That prospect never stops being scary, of course, but Josiah gets a lift when he’s taught, in another of Jones's vivid and appealing visions, that he can “ride” his own prayers, flying with an angel toward heaven. “He wanted to say, ‘The literal heaven,” but that seemed irreverent,’” Jones writes, a line that captures the gently playful child’s perspective that powers Keep on Asking. Grounding the tale of saints and swords is the real-world medical drama of seizures and brain scans, Josiah’s uncertainty that his divine encounters are truly happening, and accounts of Josiah’s family and church community, who prove refreshingly supportive when Josiah reports his experiences.
Readers of Christian fantasy will find much here that’s encouraging and inventive, such as the fundamental link between prayer, faith, and the powers of a Prayer Rider. Especially fruitful is the revelation that different people’s prayers result in different surges of feeling in Josiah as he flies, with his grandfather’s preacher-like prayer for strength in the coming battle seeming almost “predatory” so that riding it he feels “like an eagle surveying its territory.” Unlike too many series openers, Keep on Asking builds to a satisfying conclusion while introducing plenty of possibilities to be explored in later books.
Takeaway: This uplifting kickoff to a Christian adventure series imagines a young Prayer Rider soaring on the power of faith.
Great for fans of: C.S. Johnson, Ian Acheson.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A