This is the sequel to Peretti’s first real masterpiece, This Present Darkness. Like that book, this has a kind of standard thriller plot going on in the real world and we’re also privy to the conflict of angels and demons behind the scenes. The main recurring characters here are the angel characters; the book mostly follows a new set of characters in a new location in the real world, though some characters from This Present Darkness do eventually appear. This book is even longer than the first book, by around a hundred pages, and it is, in my opinion, not nearly as good. This book is a lot more political than the previous book. A large portion of the book revolves around the efforts of an ACLU-like organization to shut down a Christian school and the valiant efforts of the Christian school teacher to prove that he was totally in the right to try to cast a demon out of a little girl. Peretti is never particularly subtle, but he has a gift for character. One of the best characters in This Present Darkness was a villain; Peretti really got in his head and made him a complex, interesting character with a strong emotional arc. Here, the villains are literally Satanists and it’s all about a murder plot where some Satanists are trying to kill a young woman who used to be part of their group but she also just happens to have seen one of the villains in the ACLU plot do something bad, so if the two plots could ever just intersect, everything would be cool. But this book is way too long and, while it has a handful of decent action sequences, the combination of draggy pacing and preachiness really sink this one quite a bit below the first book. Peretti still has some good ideas and the book has some good scenes, but it’s only sporadically entertaining and a misfire a good bit of the time. 2 ½ stars.
tl;dr – Peretti’s second novel of “spiritual warfare” is significantly longer & preachier than the first one; there are good sequences here, but the pacing is draggy & the book has a lot of filler. 2 ½ stars.