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I have been an avid reader from as early as I can remember. Since becoming a Christian in my early 20s, my passion for reading led to specifically Christian fiction and this has developed into reviewing them on this blog. I love reading debut author's novels or those author's who have not had many reviews thus providing them much needed encouragement 
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Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Gorgon: An Alaska Iconoclast Mystery, Book 3 by Mary Ann Poll

Gorgon: An Alaska Iconoclast Mystery, Book 3


An accountant is gruesomely murdered in Anchorage. The hag tree guarding Ravens Ravine is chopped to the ground. Two separate events hundreds of miles apart are the harbinger of a new battle for Ravens Cove--and a new enemy. Some people are destined to be warriors against what most of the world cannot see. Some battles are eternal. Welcome back to the Cove…..

The Guru's Review: 


I am so glad I did not have to wait for this novel to be released to read it. The only delay I had was due to other books I was requested to review first. 

Gorgon follows the same formula as the previous two novels but has 6 new characters and a different supernatural entity-a gorgon/succubus-and new demons. 

It is very noticeable from these changes that this novel is more complex, action-packed and suspenseful. Everything has a greater depth than previous. I found myself having to concentrate much more compared to the previous two novels. I am not saying that this is a bad thing either, just a natural effect caused by this complexity. Of course, this also means that the entertainment value is also increased and at a deeper level. Now, that is a good thing!

Poll is very successful at depicting the richness of Alaska and that of Ravens Cove. She depicts the many layers of what makes up a small town tick with its characters and their small-town mentality. This shows their cohesiveness and ability to band together when they need to including taking on other roles. An example of this is Doc Billings being the GP and Medical Examiner. They even have a town gossip but instead of being one who is scorned and hated for the trouble she causes, she has the townsfolk's respect! I find this rather comical!

Poll has used this backdrop to focus on the demise of a previous resident, Mandy Thomas. She left the Cove many years ago for Anchorage and has returned due to her involvement in a murder. She seeks the help of her best friend, Kat, who we know from the previous two instalments.

It is what is involved in this murder that brings the demonic elements back to the Cove. By default, this involves the lives of Kat, Bart, Ken, Grandma Brines, Pastor Paul Lucas, Josiah, Wendy, Doc Billings and others. It also brings new characters into this situation such as Detective Dayton, investigating the murder Mandy is implicated in. Grandma Brines believes he will return to Ravens Cove in the future. I am interested to see if he surfaces in the next instalment, Dullahan, which has just been released. He seems to have had a similar, but shocking, initiation into the supernatural and Ravens Cove as Ken did in the previous two novels. 

The supernatural elements in this instalment are similar but different. Poll introduces the same demonic characters and some new ones. Thus, this demonic plot line becomes much more complex with the introduction of the entity, gorgon, manifested as Lilith. It is well established in both biblical and extra-biblical texts and depicted in fiction, that there is a hierarchy of demons. Poll shows that a gorgon does not fit into this hierarchy, but exists separate to this demonic one. Both hate each other and compete against each other for dominion over the other and the human race. 

I am a little familiar with Lilith. She is described as the first wife of Adam in the abovementioned texts, but not included as Canon in the Bible. She is described well in these texts and has one colorful history. Her inclusion in this story line intrigued me to do a Google search to see what these texts had to say about her. I can see why her story has provided a rich and intriguing plot line in this novel where Poll has exercised some poetic licence. It all adds much suspense and tenseness to this story. The characters seek to find out who this new supernatural entity is and if it is causing such horrific deaths. They also need to discover if it is causing the demonic forces to regroup and attack Ravens Cove again in the demon's attempts to rid themselves of the gorgon. 

The battle strategy between the demons of Iconoclast's forces against those of Gorgon adds a deeper layer of tenseness and depth to the overall battle for the dominion of Ravens Cove. Such betrayal, double crossing and swapping allegiances between these two evil forces test the faith and resolve of Kat, Bart, Grandma Brines, Pastor Paul, Ken and Josiah. 

As I have stated in previous reviews of Poll's novels, she has depicted spiritual warfare biblically. It is integrated throughout the poetic licence of her story lines. She has not allowed this poetic licence to alter this biblical depiction. It is this that makes this series worth reading and not just for its entertainment value. This latter function is not the only role Christian fiction has. One of its many attributes is to educate the reader and Poll allows it to do this by adhering to biblical principles. 

One of the spiritual themes in this novel is the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. This is not depicted much in Christian fiction (that I have read or not for any specific reason that I can determine). The Bible regards this as the one and only sin unforgivable by God, 
Mark 3:28-30: "Truly I tell you, all sins and blasphemes will be forgiven for the sons of men. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, but is guilty of an eternal sin.
These are the following verses that also mention this sin: Matt 12:32; Luke 12:10. These say the same thing as the verse mentioned above.

The Amplified Bible defines to these verses being as "whoever intentionally comes short of the reverence due the Holy Spirit".

The website Got Questions refers it as,
"....defiant irreverence. The term can be applied to such sins as cursing God or wilfully degrading things relating to God. Blasphemy is also attributing some evil to God or denying Him some good that we should attribute to Him. This particular case of blasphemy, however, is called “the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” in Matthew 12:31."
Poll's depiction of this is in line with the above. Kat witnesses the character involved calling the Holy Spirit obscenities and other horrible things. Like Pastor Paul, I felt the sadness and the stark reality of what this means to the character when he realised this sin had been committed. Admittedly, this character is demon possessed but the end result is the same. 

Taking these verses in context, Jesus was addressing the Pharisees accusing Him of being demon-possessed instead of being Spirit-filled, 
The Pharisees, having witnessed irrefutable proof that Jesus was working miracles in the power of the Holy Spirit, claimed instead that the Lord was possessed by a demon (Matthew 12:24). Notice in Mark 3:30 Jesus is very specific about what the Pharisees did to commit blasphemy against the Holy Spirit: “He said this because they were saying, ‘He has an impure spirit."
This segment is the most dramatic and saddest in this series so far. It is even sadder when the final outcome for this character is revealed. 

Poll introduces a different aspect of spiritual warfare in each volume. This is another aspect that adds to the appreciation of this series. In Ingress, it was the sin of pride being an obstacle to God's involvement. In Gorgon, it is the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. This illustrates my point about Christian fiction being educational as well as entertaining.

It seems that Poll has set the stage for more instalments in this series with a new spiritual role appointed to one of the characters. I am looking forward to seeing this take shape in Dullahan. 

I can definitely see why some reviews consider this novel to be the best. I would tend to agree even though I have not read the newest release, Dullahan. That one may prove to be the best. Will have to wait and see!

Another thoroughly enjoyable visit to Raven's Cove. I am at least happy I have one more to read. I pray that there is more to come after Dullahan.

Highly Recommended. 5/5 Stars

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