The Ishbane Conspiracy (Multnomah, 2001) by Randy Alcorn and daughters Karina and Angela is the story of a group of teenagers. Need I say more? They’re struggling with faith, with lack of faith, with growing up and making tough decisions. And in the process, Prince Ishbane and one of his minions, Foulgrin are trying to lead them away from anything good that God might have planned for them in favor of bad choices. Youth group and youth pastors have to deal with underage drinking, pre-marital sex, accidental pregnancies, bulimia, depression, suicidal tendencies and dabbling in the occult. Stereotypes emerge, and are dealt with, and along the way, some evangelizing is done among friends. Teenage romances blossom and wither, in short a typical day in the life of a teenager.
The book is written in the form of a chapter telling the story, followed by a letter written by either Ishbane or Foulgrin, detailing their plans to derail God's (who they call the enemy) plans. The back and forth between the two was often a waste of paper – there was just too much of it.
As I read, I couldn’t help but make comparisons: there’s some good Alcorn common sense and theology, but Frank Peretti wrote some books about a youth group and some of the teenage angst that happens even in the supposedly ‘safe place’ of church. C. S. Lewis has already written about correspondence between a ranking demon and his protégé in Screwtape Letters.
The book is an easy read, not just for teenagers, but also for adults interested in what’s happening with a younger generation. I’m glad I read the book, but I don’t see myself doing much in the way of recommending it highly to everyone I know.
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