Julie Halliwell’s debut novel—a work of speculative fiction aimed at young adults—is a breath of fresh air in a category inundated with dark dystopian and post-apocalyptic storylines. This ambitious tale is more than hopeful or inspiring—it’s visionary and possibly life-changing for those open to receiving the author’s simple message.
The story revolves around three children (all named after archangels) who embark on an epic journey to bring peace to a world on the brink of self-destruction. Miguel is a Mexican farm boy whose rural community has been essentially enslaved by a ruthless drug cartel that forces the populace to work for them growing illegal crops. Jibreel is an Afghan schoolgirl whose life is in danger every time she leaves her home; living in a war zone and witnessing the horrors of the Taliban’s attacks has sadly become a frequent reality. A goat herder living in central Africa, Rafael must live in a world where Congolese rebels can kill him and his family at any moment.
With the help of their angelic namesakes, the characters are brought together by a Ukrainian man who is heading an international peace project. Its mission—helping the world’s young people stand up to cruelty and injustice through peaceful means—gains countless followers, but others want nothing more than to kill these vocal children who are putting the billions of dollars they make from war and oppression in jeopardy.
Although the book has some conspicuous issues (a weak title, an overall lack of description, and a somewhat predictable storyline), the story’s impactful message makes up for them. It is as straightforward as it is profoundly moving: “Peace is now.”
Halliwell’s tale of enlightenment raises many thought-provoking questions: How do you define peace? Is world peace a realistic goal? What can we do to drive change? These questions will hopefully spur deep contemplation and conversation among those who read it. Ultimately, this is powerfully moving, spiritual (non-religious) speculative fiction.
Also available as an ebook.