Review: The Shadow by Kimberly Rae

In college, I worked as a Resident Advisor in a dorm, for which I received a very tiny monthly stipend. Some months, I spent my entire stipend at the local Christian bookstore buying Christian fiction. I adored Karen Kingsbury, Francine Rivers, and Judith Pella, just to name a few.

In recent years, I haven’t devoured Christian fiction at the rate I once did. While that genre (and those authors) served me well at that stage of my life, I now tend to be pretty skeptical of Christian fiction. So often, it feels like a subpar version of secular fiction, with below average plots and characters who speak in Christianese.

That said, every once in a while, a Christian fiction book catches my attention. When it does, I’ll give it a chance. The Shadow by Kimberly Rae was one such book.

The Shadow

What caught my attention about The Shadow is that it highlights Rahab’s Rope - an organization that gives hope and opportunity to women and girls that are at risk or have been forced into the commercial sex trade of India. Its main character, Meagan, works for Rahab’s Rope. In the course of traveling to and from India for her work with Rahab’s Rope, Meagan is accused of trafficking drugs. The Shadow revolves around figuring out who’s really trafficking the drugs (and stalking Meagan) and includes a very predictable romance with one of the investigators, former Marine Cole Fleming. Nonetheless, it's fast-paced and enjoyable. 

For me, though, the problem with The Shadow is the way in which it perpetuates false stereotypes. Cole’s backstory includes being a Marine in Iraq. There, he meets a Muslim woman who wants to be a suicide bomber because “Our faith says this is the one way I am sure of being accepted into heaven.” Though prevalent, that kind of information is false. It makes it seem as though all Muslims are jihadists, when in fact, Islam is a very peaceful religion. Such misinformation makes it very difficult for Christians and Muslims to form relationships with one another, and to unite over the things our faith traditions agree upon (which there are many!)

If you can get past its gross stereotype of Muslims, The Shadow is an enjoyable mystery that brings awareness to human trafficking. Its characters speak normally and the Christian aspects of the novel don’t feel forced.

In the end, though, I can't get over The Shadow’s depiction of Islam. It seems wrong to fight for justice for one oppressed group while contributing to false stereotypes about another. For that reason, even though I'm glad I finished The Shadow, I won’t be reading the rest of this series.

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If you want to give The Shadow a try, leave a comment here for a chance to win a copy! Winners will be chosen on Monday, November 27! 

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Disclosure: I received a free copy of The Shadow from The Blog About Blogger Network in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the director of youth ministry at Faith Lutheran Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and the forthcoming A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

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