Thursday, February 4, 2016

Book Review- A Cry From Egypt (The Promised Land Series)

Jarah was a slave in Egypt. It was a dangerous place to be. The work was exhausting and her family was torn between the gods of the Egyptians, and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And her brother....would his Ada be given in marriage to an Egyptian in the palace? Would they ever be free?

Adventure, excitement, love, and faith come together when Jarah and her family find themselves at the culmination of four hundred years of history.

I loved this book! Growing up I learned about Moses and the Plagues in greater depth. I was utterly fascinated at the intricacies of this monumental time in history. Discovering that each plague had a specific meaning involving one of the Egyptian gods made me even more in awe of the incredible intelligence of God.

As wonderful as history books and the Biblical account are of this unique period of history, most of them are an overhead view. A big picture look at this memorizing story. A Cry From Egypt takes you out of the sky and puts you right on the streets of Ramses and Goshen.

Jarah is a very sympathetic and relate-able character. I have never in my life experienced the kinds of hardships that she and her family endure. Pain, hunger, being beaten within an inch of their life. Having no power over their own lives. Still, somehow, Auer managed to create a connection between my 21st century struggles as a Christian trying to follow God with those of a 12 year old slave girl in B.C. Egypt, who is struggling to seek and follow Yahweh.

Another incredible aspect of this book is the plagues. In all other accounts, we only get the big picture of what the plagues would have been like. Bloody river, frogs, flies, bleh! Even one of my top movies The Prince of Egypt relegates the plagues to a montage scene with some really epic music. But we never really get to feel firsthand what it would have been like to experience the plagues.

But through Jarah's eyes, and the eyes of her family and friends, we finally get an on-the-ground perspective of what the plagues would have been like. I found myself full of compassion for the Egyptians and Israelites both. For the Israelites, because they were still affected by what happened to the Egyptians; what with Pharaoh increasing their workload, and suffering great cruelties upon them. For the Egyptians, because they suffered and lost so much because of their leader's hardened heart. Auer does a wonderful job of humanizing the Egyptians, and you feel their pain deeply.

My only critique of this book would be the cover art. It is very clearly hand done, which while not bad, it does give the book more of a homemade, unprofessional feel. If I didn't know that this book was such a treasure on the inside, I would be tempted to pass over it as a half-way finished work of art. The phrase "don't judge a book by its cover" really isn't applicable in the world, because guess what, we do judge books by their covers. If I see a polished cover that excites me, I am for sure going to make an effort to read that book. But if I see something that looks amateurish that fails to create emotion in me, I will pass the book over. I do not mean anything offensive personally to the artist, the artwork is not bad in general, but for this context, I believe it cheapens the book and lessens the appeal.

I recommend this book to children and adults alike who love historical fiction and want to dive more deeply into one of the most awesome stories of the Bible! You can find it here on Amazon, or, on Hope Auer's website. You can also check her out on Facebook and Twitter.