The Paradise War (Song of Albion, #1)
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The Paradise War (The Song of Albion #1)

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  5,219 ratings  ·  313 reviews
In the Song of Albion saga, a breach has opened between the worlds. Wolves prowl the streets of Oxford. A mysterious Green Man haunts the Highlands. And a catastrophe threatens to devastate two universes.
Paperback, 416 pages
Published May 1st 1993 by Voyager (first published 1991)
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Kat  Hooper
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

As an avid fantasy reader, I was reluctant to try this trilogy because Lawhead is not one of the best known fantasy writers. My husband bought me the book because Lawhead is a Christian and he thought I should try it.

I was very pleasantly surprised! The writing is excellent. The story is interesting, meaningful, and epic in scope while still progressing rapidly enough to finish in three books.

It contains all of the elements I look for in a fantasy: vivid d...more
Mumbo Gumbo
This was a positively dreadful book which had a good idea but a poor delivery. I understand that it has a tremendous following, but I can only suppose there must be hordes of readers out there who enjoy pointless verbosity.

The idea behind the story is time honored in fantasy: Guys from present find their way through a portal to another time/place/age/reality -- in this case something akin to Celtic Highlands, though the development of the Celtic angle was thinner than a razor. Once in the new la...more
May 09, 2008 Werner rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy fans who don't mind violence
Shelves: fantasy, books-i-own
This is the first book of a trilogy; and like Tolkien's Lord of the Rings books (which he originally didn't want to separate into three volumes --that was the publisher's idea), the Song of Albion books basically form a unit that should be read and considered together. An evangelical, Lawhead displays the influence of C. S. Lewis in places in his writing; the Christian symbolism in the last volume, The Endless Knot, is particularly clear. But his fantasy vision is his own, heavily influenced as...more
I had high hopes for this book, and found the story line very intriguing. The Otherworld is leaking into our world and vice versa. Random things are appearing in our world and people are disappearing.

How disappointed I was when I cracked into this! There were excessive details where none were needed and not enough detail when I had no clue what was going on.

About 40 pages in, I started to think the author hated his main character. Lewis, while smart and learned in Celtic history, seemed to alwa...more
Well. I must admit I did return this to the library without finishing it. I kept reading and reading, almost to halfway through it just hoping for something to pick up and excite me. But it didn't... even when I got to the Otherworld. Steven Lawhead just did so much better with Hood. With Hood I was enraptured and in love with all the characters and events and could not read fast enough to get what was coming next. But perhaps it is because Hood was from last year (2006) where The Paradise War i...more
Although I truly admire the language and prose Stephen Lawhead uses in his novel, the book totally lacked all elements of a good story. There was no plausible plotline or storyline of events that I could follow. All the events were seamlessly unrelated, random and discordant. There was no greater plot, no quest or manner in which the characters followed. There was no goal, no objective, hardly a conflict or an antagonist to defeat. Lord Nudd who I suppose was supposed to be the "villain" of the...more
Dec 03, 2010 Jessica rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: christian fantasy readers, late teens, new to fantasy
Shelves: owned-book
Three Stars is my perfect rating for this book - no more and no less. It was not by any means a bad book, but was also not something that stood out or grabbed me. While the scenery, history, and lore shines through and is very well written, and I did very much enjoy the vocabulary in this novel, I felt the plot and pace rather systematic and predictable. The depth of most of the characters was mediocre, having a sampling of surface personalities you would find in any medieval story involving a k...more
Jan 08, 2012 Eyebright rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Eyebright by: Georgie Penn
The first in a trilogy, The Paradise War follows the amazing and fantastic adventure of a young college student by the name of Lewis Gillies. When he follows his friend on an sudden and unlikely urge to explore the strange appearance of a long extinct beast in Scotland, he is shocked when his friend disappears inside a cairn and does not return. It is only when he attempts to follow Simon that he understands why.

Albion is where he finds himself. It is the Otherworld, and he is thrust into it so...more
Emma Rj
Zzz. Boring! This is only book one of a trilogy, so I guess this book has some excuse for having a LOT of tedious back story, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. It seemed like the entire first 60% of The Paradise War was blah, blah, blah back story. And then. AND THEN. We get to the so-called "good stuff," and still NOTHING HAPPENS.

