Monday, January 21, 2013

Fear and Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore - CSFF Blog Tour

Julie here for the CSFF Blog Tour! This month the book is Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore (website, Facebook).  

Angel Eyes is about two teens' journey through the world of something most people never see: angels and demons.

In Dittemore's view, it seems that most of all, demons love fear. Here is how an angel sees fear:

She's on the phone, her back stiff, the black tar of fear soaking through her shirt and pouring thickly onto the floor. A fog rises like steam from the muck and settles heavily around them. From under her blond hair, the clingy substance oozes, running the length of her body. Her hands shake, desperate to be rid of it...

If human beings could only see the manifestation of such a weapon, they would understand how it paralyzes, literally holding them captive with the glue of it.

And later, from a demon's point of view:

...but Damien finds little delight in the pain he's inflicted.

Pain is not nearly as satisfying as fear.

I thought the description of fear was interesting (and often disgusting). I think it's a good lesson for us to think about--especially for a book directed toward teen girls, who, I think even more than most people, tend to be terrified of what others will think. I know I still struggle with fear of putting myself out there, even though Jesus gives us freedom from fear. (and even though I'm far from a teenager)

That said, I it Biblically accurate, that demons love fear even more than pain? When their mission (even in the book) is to steal, kill, and destroy?

Of course, the Bible repeatedly instructs us to "fear God."
 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.  --Luke 12:4-7 (NIV 1984)

Getting into the actual meaning of "fearing God," contrasted with the Biblical commands to "not fear," is outside the scope of my discussion here. OK, mostly I'm not knowledgeable enough to get into it, though if you have any thoughts, I'd be interested to hear.

On the other side of fear, even ignoring the fear the Israelites' enemies certainly would have felt, just looking up the word "fear" comes up with a lot of instances of fear that doesn't seem to be against God's will. For instance, people fear the Jews (Deuteronomy 11:25; Esther 8:17) , and God Himself threatens or promises to punish Israel by what they fear, if they're unfaithful (Ezekiel 11:8; Leviticus 26:36). In the New Testament, even Jesus calming the storms made his disciples afraid (Luke 8:25). I don't like to think that after Jesus performed an amazing miracle, his disciples were covered in the sticky black tar of fear, demons looking on in glee.

Anyway, I wouldn't say the "fear" imagery is anti-Biblical, per se, though I'm not convinced in the world outside of the book, "fear" is always a bad thing. I see the book as more extra-Biblical, speculating about how things could be, more than reflecting about how things certainly are.

But it mostly felt plausible to me, unlike some other angel books I've read. I don't know that I completely agree with the portrayal, but I was willing to follow along anyway, as a "well, maybe it could happen this way." From the little I've seen of angel books, I think Angel Eyes is a rarity in that regard, since so many other books get it so distinctly wrong.

Here are the other tour participants!

Late entry - April Erwin

Gillian Adams
Julie Bihn
Beckie Burnham
Theresa Dunlap
Nikole Hahn
Jeremy Harder
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Emileigh Latham
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Anna Mittower
Faye Oygard
Nathan Reimer
Chawna Schroeder
Jessica Thomas
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Dona Watson
Shane Werlinger
Phyllis Wheeler


  1. I like your thoughts about fear in regards to God.

  2. I took the view that this is one person's fictional portrayal of angels -- interesting things to think about and speculate on. I enjoyed the book as a whole. Thanks for your thoughts about the author's use of fear in the book.

  3. I do think we take a bit of a risk when we speculate, i.e. readers perhaps taking our interpretations to heart without thinking about what the Bible says on the subject. Good points.

  4. Julie, I like the fact that this book made you think about fear and the difference between the fear of the Lord and the kind of fear this book credited to demons. It makes me think of 1 John 4:18-19: "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us." To me the fear depicted in Angel Eyes is the kind that love casts out.

    But as Biblical as the worldview of this story is, of course it is still fiction, still speculative, still an imaginative interpretation of what we know--pretty much like all fiction.

    I really did find the Biblical perspective to be refreshing.


  5. Thanks, Meagan!

    Beckie B., I agree with you. But in other books, someone's "fictional portrayal" made me rather angry--I can't stand reading a view of angels that is unquestionably un-Biblical. This one, however, is speculation, not making up stuff that goes against the Bible. So that aspect works for me.

    Jessica, I'm just one of those obnoxious people who likes to pick up on implications. As shown by my review of Heartless. LOL

    And I agree with your view, Becky--it's fiction but grounded in Biblical ideas, and that makes it interesting. As far as angel books go, this one is refreshing indeed!

  6. I think the author did a great job describing fear, really unique...I had not heard it depicted like this before. Great book!!!


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