Monthly Archives: May 2010

Between Two Kingdoms by Joe Boyd, a Review

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Between Two Kingdoms by Joe Boyd, a Review
Published 2010 by Standard Publishing, 191 pages
Genre: Christian allegory, suitable for read-aloud to families, and for teens and adults

In a mountaintop kingdom, the people are all seven years old. They build tree houses and bask in colors, sights and sounds that are full of life and healing.  But their Prince occasionally asks them to make a foray for him, and often with him, into another kingdom in the valley, where life is grim and where the inhabitants mostly do not believe them when they speak of the King. This kingdom is the realm of the dark Prince.

The two realms are connected by a river. It’s a very special river with protective properties, an allegory for … read the book and figure it out!

Tommy and Mary are two of the seven-year-olds who go to the darker kingdom as part of an effort to foil the latest plot of the dark Prince: to cover the land in darkness from an enormous furnace, causing the people to forget they ever had any connection to the King.  The plot unfolds as Tommy, Mary, and some friends work against the enemy.

This book has plenty of “aha” moments in it as the author illustrates Biblical truths and the reader recognizes them.  It has action, too, in the climactic battle.  Characters are memorable.

This is a short, well-written allegory that will provide plenty of fodder for discussion with non-Christians. –Phyllis Wheeler

A terrific blog tour on Jill Williamson

The CSFF blog tour on By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson ends tomorrow.  I checked out what is posted so far and am really impressed.  There were many reviews and some criticisms, but everyone recommends this book.

In particular I liked KM Wilsher’s interview with the author, discussing how she got the ideas to write the book, and even including her sketches of the characters.

Check these out!

Keanan Brand
Beckie Burnham
Beckie Burnham
R.L. Copple
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
Jeff Draper
Andrea Graham
Tori Greene
Tori Greene
Becky Jesse
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Krystine Kercher
Leighton
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Rebecca LuElla Miller
New Authors Fellowship
John W. Otte
Chawna Schroeder
Rachel Starr Thomson
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler
KM Wilsher
KM Wilsher

AND last but not least, the author’s blog:
http://jillwilliamson.wordpress.com/

By Darkness Hid, Day Two of CSFF Blog Tour

By Darkness Hid, by Jill Williamson, more thoughts:

Last night I checked the blogs of others on the CSFF blog tour and found a number of posts. This tour is unusual: everyone who posted loved the book. Last time that happened, it was Stephen Lawhead who was the author. Does this mean Jill Williamson is the next Lawhead???

Check them out for yourself:
Keanan Brand
Beckie Burnham
R.L. Copple
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
Jeff Draper
Tori Greene
Becky Jesse
Carol Keen
Leighton
Rebecca LuElla Miller
New Authors Fellowship
John W. Otte
Chawna Schroeder
Rachel Starr Thomson
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler
KM Wilsher

AND last but not least, the author’s blog:
http://jillwilliamson.wordpress.com/

By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson, a Review

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By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson, a Review
Book 1 in the Blood of Kings series
Published 2009 by Marcher Lord Press, 490 pages
Genre: Christian fantasy, suitable for teens and adults

The kingdom of Er’Rets is pretty hard on its orphans. It calls them “strays” and beats them up. So Achan grows up a stray in the household of a minor nobleman, picked on and beaten regularly.  The nobleman, Lord Nathak, makes sure he takes a red herbal potion drink every day. But one day, Achan doesn’t take the drink. Then he hears voices in his head, and is mightily puzzled. He figures out how to hold the voices at bay: think of his favorite refuge, the shade of a huge tree.

Achan’s household is fostering the spoiled brat who will be king–an orphan about Achan’s age. The prince intends to marry a young woman, Vrell, daughter of the duchess of the northern part of the kingdom, for political reasons.

Vrell, though, will have none of it. In fact, she puts on the clothing of a boy and goes into hiding.  Circumstances bring her to the same city where the prince is to be crowned; the prince has chosen Achan as his bodyguard, so Achan goes too.  We discover that both Achan and Vrell are able to communicate telepathically, a gift given to few. Disguised as a boy herbalist, Vrell tends Achan’s battle wounds. Making friends with him, she teaches Achan to control and use his “bloodvoicing” telepathic gifts.

In this city, some startling news comes to light, and Achan’s circumstances change forever. I’ll let you read the book to find out more.

What do I think?

Vrell is a very engaging character, full of courage and pep. Because of her, I was happy to dive into this story and stay engaged. Achan deals well with his awful circumstances, although occasionally his reactions are too noble to feel true–for example, rescuing an ungrateful person from some bullies, and rescuing the ungrateful prince from attackers.  The fantasy world is well drawn; I can easily enter in.  Although by the end of the book much is revealed, plenty of mysteries remain, such as why exactly half the country is covered in darkness, and why exactly half of Lord Nathak’s face is withered and under a mask.

It’s a Christian book, clearly; Achan is raised praying to an idol, but he learns to recognize that the one true God speaks to him in his thoughts. Vrell is already one of the relatively few followers of this one God, and Achan is becoming one.

This book was very hard to put down. In fact, I didn’t! I read it all the way through on a Sunday afternoon and evening.  It’s quite a page turner. It’s a wonderful book, one that is sure to draw readers into the Christian fantasy genre.–Phyllis Wheeler

This post is part of the Christian Science Fiction/Fantasy Blog Tour, meaning a number of other bloggers are writing about this book too during the next three days. Please take a moment to check out what they are saying too~

Brandon Barr
Keanan Brand
Gina Burgess
Beckie Burnham
Melissa Carswell
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
R.L. Copple
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
Emmalyn Edwards
April Erwin
Sarah Flanagan
Andrea Graham
Tori Greene
Ryan Heart
Joleen Howell
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Leighton
Rebecca LuElla Miller
New Authors Fellowship
John W. Otte
Crista Richey
Chawna Schroeder
Andrea Schultz
James Somers
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler
KM Wilsher

AND last but not least, the author’s blog: http://jillwilliamson.wordpress.com/

Nominate a book for Clive Staples Award!

All you Christian fantasy and sci fi lovers out there, it’s time to nominate a book for the annual Clive Staples award. Clive Staples being, of course, what C.S. stands for in C.S. Lewis.  The award, administered by several major players in Christian fantasy-sci fi, is nearly new–the first award went last year to Dragonlight by Donita K. Paul.

For the 2010 award nomination, a book must be published in 2009 by a royalty-paying publisher. The actual selections will be made by reader’s choice. You might want to put in an email subscription to the Clive Staples Award blog so you’ll know when the polls are open! In order to vote, you have to have read at least two of the books which have been nominated.

What’s the point of all this? Why, to generate buzz and admiration for our favorite genre, of course!  The more buzz and admiration, the more sales, and the more books will be published. So readers like us will be happier with all the books to choose from.

So, take a minute to think about it, and then go to this link:

http://clivestaplesaward.wordpress.com/2010/05/05/clive-staples-2010-accepting-nominations/