The main character whines some more, his obnoxious and arrogant sidekick goes on and does some more obnoxious and arrogant things. There's a kiss. And then... t...more
A good, easy-to-follow story, well-told, but it didn't quite live up to expectations. The opening scenes included an aurochs and a green giant, then nothing—other than the obligatory portal experiences—really "Other" for 300 pages. Oh, there's lots of "other"--good ancient Celtic words and culture, but little of Fairie.

In fact, if there's a flaw to Lawhead's approach is that he treats even his spiritual beings as super strong, super evil, etc., but they lack the "feel" of Other.

A quibble. Lawhe...more
This story is based heavily on celtic mythology. The main character knows almost nothing about the celts and has to have everything explained to him. He is a grad student. His major is celtic studies. How does that even make sense!?

I didn't end up finishing the book, got about halfway through and skimmed the rest. In the hands of a better writer the story might have been decent. The characters however were too weak and lacking in personality to carry the plot. As it is, if I could have given it...more
Hmmmm... What to say...

This book was not particularly engaging. I wanted to know how it ended, but I didn't necessarily need to know. I never found myself thinking about it when I wasn't reading it, and if I was interrupted while reading, it didn't concern me. It ended with a bit of a cliffhanger for the next book, but it didn't make me want to immediately run out to get it. I don't think I am likely to even bother with the next one.

The characters weren't particularly interesting, and I didn't g...more
Alex Telander
Originally published in the early nineties, Stephen R. Lawhead’s bestselling Song of Albion Trilogy has now been released in a gorgeous hardcover edition that immediately catches one’s eye. The first in the series is The Paradise War, followed by The Silver Hand and The Endless Knot. Lawhead pulls from Celtic myths and legends and ancient texts to create story set in modern day of a most unique world.

Lewis Gillies is an American graduate student studying at the eminent Oxford University, specifi...more
Tricky for me to rate this book. I read through sections quickly, but felt that not much was happening. Then I would put the book aside, take a break from it, and then try again. Since this is the first of a series I suspect that much of the action is coming in the next book. I'm just not sure I will continue. I really like it when I get caught up in a story and I feel as if I am in the story. When I feel connected to the characters, and can't wait to see what happens. I just didn't feel that wa...more
3 stars for The Paradise War and its sequel, The Silver Hand, 2 stars overall for the series.

The first book is the best of the trilogy, in my opinion -- the plot gets off to a slow start, but that gives some room for the characterization of Lewis, Simon, and Professor Nettles. I particularly appreciated Lewis' self-deprecating humor (which all but disappeared by the third book, once he'd been burdened by the hero-archetype role) in the early parts of the narrative. The plot twists at the end of...more
Aaron Jeschke
Lawhead creates a rich Celtic world with somewhat hollow characters. Slow in parts but a good read overall.
Aunt Edie
Stephen Lawhead has written some books that I've really enjoyed. My problem always seems to be with the later books in a series, so I went into this new (to me - I somehow missed it when it came out) series expecting the first book to be good. And it didn't disappoint. Paradise War combines Lawhead's signature mix of history, fantasy/mythology, and Christian worldview into an entertaining and thought provoking new setting. I read it during an unintentional Celtic phase when, as these things do,...more
Dan Winsky
This was a pretty bad book! I thought the premise was intriguing but once the story really gets started it turns into a series of unrelated events that were obviously put together in chunks in hopes of a linear if Lawhead pulled each event from a "spare parts box". I listened to the audio version and on several occasions there were lines and phrases that, though I couldn't quite pin down where they were from, struck me as pulled from other stories, poems or the like. Lawhead's k...more
Brandon Kessler
This is definitely a high-fantasy novel. It has all of the tropes we're accustomed to like the young gangly man growing into a powerful warrior, a prophecy, a great and powerful mysterious evil, magic, an epic quest, and swords. The best part? it is all very well done. The book takes place in Albion and leans heavily on Irish lore and fairy tales. It's an intriguing world and concept, however The Paradise War suffers from one of the other plagues for high-fantasy genre fiction - it takes FOREVER...more
This series about a modern-day man who gets sucked into a parallel Celtic fantasy world and becomes its mythic ruler is about as Marty Stu as it gets, and yet I enjoyed it.
Adam Ross
Lawhead's best book. A college student discovers a pathway into the Celtic Otherworld and must try to survive and return home. Epic fantasy that is worthy of the name.
I started this series at random, I had read Stephen Lawhead's Raven King Trilogy and loved it. This book took me a while, not because it was bad, but simply I didn't find it entertaining. If you're looking for an adventure story that will suck you into a fantasy world and keep you hooked page after page, this might not be the book for you. The story itself is excellent, and Lawhead's writing is well researched and as colorful as his other books I have read, but the "hero's" journey is long and a...more
The Paradise War by Stephen R. Lawhead from The Song of Albion series is one really interesting find.

