Series: Christ the Lord, #1
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Pub. Date: 2005
Genres: Religious fiction
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Seven-year-old Jesus and his family depart Alexandria and head to Jerusalem and home. As the young messiah realizes the power he holds, he tries to find the answers to his questions. What is the secret behind his birth? Why does he have these abilities when others do not? In the meantime, his family tries to survive the turbulent society.
So, I read Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt (a.k.a. The Young Messiah), by Anne Rice, a couple years ago, but I couldn’t bring myself to write a review until now. I read it so I could know what the novel was like before watching the movie. I enjoyed it, but it lacked something that I have seen in her other novels. It might be the language or the power of her words. When I first heard of this book, I thought it was brave of Anne Rice to write from the perspective of Jesus Christ because I hadn’t heard of any attempt to write that perspective before and because I could imagine the backlash if it didn’t fit doctrine.
What I liked:
- One aspect I liked was the language shift in a multilingual region. Rice always noted when there was a language shift without needing to translate within the text. Jesus’ name also changes with the language shift: Jesus in Greek and Yeshua in Hebrew.
- I liked seeing child Jesus act like a child with real fears and child-like observations. That very well may be controversial from a religious standpoint, but I think it’s more realistic for a deity to live the life of a human by behaving as a human.
- That being said, I liked the moments when he was afraid or confused about his power, like when he resurrects the kid he accidentally kills.
- I like the presence and roles of Jesus’ family members. They comfort, offer advice, and explain things as one would to children. I also like that the kids worry over seeing one of the adults get sick while they travel.
- I like that it didn’t take the overly pious tone that shows in most Christian fiction. It was more neutral and balanced.
- Unlike the movie, I love that Satan is not a character in this book.
- I liked that the subject matter was handled with care.
What I didn’t like:
- The tone of the writing doesn’t make it easy to race through the book, but it worked for the subject. I had wanted to race through it instead of having to go slowly and slowly digest it.
- Some of the dialogue felt unnatural or off for the region and time period.
I think the book will be best loved by Anne Rice fans and those who would like a different flavor of Christian fiction.