Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Invitation

Invitation by Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt, Bill Myers, Alton Gansky
Baker Publishing group: 4/4/17
eBook review copy; 352 pages
ISBN-13: 9780764219740
Cycle One of the Harbingers Series

Invitation is a collection of four interconnected stories by authors Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt, Bill Myers, and Alton Gansky. This volume contains the first four stories in the Harbingers Series,  an ongoing series with additional stories already available that was created by these Christian authors. In the series a team of four widely diverse people join together to use their individual skills to solve a mystery or help someone.

The author's set up two rules for their collaboration:
Rule #1 Each author would write as one of the characters in the series: Bill Myers's character is Brenda, the street-hustling tattoo artist who sees images of the future. Frank Peretti's character is the professor, the atheist ex-priest ruled by logic. Angela Hunt's character is Andi, the professor’s brilliant but geeky assistant who sees inexplicable patterns. Alton Gansky's character is Tank, the na├»ve, big-hearted jock with a surprising connection to a healing power.
Rule #2 They would write the stories like a TV series with an overarching storyline. The series part would be their individual stories, novellas, written from their character’s point of view.

The first four stories in this volume include:
"The Call" by Bill Myers: We are introduced to the characters and their first team effort to help a student at the Institute for Advanced Psychic Studies.
"The Haunted" by Frank Peretti: The four try to solve a murder mystery centered around a mysterious house.
"The Sentinels" by Angela Hunt: Animals are mysteriously dying and discovered with their eyes missing.
"The Girl" by  Alton Gansky: A young barefoot girl is found holding a scroll after walking for miles in the snowy countryside.

There is no doubt that the writing is excellent and the individual stories are compelling; however, there are some pros and cons to the series. The premise that the stories are written like a TV series, with each story/author focusing on one character, is unique. This makes it easy to quickly read one story and know the next one will be a new adventure from a different character's point-of-view. This is also the downfall of the series - or at least this first volume. Because it is written as an ongoing series and this volume is just the first four stories, there is no concluding resolution and the character growth is limited.  Invitation is only the first four of the sixteen individual stories already written for the series.  In the end the real questions for readers are: Do you like episodic ongoing stories? How much time are you willing to invest in an ongoing series?

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of the publisher/author.

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