters a teacher (Jesmet) who puts life, meaning and music into the texts she's memorized from childhood. The Assembly spies on Jesmet, looking for a reason to condemn him as he heals, enlightens, and even raises a student from the dead. Phrases from the Codex, as well as incidental situations, clearly bring to mind messages from the Gospels. The theme of sacrifice echoes throughout Trion Rising, as both Jesmet and Oriannon make life-altering choices to save others.
Jesmet is a kind teacher who uses stories to capture the attention of his listeners. He heals and helps those in need, and he exudes a joy unfamiliar to Oriannon and her people. Oriannon's father, a powerful leader of the Coristan nation, repeatedly puts his loyalties to his coworkers and pharisaical beliefs ahead of his daughters needs and safety. He allows her to be injured by having her memories extracted, uses her to help capture Jesmet, and urges her to lie so that she won't be considered an accomplice in Jesmet's "crimes."
Other Belief Systems
The Assembly (representing the Pharisees and Saducees of Jesus' day) believes the Codex should be followed to the letter; they plot against anyone who challenges their traditions.
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- Oriannon made a few questionable choices, like disobeying her father and "borrowing" a vehicle with Margus.
How did she justify her actions?
- What would you have done in her situation?
- When Oriannon's father is trying to convince her to say she doesn't know Jesmet, he urges her not to "make herself confused" by thinking for herself, but to "just obey."
What did you think of that statement?
- Are there times we should just obey without asking questions?
- When is it important to question authority?
- Both Jesmet and Oriannon behaved sacrificially to save others' lives.
Who have you seen make a sacrifice like that?
- Could you make such a sacrifice?
- How did the Assembly resemble the Pharisees of Jesus' day?
- Do you think there are people like that today, who read God's word but don't really understand it?
- Why does it sometimes seem easier to follow a set of rules than to seek a relationship with Jesus?
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.