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Bellanok: The Reluctant Savior, a Novel

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Bellanok is a haven for myths and legends . . . until evil discovers a way in.

Now the fairy queen, Fauna, must journey from the island realm to the modern world to find the man the Creator appointed to save their kingdom. A man she has been dreaming of her whole life.

Brian is a down-on-his-luck pastor on the verge of giving up on God. He’s tired and frustrated–a failure. No sooner does he make a decision that jeopardizes his career than an unusual blonde woman shows up and tries to convince him he is some kind of savior.

Fauna must open Brian’s eyes to a different reality, and Brian needs to embrace the haven’s secrets. If neither of them succeeds, Bellanok will succumb to evil and the world will lose all trace of innocence.

285 pages, Kindle Edition

Published October 24, 2016

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About the author

Ralene Burke

9 books184 followers
Whether she's wielding a fantasy writer's pen, a freelance editor's sword, or a social media wand, Ralene Burke always has her head in some dreamer's world. She spins fantastical tales to encourage people to SHINE BEYOND.

When her head's not in the publishing world, she is wife to a veteran and homeschooling mama to their three kids. Her Pinterest board would have you believe she is a master chef, excellent seamstress, and all around crafty diva. If she only had the time . . .

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Displaying 1 - 11 of 11 reviews
Profile Image for Laura Grace.
Author 13 books204 followers
January 12, 2017
I jumped into Bellanok with exciting expectations, but Ralene gave me so much more!

This wasn't a typical story with fairies, unicorns, and dragons (which I was expecting), but really a beautiful new concept I had never read before. I absolutely loved how she wove in the need for ALL to have salvation from Jesus Christ because we ALL have been exposed to sin (fairy or not). In many ways, this was a powerful story of redemption.

Bellanok was so much more than a story I read for pleasure. I was strongly touched by many parts and believe one of them was instrumental in opening my eyes to being at peace with some of the things in my life. It took me a day or two to process one particular conversation between Fauna and Brian and believe it will be something that stays with me for a long time.

The only thing I was seriously bummed about was not knowing what happened to a certain character from the war. He wasn’t mentioned again and I was EAGERLY hoping he would pop up later.

Overall, I very strongly recommend this story to those who love fantasy (especially dragons) that desire a strong Christian message.
Profile Image for C.O. Bonham.
Author 12 books23 followers
May 20, 2017
Bellanok by: Ralene Burke is for a very niche audience. I can't remember where I heard the phrase stained glass fantasy, but I think it applies to this book.

Personally I was enchanted by the idea of an island with fairies and dragons in need of salvation. But I know some Christians who would never read it. I know fantasy readers who would be turned off by the religious elements.

But if you are like me and have an open mind and heart then this story, of an inner city pastor who gets swept up into a world that's bigger than he dreamed, may just be for you.
Profile Image for Rachel Lopez.
Author 12 books14 followers
February 16, 2017
Bellanok is a beautifully woven tale of two worlds colliding.Burke has a way of creating characters who relate to one on a personal level. From Brian an American pastor full of self doubt or Fauna a fairy queen from a distant land in need of the chosen one. Bellanok is well written and kept me wanting to read more until I turned the last page. I cannot wait to see what else this author will bring to the table.
Profile Image for Robin E. Mason.
Author 11 books73 followers
February 16, 2017

A young pastor who doesn’t know his strength or calling. A mythical queen who needs him to save her land.

Brian Reynolds had a plan. But God had a different plan. Brian had a heart for the Gospel but he wanted to pastor an easy little church in a comfortable country town. Not in a crime ridden, inner city neighborhood. What did he have in common with thugs like that?

Fauna’s world was dying and it was time for the vision to become reality. But she must leave her realm, Bellanok, to bring the man to her world.

That man is Brian Reynolds.

