Monday, April 11, 2011

Book Review: The Final Summit by Andy Andrews

The Final Summit: A Quest to Find the One Principle That Will Save HumanityFrom the back cover:

David Ponder is back – and this time,
the fate of mankind may be in his hands.

This is humanity’s last chance.  Centuries of greed, pride, and hate have sent mankind hurtling toward disaster, and far from its original purpose.  There is only one solution that can reset the compass and right the ship—and that answer is only two words.

With time running out, it is up to David Ponder and a cast of history’s best and brightest minds to uncover this solution before it is too late.  The catch? They are allowed only five tries to solve the ominous challenge.

Readers first encountered David Ponder in the
New York Times bestseller The Traveler’s Gift. Now, in The Final Summit, Andrews combines a riveting narrative with astounding history in order to show us the one thing we must do when we don’t know what to do.

*          *          *

Christian fiction with allegorical as well as overt spiritual messages has always been a favorite of mine.  As is mentioned in Fred Lygrand’s book, Glaen (reviewed here), the best way to hold readers’ attention with non-fiction concepts is to mix in a bit of tension-meets-resolution narrative.  Authors C.S. Lewis and John Bunyan were masters of this genre, deftly blending compelling stories with timeless truths.  Jesus Christ himself used storytelling to convey many of his lessons.

The Traveler's Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal SuccessIn The Final Summit, Andy Andews attempts to continue this tradition, just as he presented in his previous work, The Traveler’s Gift.  While other readers (such as PGA Champion Hal Sutton) may compare him to the likes of C.S. Lewis, I unfortunately cannot make that leap.  While many of the concepts that Andrews presents are timeless, true, helpful and proven to be effective, I found his execution to be very lacking.  Andrews’ writing is weak, lacks credibility and never prompted me to suspend disbelief during his fantastical storyline.

The issue that was most disconcerting was the overall theme of the book.  Andrews posits that the world is going down the drain faster than we ever would believe, and to solve this problem, we must be the ones to do something about it.  And while I agree the human race is frequently the cause of suffering in the world, I do not believe we are the only solution to this problem.  Yes, I agree that we must do something to make the world a better place, but it is not up to us completely save it.  Only Jesus Christ can do that.  Ultimately, only the power of God will justly deal with all the ills of the universe.  We are participants in the divine nature (II Peter 1:4), but we do not hold sway over it as much as the characters of The Final Summit.

Andrews offers quote after quotable quote, stringing them together with cameos of many historical figures.  I found the book (as well as its predecessor The Traveler’s Gift) to be the kind of thing you’d find in a Joel Osteen or Tony Robbins program.  For the most part it’s harmless, with many philosophies that are true and good, but in the end it’s a string of adages and platitudes (p.187).

I cannot say that Andrews’ work is necessarily to be avoided—I’m sure there are some young readers (especially history students) who would benefit from the messages and historical tales shared in his works.  Just so many far superior writers could be enjoyed instead.  Stick with C.S. Lewis, Bunyan, or even better—the Holy Bible for the best in spiritual inspiration.  Writers of Christian fiction and allegory can produce classic and quality writing.  I’m sorry to say that I didn’t find Andy Andrews to be one of those authors.

I review for BookSneeze®

This title was provided by Thomas Nelson and the Book Sneeze Reviewers Program.
No obligation other than an honest review was required.

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  1. Hi Laura! Thank you for stopping by my blog! I always hesitate to write a "negative" review because I'm a writer and I know what goes into a book . . . but I just could not endorse a book that "meddled" with God's Word. I, like you, have a firm belief in Christ . . . and people are EASILY led astray. It's not about us . . . it's about Him!
    Anyway, I'll be catching your blog posts from now on!

  2. Thanks for the review. I've read a few disappointing books lately. I'd be interested to know what you thought of The Shack? It has had so many good reviews, but I didn't like it at all.

  3. Ann:

    I haven't read The Shack. I wanted to when it first came out, but then as I heard more about it, the less interested I became. Some Christians whose opinions I respect say that it's got some funky theology. Among other things, God is (at least in part of the book) portrayed as a woman, which I really dislike. I don't care what nationality He embodies, but keep the female stuff outta there. Just my personal opinion-- I'm sure others would disagree.

  4. Thank you for stopping by my blog. When you expect a book to become a best-seller, it's nice to have some support after posting a negative review. LOL

    Great review!

    Annie Kate



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