Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn - Book Review

I just finished reading The Harbinger  by Jonathan Cahn.

On one level I'm blow away by Cahn's ability to write such a compelling fictional novel that is grounded on the scripture reference of Isaiah 9:10. He threads the story with events that happened to ancient Israel paralleled with events that has happened to America both in our history and modern day.

On another level I'm left wondering. The reader must remember this is a work of fiction, but when fiction becomes laced with facts the lines become blurry. Is that a bad thing? What do you think?

What I liked . . . this book was a compelling story that I could hardly put down. It's about a writer who is pitching a story to a publisher. That's it. So where's the action? Where's the conflict? It's in flashback and comes to light as the writer tells the publisher. It's very tricky to make a story interesting and not confusing for the reader when flashbacks make up the bulk of a novel. But Cahn's writing is clear and he does a wonderful job of keeping tension and conflict high.

You may ask, so what is the story the writer pitched? It's about an ancient mystery revolving around Isaiah 9:10 and holds the secret of America's future. The protagonist encounters a man he calls "the prophet" who sends the protagonist on a type of scavenger hunt seeking out hidden meanings behind different harbingers. I became caught up in the story and eager to learn the meaning behind each harbinger. I was always surprised.

What I didn't like . . . Cahn uses talking heads a lot. This must have been a deliberate choice on his part so the focus of the reader stayed on the plot and meaning behind the book. I don't mind it every once in a while, but then it becomes annoying because I want to see the characters talking and what they're doing. I think an opportunity to more fully flesh out the characters was lost. Also sometimes the conversations between the writer and publisher, and "the prophet" and the protagonist was frustrating and seemed to go in circles. There were times I just wanted them to say what they meant. But, of course, what's the fun in that? A good writer will sometimes frustrate the reader on purpose.

Overall, I measure a book on how much I think about it after I've finished reading it. Believe me, the story of The Harbinger stays with you for a long time. Did it blur the lines between fact and fiction and is that a bad thing? You be the judge. Do your homework and find what is fact and what is fiction.You may not agree with some of the thought provoking issues that Cahn raises, but that you're thinking about them and learning more is a good thing.

About the author: Jonathan Cahn is well known for deep study of the Scriptures and actually leads the Hope of the World ministries while also leading the Jerusalem Center/Beth Israel, which is made up of people of all backgrounds Jews and Gentiles alike. He is a Messianic Jewish believer.

 I bought my copy of this book and reviewed it because I felt the subject important.


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