Confronted with Truth he denies, Brian resists Fauna and her guardian’s proposition. Until demons materialize and Brian comes face to face with evil in flesh form. Suddenly he is fleeing with Fauna and Roman—straight to Bellanok.

The land is nothing he’s ever seen and everything he’s heard of—in fantasy tales. But even he can see the destruction of death and sin upon Fauna’s world. What he doesn’t see is how he is their savior.

Will Brian rise to the occasion? Can he embrace this role thrust upon him? Will he see Creator’s purpose in all that is foreign to him? Can he save Bellanok?

Ms. Burke’s debut novel brings to life a bevy of favorite fantasy creatures, living in an innocent protected realm. As these creature encounter sin and death, the Gospel message becomes reality, even to fairies and centaurs and dragons. Ms. Burke weaves Truth into fantasy, and victory into darkness. The world she creates is vivid and real, the characters alive with passions and fears. She portrays evil with discernment and understanding of its power—that of deception and fear.
In a classic tale of good vs evil, Ms. Burke brings truth to the battle, and characters that readers will love.

This book was given to me as a gift from a friend. I offer my review of my own volition, The opinions expressed in my review are my own honest thoughts and reaction to this book.

Ralene Burke

Whether she’s wielding a fantasy writer’s pen, a freelance editor’s sword, or a social media wand, Ralene Burke always has her head in some dreamer’s world. And her goal is to make it SHINE BEYOND! She has worked for a variety of groups/companies, including Realm Makers, The Christian PEN, Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, and as an editor for a number of freelance clients.

Her first novel, Bellanok, is available on Amazon!

When her head’s not in the publishing world, she is wife to a veteran and homeschooling mama to their three kids. Her Pinterest board would have you believe she is a master chef, excellent seamstress, and all around crafty diva. If she only had the time . . .
Profile Image for Kandi J Wyatt.
Author 35 books275 followers
February 27, 2019
Excellent Chhristian Fantasy

I loved the blend of inner-city Chicago pastor and mythical lands. The theological conundrum of fallen creatures of myth was well thought through and satisfying. A true fantasy missionary story.
Profile Image for Anna Tan.
Author 26 books162 followers
August 24, 2021
Okay, I had a book binge over the weekend and I started with this review because I thought it would be an easy one. But actually... it's getting more complicated the more I think about it.

Bellanok: The Reluctant Savior started off as a pretty fun, light read. Fauna, the Fairy Queen of Bellanok, needs to find a way to save her magical island from the evil that has invaded it. Bellanok is a literal garden of Eden, untouched by evil - until now. Cool. But how did the demon get in? This was never explained. Her solution from God is to go to the humans and find the guy she's been dreaming about since she was a girl. Right. (They are so going to fall in love or something.)

Then we meet Brian Reynolds, discouraged preacher boy, stuck in a dying inner-city church and totally failing at pastoring it. He reluctantly follows Fauna and her bodyguard, Roman, to Bellanok...to be their saviour. Where he's expected to fight physical battles with a sword despite having no prior experience. But I guess he'll save Bellanok by the power of his passion and sudden skillz.

Skepticism is setting in. I'm not invested enough in either Brian or Fauna to really care, though I guess I like magical-Eden-island enough and dragons to follow through with the story. So yeah, on the whole, Bellanok is a fun, clean, Christian read if you don't think too hard about it.


Okay, the part where I really roll my eyes is the hardcore push for the sinner's prayer in the midst of a magical Eden that is already so close to God that they call Him Father and speak to Him on a regular basis like real close friends. But ever since Brian entered Bellanok (or something like that), God isn't talking to Fauna anymore. Because sin, because Brian needs to do the preaching thing, because despite the fact that everyone in this Eden knows God and all the stories in the Bible, they suddenly need to repent of the sin that has invaded Bellanok and accept Jesus, yet Fauna refuses to believe that she needs to be saved because Jesus is only for the humans, isn't he?

