March 2012, ISBN 9781449735920
Review copy from author
"As everyone knows, God created mankind to his image (Genesis 01:27).
What mankind does not know is that God did not create man on Earth, but rather on MARS! When Mars could not sustain life anymore, mankind had to escape the planet and colonized Earth.
Many years later, a study was written about the survival of mankind in Sol Four (Mars) and its struggle in Sol Three (Earth).
We proved to be a species that has survived wars, slavery and other forms of abuse – always holding on to our faith in God."
The premise alone of Under the Thelian Sky is intriguing. Frank “The Christian Noob” has spent many years struggling with his faith, and I found his book to be creative and a unique perspective on the history of the human race.
I’d characterize the writing style of the story to be experimental, since it’s written as a report. At times, this can be dry, but overall it tells multiple storylines of what happened to people during the final days they lived on Mars before some of them escaped to Earth.
What was most interesting to me was how each character’s faith was portrayed. Life on Sol Four was very corrupt, with a restrictive government that refused to give its people a chance to live when they found out their world was so polluted it would no longer be habitable. This corruption led to one of the main characters, the leader of the Underground movement that helped some people get to Earth, Dæbéüra (a.k.a. Dæbs), to turn to a life of killing at a young age to support her brother and two sisters. Her parents died when she was young, and she and her family ended up living with a priest. However, this did not stop Dæbs from becoming a cleaner and being paid to kill criminals.
Since the story is a report meant to cover multiple people’s backgrounds, at times I was a little disappointed that certain storylines were cut short or summarized. For example, when I read about Dæbs’ past life and what happened when she initially tried to retire as a cleaner, I felt that her whole backstory could have easily been turned into its own book. I was engrossed, and frustrated I could not read more details.
However, I think Under the Thelian Sky does a great job of showing different sides of humanity and exploring how people react to big events. There’s a lot of redemption and sacrifice, though as someone who is not particularly religious, every once in a while it felt a little preachy.
SPOLIER ALERT: There’s a nice twist at the end where we find out that the report also documents mankind’s time on Earth (Sol Three), and we learn that the Earth has since been destroyed and humans have successfully fled to a new world, known as Terra. In that sense this story is sort of a cautionary tale of what may happen to us if we keep taking our resources for granted; it also outlines how mankind’s faith may change as our surroundings change.
Under the Thelian Sky is a good eye-opener that creatively explores how humanity is shaped. If you’re looking for something unique, then I recommend reading this book.
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