Today I want to look at the Spiritual Factor of Venom and Song. What makes this book different than all the other YA fantasies out there? What are the spiritual elements of this book?
The elves of Allyra worship a being called Ellos. Since this is a Christian fantasy for young adults, I automatically assumed Ellos was God in our world. Later it is explained that he made the world and the elves would quote ancient scripture.
So the question I had while reading this book is why do these teenage elves follow Ellos? How do they know he is real other than taking the word of Grimwarden and some of the other elves? I have not yet read book one, so I do not know the religious background of these seven teenagers, but in Venom and Song, they all seem to believe in Ellos. No one questions his existence, no one questions that he is on their side, no one questions that they are doing what Ellos wants them to.
But Ellos does not seem to be a part of their own personal lives. It felt like Ellos is God, out there, looking down on them, but not necessarily a part of their everyday lives. To be honest, it felt a lot like how I think many of us view our own Christian lives. We know God is here, everywhere. We know God loves us. But I think a lot of times we go days, even weeks where we live our own lives. Sure, we toss up a prayer when bad times come. But if we’re honest, we don’t really connect with God on a deeper level.
Note here: I am not trying to pick on this book. I think it’s a good book, especially for the audience it was written for (10-13 yr olds). And in a world where more and more of this age range is reading fantasy (I know, I’ve seen what my library and bookstore has to offer and some of the fantasy out there for these kids scares me), its good to have an alternative.
But I think there could have been a more personal spiritual factor. So many of our church kids grow up hearing bible stories and God, but it never goes below the surface. Going back to my post yesterday, that personal spiritual understanding of Ellos and how he is an intimate part of these teenagers’ lives could have been better understood if the story had been told from just one of the teenager’s viewpoints.
For example, show that teenager struggling with leaving his life back on earth, his new role, emotional garbage he’s carried about being an orphan, and does Ellos really exist and care about him. And not just one scene, but a whole sequence of scenes throughout the book, showing the journey of that elf as he comes to see himself in his new role and see Ellos for who he really is.
So there’s my spiritual take on the matter. Do I recommend this book? Definitely yes. Unless you’re arachnophobic 😉