Yet Fauna, right in chapter 1, says,
"When the demon entered our protected land, it let death and sin in with it. Now everything that is happening to the outside world will happen here - unless we find a way to stop it."

Yeah, so there's something fundamental about this worldbuilding that just doesn't quite make sense to me. It just felt so... manufactured, or as people like to say "shoehorned in" and "agenda fiction". *shrug*
Profile Image for J.F..
Author 10 books92 followers
December 19, 2020
Bellanok is a contemporary Christian fantasy in which an island of faeries and mythical creatures on an island near America, veiled by protective stones. But something is wrong. The stones are failing. Somehow, a demon found his way into their haven and is causing death and destruction. Fauna, the queen, must remove the beast and save her kingdom.

There is one who can save them.

Brian, a pastor in a languishing church, isn’t so sure of himself. If he was doing as God called, his church should be flourishing. So why isn’t it? As he wonders what God has planned for him, strange beings lure him away to Bellanok.

Rather than shepherding a flock of humans in Brian’s familiar world, God has called him to this strange world where he shrinks to faerie size, rides dragons, and battles giants. The job God has called him to seems very different in Bellanok. But is it really?

I enjoyed Bellanok. The story intrigued me from the start though I must confess to feeling that certain parts in the middle dragged. Overall, Bellanok is a good read. I appreciate fantasy stories that don’t shy from the gospel and bring Christ Himself into the narrative. We need more books like this on the shelves.

If you like faith-filled adventures in alternate worlds full of fairy-tale creatures, Bellanok is the place for you.
Profile Image for Kara.
756 reviews
May 29, 2017
I REALLY enjoyed Brian's journey into the land of Bellanok! This book was so unexpected for me, but in a good way :)

Roman was my fave character in this one, how he protected Fauna and befriended Brian.

There are so many cool creatures in this story, but I didn't really feel like I got to know them as well as I would've preferred. Unicorns, dragons, and fairies were the main good guys. There are also Orcs, goblins, giants, and demons that are the bad guys. The demons are mostly dark clouds with arrogant voices, nothing creepy at all.

It was truly amazing witnessing how Brian gets his faith back and how his faith is a direct result of his power in saving Bellanok. He's a pastor who has dedicated his life/adulthood to God and yet the struggle is real and he doesn't discover his true abilities until he surrenders his anger and embraces the call on his life. I definitely understood that! Really loved that sword, the Garden of Eden and other Biblical references, and how even the creatures have to repent to hear The Father's voice clearly after sin taints their sacred land. A nice Christian fantasy!
Profile Image for Shauna Viele.
17 reviews10 followers
August 27, 2017
Reluctant indeed

Not having a lot of experience in speculative fiction, I wasn't completely sure what to expect. There was a passage in one of the early chapters that was repeated twice--an editing issue I suspect. But once I looked past the incongruities, I enjoyed the story. Having a hard time with the undercurrent of romance weaving in and out. It will be interesting to see what happens in future installments. Not sure I completely agree with the idea of centaurs and unicorns in a tale
about salvation, but then again, this is fiction. An enjoyable light read.
Profile Image for Jessica.
322 reviews
February 25, 2018
A Good Story

Brian is a pastor in an urban Chicago church that is failing. He is frustrated and not sure what God wants him to do. Enter in a fairy named Fauna and soon Brian is told that he is the savior of her world, Bellanok.

I enjoyed the story and the land of Bellanok. The story moved well and ends well. I personally did not like the main character much, but you might!
Profile Image for Kara Peck.
237 reviews11 followers
June 4, 2017

During my read I had a hard time being propelled to finish. I think that was a case of expectations on my end. The opening is pretty intense and I just expected the intensity to be maintained. However, expectations aside, the subject matter is important and the execution was done well. Great character arcs. Fun fantasy adventuring. Absolutely give this one a shot. It may be just the book for you!

* I was gifted a copy of this book. My opinions are my own*
Displaying 1 - 11 of 11 reviews

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