First time authors Ryan Mix and J.T. Payne held nothing back from their initial endeavor into Christian fiction with the new book, The Academy, released from Rosslin Publishers and distributed by Ingram. Abortion, drugs, suicide, evolution, and death are just a few of the concepts the main character encounters at a fictitious Christian school. The Academy has a suspense element that both Mix and Payne wanted to create to keep readers on their toes. They admit to intentionally making “75% of the book anti-Christian,” but they had a good reason for doing so.
The Academy tells the story of a student who, after accidentally uncovering many dark, hypocritical practices at his Christian high school, begins to question Christianity itself, while struggling to survive the perilous aftermath of his discovery. “We set out to do something that we have not seen in other Christian fiction books,” explains Mix. “we intentionally make faith look bad so readers must justify why they believe it.”
I admit that for a first book, the authors didn’t do too bad of a job, assuming the book is aimed at young adults. Perhaps I’m being a bit nitpicky but for me the fantastic theme of this high school student uncovering this sinister plot was a bit unbelievable. There was a bit of an ‘imbalance’ in the realism to the situation, more Hollywood than natural. But despite that, I think Mix and Payne touches on something that they are correct about – the topics that are peppered throughout the book are not generally present in much Christian fiction. Those issues are so prevalent in our culture but rare in Christian books. Should the reader make it to the end of the book, the theology presented is spot on. Embedding that worldview into the story somehow defines it as a book worth reading. All in all I think Mix and Payne are promising authors.
You can purchase The Academy on Amazon.com, or check other retailers of your choice.
I received a media sample of this title to read for purposes of review.