A LOOK BEHIND LIGHTNING
Sharon D. Ballentine
Gatekeeper Press (2019)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (03/2020)
In “A Look Behind Lightning” by Sharon D. Ballentine, the adventure begins when a dedicated high school English teacher performs a supernatural, spiritual ritual to help two of her students perform better in school. Both show promise but are not living up to their potential. One is a football player and the other is a young lady who appears angry and unkempt. Done in good faith, the ritual is supposed to motivate them to improve their lives, but things go awry when the ritual allows a portal to open for the Watchers to come in and connect with humans whom they refer to as Children of Adam and Eve. The Watchers are fallen angels who were cast out of heaven a millennia ago. Now they live in a non-corporeal state. Cut off from God, they exist to observe humans. They are to watch, not intervene – impacts the person in horrible ways. While the ceremony was initially a success, it doesn’t take too long to realize that something went horribly wrong. As the teacher enlists the help of a voodoo queen to try to stop what has started, everyone involved must work together to break the connection to the Watchers – even though one Watcher, in particular, does not want this to happen. The grand finale is explosive!
I loved reading, “A Look Behind Lightning.” Sharon Ballentine is a talented writer, who created a unique plot that is sure to please both young adults and adults. Even though I am in my fifties, I enjoyed this cast of a much younger generation.
The storyline is distinctive in that it involves fallen angels. It is refreshing to have a group of supernatural characters that fall outside of the typical norm, which is usually vampires. The cast of characters is very complex and realistic despite the supernatural aspects. In addition to weaving in the metaphysical aspects of the story, Ballentine also uses her experience as an educator to bring the characters to life in a way that is believable. It was interesting to watch the students evolve as they had to deal with more than just the usual teenage angst. The additional characters also add a lot to the story. My favorite was a mother named Baby Doll, who was trying to get out of the escort business. Her character was horribly flawed yet continued to mature and grow throughout the story.
In addition to character development, Ballentine does a wonderful job by bringing the settings to life. Her vivid descriptions make it easy to visual what is happening. I felt like I could actually see what was happening, as if I had gone to a movie.
I truly look forward to future novels by this gifted writer! I highly recommend “A Look Behind Lightning,” by Sharon D. Ballentine for readers of all ages, but especially teens. I suspect it is about to become a big hit!