What I most liked about this book, is the characters - the way the guys from contemporary time learn how to live in another reality and how they adapt to another way of life, how they take or not take anything with them from their old life and how the people from this another reality welcome them.

I was surprised that Lewis, who was studying Celtic history and myths knew so little about it, that h...more
Sarah Maddaford
This book is not quite a gentle read. It is more violent than many of the readers of this genre would probably prefer. There is very little if any language and absolutely no sex. A reader looking for a purely Christian set of ideas may be disturbed by a “kiss” between two men. In truth, it was a transfer of knowledge and power from a dying man, but that wasn’t explained immediately. There is talk of the excesses of the modern world and a belief that the past may have held a better state for men...more
The writing is good but something vital seems to be missing. Or perhaps it's more that this book is heavily-weighted toward being war fantasy (I know the term is supposed to be "Epic" fantasy but I consider this a misnomer as epic denotes heroism instead of the one-dimensional warrior-ism it has come to represent.) which I don't particularly care for. You know where everything else seems to play a second to the battle scenes, things like plot, character development, mythology etc. The book wasn'...more
*This review contains things that are probably spoilers, or at least things that are really close to spoilers, though shouldn't give away anything you don't learn in the first 1/3 of the book... so no major spoilers?*

So, the beginning is way different than the rest of the book. The feeling was different. I liked the first feeling better. Not that the second was bad, it was just really not what I was expecting. But it was a good read and I'm glad I own it and will be happy to dig into the next bo...more
Definitely just the first act in a larger story, The Paradise War is good. not great. but definitely good.

I have to admit I didn't love the writing or the description. Even in trying to give words to an astounding world I felt like the description was trying too hard, or I was trying too hard to understand. The language is simple and uninteresting, until in brief moments when his words ring absolutely true and then I liked it a lot!

I didn't like the central character much; he was petulent and h...more
Inspired by Celtic lore, Lawhead creates a parallel universe (Ala...Narnia.) A rift is torn between the worlds and must be closed, some college students find the entrance (not located in a wardrobe), and two books later, parallel epic history is made.

The 'The Paradise War' is an enjoyable start to the Song of Albion trilogy. I might have liked if he made the story less dark, invested more in developing his character's depth, and created a good fool or two to provide some comic relief. Perhaps de...more
Wow is all I know to say. I was really surprised by this one (as by Lawhead's last series). The first half (not quite half, but whatever) is just okay, but the 2nd half is spectacular! It's very creative, where as the first half seems a little borrowed. I was going to read another book from a different series before I read the 2nd of this series, but I'm not sure that I can resist now!

As far as writing, Lawhead has a great writing style. He inspires emotions excellently in the reader. My only co...more
Jul 22, 2009 Annette rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lawhead fans, Fantasy Fans
Basic plot: a pair of Oxford graduate students from very different backgrounds find themselves in the "Otherworld" of Celtic myth, where there coming presages a terrible war that could break the link between our two worlds with devastating consequences.
I've had this book in my library for years and even started reading it 2-3 times and for some reason or another never went ahead and finished. I guess I'd been concerned that it was going to be more like his "Dragon King" books (ugh!) than "The Pe...more
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Stephen R. Lawhead is an internationally acclaimed author of mythic history and imaginative fiction. His works include Byzantium, Patrick, and the series The Pendragon Cycle, The Celtic Crusades, and The Song of Albion.

Also see his fanpage at Myspace:

Stephen was born in 1950, in Nebraska in the USA. Most of his early life was spent in America where he earned...more
More about Stephen R. Lawhead...
Taliesin (The Pendragon Cycle #1) Hood (King Raven, #1) Arthur (The Pendragon Cycle #3) Merlin (The Pendragon Cycle, #2) Scarlet (King Raven, #2)

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