This review is a lesson in how to frustrate an author, because my opinion is pretty much exactly opposite of so many of the reviews I just read. ThisThis review is a lesson in how to frustrate an author, because my opinion is pretty much exactly opposite of so many of the reviews I just read. This is Christian fiction, supernatural, spiritual warfare, demons-and-hell stuff, and a full-length novel.
Most of the reviews seem to say the front half was good and the back lost it. I'm turning that around. The front half is good but needs trimming by a good editor to keep it moving. The back half rocks.
Several times during the first 33% of the book, I nearly quit reading. It's engaging, but there are draggy parts where one character is bemoaning the fact that his wife left him. He obsesses on it and starts doing crazy things because of it, and that's important, but it goes on, and on, and on, and oooonnnnnn. If those sections lost, say, five thousand words or so, the story would be just as fascinating and even more compelling, because it would no longer drag.
During the middle third of the story (that muddle in the middle), the pace picked up some. I had no problem with the multiple viewpoints (there's no head-hopping), the multiple subplots (all were resolved), or the philosophical technobabble (it's got its own sort of charm). At about the 50% mark, you couldn't have bought the book from me.
The final third is powerful reading, especially for Christian believers. I saw nothing unscriptual in the story, and it leaves The Exorcist in the dust.
Clearly this is a book from the author's heart. He's lavished attention on it, including the formatting and proofreading. It's a quality production. If he'd keep the front bits moving, this would easily be a five-star read. As it is, we'll call it four strong stars and an author to watch....more
There's a lot to like in this full-length Christian YA fantasy novel. Unfortunately, there's also a lot to not like, and that prevents me from givingThere's a lot to like in this full-length Christian YA fantasy novel. Unfortunately, there's also a lot to not like, and that prevents me from giving it a higher rating.
The good includes a clever plot and interesting characters. A modern teenage Christian nerd, fascinated by everything in its turn, is transported into a fantasy world and forced to be their new king. The position holds little true power, but one of his current fascinations is politics, and he undertakes the kingship seriously with the intention of transforming the land into a true republic. It's a great concept and Jim, the summoned king, is strong enough to carry it.
The bad takes over from there. Jim isn't sufficiently developed to be more than interesting. We can't really cheer for him because we never really get to know him. His interactions with other characters remain superficial, and even when he's witnessing, he never provides us with enough introspection to make us care. He carries the story and that's all he does.
Plot development is no better, because it's linear. A problem arises; they solve the problem. Another problem arises; they solve that one. There's a complication; they find a way around it. And so on. For the plot to really fascinate, the problems and complications would need to be woven around each other with everything happening at the same time.
Because of the lack of plot and character development, there's no real tension. Nothing got me excited and I never had a problem putting the book aside. I wanted to finish it, but not at the cost of staying up late for just one more chapter. Reading the book was more an intellectual exercise than an emotional one.
The book's been produced well, with attention paid to proofreading and formatting. But the writing couldn't hold me. We'll call it three stars, mainly on the strength of the idea....more
Okay, so I am a sucker for monster movies and books, and it doesn't even need to be a monster; a big hungry angry predator will do quite well, thanksOkay, so I am a sucker for monster movies and books, and it doesn't even need to be a monster; a big hungry angry predator will do quite well, thanks very much. Yeah, like polar bears. Like this. A few info dump scenes with talking heads? A few proofing errors? Who cares when you've got hordes of hungry bears wandering through town?
Found this near-future ecological disaster novel advertised on one of my favorite blogs and had to have it. Read it in one day. Love it. More like this, please. Four strong stars....more