In this taut thriller that depicts a future where belief is dangerous, faith is deemed hatred, and a group of powerful elite keeps watch, the Reckoner has come to wake up America.
The year is 2038 and Cheyenne Burne is a brilliant young programmer working for Acatour, the world's top technology firm. Her father converts to Christianity, and he suddenly disappears without a trace. When a stranger hands Cheyenne a coded message that sends her on a collision course with a clandestine group of believers, she must put her life in the hands of those following a man known only as the Reckoner. He claims he wants to bring back true faith in Christ to America and also reveal the forces behind the disappearances of the many renowned people who publicly declared their Christian faith.
Operating in the shadows and living off the grid, this mysterious prophet assembles a ragtag team--including a former bookseller whose store was shut down for selling prohibited books--to help him take the battle for transparency to the top. With a ruthless FBI agent closing in, can Cheyenne and the others expose the truth and lead a return to God in America before it's too late?
Genre: Christian Thriller/Dystopian
Publisher: Multnomah Books
Goodreads Rating: 4.24 Stars
Why I Chose This Book
I was kindly gifted an ARC copy of this book from Multnomah Books. I was excited to read this book because I have been wanting to read more dystopian lately.
First Initial Thoughts
The year is 2038. In the future everyone has what they call a SYNOPSES. It is a micro chic that is embedded into your body. It acts like an algorithm that determines what you want to do based on your likes and dislikes. We no longer have a physical computer or phone- it’s all built in the SYNOPSES. This technology is created and owned by Acatour.
What is most alarming is that Christianity is outlawed. Bibles, churches, etc. are outlawed and no one can publicly practice Christianity. Also Christians are suddenly disappearing but no one is really talking about it.
This story focuses on three main characters. Cheyenne, Will, and Dowland.
Cheyenne works and lives in the Incen Tower owned by Acatour. Her whole life turns around when her father who has been missing for a year sends her a letter warning her to leave immedaitely. Acatour finds out she is the daughter of a man who is wanted by the government for spreading Christianity and warning the public of Revelations. Therefore, she is fired and is thrown into a world she didn’t even know existed.
Will is a husband and father of two girls. He use to own a bookstore but it was shut down because he was selling Christian materials. He is thousands in debt and his marriage is falling apart. Because of this he starts to find his faith again.
Dowland is a FBI Agent. In the future FBI Agents are manipulated to finding Christians and “making them disappear”. I found this quite interesting- to think that FBI Agents will become essentially evil in the future. I found it slightly hard to believe this would happen. Yes I could see a few Agents go rogue - but the entire FBI?
Travis really brought the future to life. Whether or not those technologies could eventually exist you could definitely see them take life in your mind as you read about them. I also liked the little mentions about how the earth has faired in the past 20 years from the freezing blizzards in the west to Los Angeles being decimated from a massive earthquake - bringing most of the population to the eastern part of the US. However, I would have liked to learn more about the rest of the world and how it had faired in the past 20 years.
One thing I always question myself when reading a book set in the future, is it possible for that technology to exist for that time period? 20 years is a long time I have to say but I have to honestly say I don’t think a lot of the technologies mentioned in this book will likely exist in that short of a time span. However, I do think that we might have what they call Autoveh’s. Which basically are driverless cars. Tesla is already on the works of making a driverless semi - so I could see it being a possibility.
Will social media exist? In this book it does not anymore. Honestly, I really don’t know. I am pretty sure that Facebook, Instagram, etc. won’t last forever- and there will be something new to replace it. But who knows when or what will replace it. It just seemed odd to have a world without social media- but I could see it happening.
I really found it scary that Christianity is outlawed. I would have liked to know if other world religions like Judaism and Islam - are they outlawed as well? It was implied that it was but I think this story would have made more of an impact if all religions were suffering. It’s definitely scary to think that in the future we can’t practice our religion and could be possibly persecuted for it right here in America.
The reckoner, we didn’t find out who it was till the end. I found that interesting- I would have thought Travis would have revealed him right from the start. I didn’t guess who it was, but after it was revealed I could see all the clues pointing to that person.
The gripe I had about this book was that Travis I think focused a little too much on conspiracies when I think he could have used that space for more character and world building. The book also just kind of… ended. It kind of read like a series - so I am left wondering if this will be a series of books?
I think Travis wanted the main message of this book is to let people know that the Book of Revelations is true. One day Christ will return to judge the living and the dead. And to remind us to hold onto our faith no matter what is faced in front of us.
Would I Recommend?
Yes. It’s definitely a book that makes you think about our privacy in today’s society. It also makes you wonder about how different religions will be viewed in the future.
Q&A with Travis Thrasher,
Author of American Omens: The Coming Fight for Faith
Tell us about your new book, American Omens.
American Omens is a thriller set in the future that explores the threat of Christianity in the United States being subverted and Christians being ostracized for their beliefs.
You tell the story from multiple points of view, some of whom do not know each other for the majority of the book. Why did you decide to frame the story this way? Which point of view was your favorite to write?
I wanted to tell this story from three viewpoints: a believer who is struggling with his faith, somebody who doesn’t have faith and isn’t really thinking about it, and somebody very much opposed to having a faith. So you have a believer, a searcher, and a nonbeliever. I thought these three journeys would be interesting to watch unfold.
I really love all these characters. My favorite might be the person who doesn’t have a viewpoint, the radical Christian who calls himself Reckoner. It was fun to write about him and see his character come to life.
The story is set in the year 2038. What was it like brainstorming and writing about technology 20 years from now?
Fascinating because I love thinking about it, and frustrating because I wish I had more time to research trends and technology.
What are you currently reading?
I’m usually reading about a dozen books or more at the same time. But here are a few: George Lucas: A Life by Brian Jay Jones. Dark Debts by Karen Hall. Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs.
What’s one thing you learned about yourself while writing American Omens?
I learned that I’m stronger in my faith than I might actually like to admit. That I hold certain truths firmly. My urgency level for sharing the gospel increases as I get older and look out into the world.
What do you hope readers take away from American Omens?
There’s a line in a message from Reckoner that says “Wake up. Do you find desires inside of you that nothing in this world can satisfy? The most probable explanation, as C.S. Lewis wrote, is that you are made for another world.” If this book can wake people up and get them to think, not about the future but more importantly about their present state. Fiction is not the place to preach to readers, but rather to get their minds to start wondering. Getting hearts to possibly slow down and consider some of the things written about inside the novel.
Connect with Travis:
You can purchase the book —-> HERE
How do you see technology looking like in 20 years? Do you see it being much different from now?