Night of the Living Dead Christian
This book is a bit of lighthearted - well, for the most part - Christian fiction. I'm reading it because the author's response to Geds' review of it got me interested. And since it is interesting, and since some of my Christian readers might be interested in something outside of the ordinary realm of "Christian Fiction," I thought I'd offer my responses to it.
This is not an especially long book, and it reads fairly quickly. That's not a complaint - by my standards Frankenstein is a short book, but that in no way detracts from the experience of it. Night of the Living Dead Christian is also, for the most part, funny. It's a particularly slapstick sort of humor, but it works. (The author refers to it as a "farce," and I think that's a pretty accurate description.)
Unfortunately, it does have some problems. The book is written entirely in the First Person, which would be fine except that there are two first-person narrators. One of them is Matt Mikalatos, which - if you're paying attention - is also the name of the author. Matt gets the slapstick, humorous bits of the narrative. The other narrator is Luther, a werewolf in search of a cure for his condition, who breaks in when the author wants to make more serious philosophical points. His sections were, at least for me, an unwelcome interruption in a story that was otherwise rather enjoyable. There are some other issues, too, but they'll require a much more detailed look at the narrative to explain, and they're probably things that a casual reader could easily ignore (or just overlook).
It's a Christian book, so of course it has a Christian message, but I have to say it's at least an interesting twist on the usual message. It's sort of Halloween Christianity: instead of just saying that we're all sinners and we need the redeeming love of Christ to be forgiven, the basic message is that we're all monsters, and we need the redeeming love of Christ to become fully human.
As a message, I'm not entirely sure it works - but note, among other things, that I am not a Christian, and therefore very definitely not the target audience for this book. Still... I think that would make an interesting Halloween sermon; I'm not sure the metaphor holds up so well when extended far enough to fill a book. The main issue I have is that "monster" is a rather more extreme term than "sinner" - all sins might be equal in God's eyes, but on a day-to-day basis most people don't consider, say, lying to a police officer about how fast you thought you were going to be morally equivalent to stabbing someone in the neck with an ice pick. So trying to say that we are all of us monsters seems to me to dilute the meaning of the word "monster".
Overall, I'd definitely recommend this to Christians looking for a fun and clever bit of explicitly Christian writing. It's a mildly subversive look at certain sorts of Christianity, and an interesting lense for examining Christian beliefs. I do have some issues with the story, but overall I think that it's a good fit for its intended audience.
Now, that's the short version of the review. I wanted to go ahead get this up in time for Halloween (though at least one of the people who I think would enjoy the book is on the wrong side of the world, and may very well be done with Halloween by now). I have a considerably more detailed look at the book - like, ten pages of review at present, and at least twelve by the time I get done writing it out - which I'll probably put up in sections when it's done. But in the meantime I have at least finished reading it, and hope to have a more thorough examination of it ready soon.