This is an unabashedly churlish review of Alister McGrath’s new book The Aedyn Chronicles: Chosen Ones. It is based on a quick read of the first chapter. That first chapter was photocopied and handed to me — unsolicited mind you — from a pastor who is a big fan both of Alister McGrath the Theologian and of fantasy literature. So he had high hopes that the two might make a good mixture, kinda like ketchup and mustard.
Alas, the mix is more like ketchup and ice cream. (Now I recognize the possibility that somebody out there will say “Hey, I happen to like ketchup drizzled on ice cream.” Fair enough, then you may indeed be in that desperately small demographic that will enjoy this book. But those who find that combination distasteful should think twice.)
Here’s my cynical self thinking that Zondervan is going to market this as a stepping stone for Christian parents who want their kids to read Christian fantasy and have finished Narnia and have nowhere to go.
But I have a better idea. Rather than read “Christian” fantasy (whatever that is) why not read good fantasy? If the kiddies have finished The Last Battle and are not yet ready for The Hobbit, why not pass them a copy of Diana Wynn Jones’ Howl’s Moving Castle or Neil Gaiman’s Coraline or that seven volume chronicle of one Mr. Harry Potter?
It is important for a man to know his limitations. McGrath may be an eminently capable historical theologian, systematic theologian, and apologist, but to think he can handle this genre is, alas, itself a fantasy.
I warned you it was churlish.