Monthly Archives: September 2010

Venom and Song, what others are saying

I went through many of the other posts on the blog tour for this book (Venom and Song by Batson and Hopper), and I’m going to try to summarize.  Here’s the summary: those who love fantasy fiction loved the book. That was just about everyone, of course.  I thought it was great too, by the way.  Let’s have more books like this one, please!

Here are some excerpts:

* Keanan Brand “I liked the idea of the amusement-park-ride-on-steroids that was “the good guys'” journey via an underground river.”
* Amy Browning “This story takes us through so many exciting twists and turns that it’s almost like riding a cavesurfer to Nightwish Caverns. And if you have no idea what that means, read the book.”
* Beckie Burnham
* Morgan L. Busse “One part of the book I really liked is when the seven teenagers… err… elves are learning how to use their powers together as a team. Imagine the Danger Room for the X-Men elf style.”
* Melissa Carswell “these books need to be put into movie form, plain and simple. Put in the right Director’s hands, and they could be made into a move that rivals those of Lord of the Rings….Therefore, these books are more than entertainment. . . they are a catalyst for stirring the soul into wondering, ‘What is my gift? What was I created for?'”
* Jeff Chapman Spoiler alert for this post! “Early in their training at Whitehall, Tommy emerges as the natural leader of the seven. He is an unlikely candidate, a misfit back on Earth with little self-confidence.”
* Amy Cruson “I couldn’t put it down! I mean it was consuming me until I finished it… I needed to know what was happening!!! It reminded me a bit more of Lord of the Rings with a touch of Narnia in it – but still holding a uniqueness of it’s own.”
* CSFF Blog Tour
* April Erwin “These authors know how to weave a tale that keeps you up at night turning pages frantically.”
* Tori Greene
* Ryan Heart
* Bruce Hennigan “Overall, the tone of the book is somewhere between a Harry Potter type coming of age and a Lord of the Ring encounter with the forces of fantasy.”
* Bruce Hennigan “And, we also learn that a people who may seem so righteous may also have their darker side buried in rewritten history!”
* Timothy Hicks “Venom and Song is filled with action, plot twists, and more action. The teenagers may survive their coronation ceremony, but will they survive drill camp and train enough to face more of the Spider King’s troops?”
* Jason Joyner “And if you’re going to read to your kids, then the Berinfell Prophecies is a great place to start! Maybe I’m too much of a ham, but I enjoy reading these books because there are a lot of characters to give variety.”
* Krystine Kercher“And what would a good fantasy novel be without a secret weapon? In Venom and Song, the weapon is an artifact called the Rainsong.”
* Leighton “The book is an absolute blast with a strong plot as well as believable characters. If you are considering getting this book, or are interested in any kind of fiction, this is for you. Buy it by all means! ”
* Rebecca LuElla Miller “…these seven teens learn they must work together to accomplish what they need to do. It’s a wonderful point, one made clear through the plot elements. I couldn’t help but think a lot of adults need to read a book such as this to learn about working together rather than pulling apart.”
* Nissa
* John W. Otte“I really enjoyed this book almost from the beginning. It sucked me in completely.”
* Sarah Sawyer “In addition to some “standard” fantasy races (elves, gnomes, etc), the authors have created their own unique creatures and cultures, such as the assassin race of drefids, armed with deadly claws. They also sprinkle throughout the story unusual plants, animals, and places that help bring the world to life.”
* Chawna Schroeder
* Tammy Shelnut “It has a Lord of the Rings feel to me.”
* Kathleen Smith
* Rachel Starr Thomson
* Robert Treskillard “…excellent young adult novel.”
* Steve Trower
* Fred Warren
* Jason Waguespac “And as aside, I loved that one of the teens suggests going back to Earth and getting modern day guns and ammunition to fight the Spider King. So many of these fantasy worlds are only at a medieval level of technical development, so swords and arrows are typically your only bet. Of course, if you could manage to bring some sweet firearms with you, you might have a leg up on things. Of course, the kids are told that inorganic material cannot pass through the portals, so the idea of an 80s action movie montage where the elves enter an armory and stock up on machine guns is nipped in the bud.”
* Phyllis Wheeler
* Jill Williamson “If you love teen fantasy novels, be sure to check out this series. It’s a lot of fun.”

Venom and Song by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper, a Review

venomsong

Venom and Song, Book Two of the Berinfell Prophecies, a Review
by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper
Published 2010 by Thomas Nelson, 401 pages.
Genre:  Middle-grade Christian fantasy

I reviewed Curse of the Spider King, Book One of the Berinfell Prophecies, last year.  It told the tale of seven elf lords from the world of Allyra, adopted and raised on Earth. At about the age of 13 special powers for each were becoming apparent, such as the ability to walk on air, read minds, shoot arrows accurately, shoot fire from hands and feet, and super strength.

In that book, the young elf lords are told of their heritage at about the same time that horrible beings from Allyra begin pursuing them and their families. It’s clear that living a regular life on Earth isn’t going to be possible, and all seven decide to go to Allyra to see if they can help the elves.

As Book Two opens, the teens are arriving in Allyra, against opposition from the Spider King and his minions. They manage to make it safely to the underground home of the elves, and then they spend several months training to work together and to use their individual special powers.

They learn more history: that the Elves have strayed far from their creator and God, Ellos, and had even at one point enslaved the gwar, the race to which the Spider King belongs. At the end of their training, the seven follow a prophecy and learn an amazing song, a song that calls the hearers back to Ellos.

Finally it’s time to attack the Spider King.  The elves mount an assault on the Spider King’s fortress, Vesper Crag.  It’s a long and complicated battle, where the Spider King matches elven ingenuity with his own, again and again.  Will the seven lords make the difference? And what will be the cost?  Do the elves call on Ellos? Does He answer? And who is the Spider King, anyway?

My thoughts:

What I really like about this series is the waywardness of the elves, the supposed good guys. They remind me of the children of Israel during the time of the prophets, having abandoned their loving God, doing their own thing. In this case they had even enslaved the other major race in their world–and then changed the history books to delete that part once it was over.

The elves have paid a steep price, the loss of their land and city and the deaths of their seven lords who had special powers. (The teen lords are the unexpected survivors.) The elves must hide underground, in a situation particularly difficult because elves require exposure to sunlight to stay alive.

The story opens at a time when the elves are not really aware of how much they have strayed from loving their God. We the readers become gradually aware of the situation at the same time as the elves do.

Now, portions of this book reminded me of the X-Men and similar works, where a group of teens with special powers is receiving instruction in using them.  Another difficulty I had was keeping track of all seven protagonists.  But each is given a unique and memorable personality, along with a unique and memorable gift, and I expect my difficulty has more to do with my age (over 50) than anything else.

I’ll be very interested to read more books in this series. I recommend this book for fantasy lovers of any age.

This is part of the Christian Science Fiction/Fantasy (CSFF) Blog Tour, and I received a free copy for review.  Check out the links below to see what others are saying about this book.

Angela
Brandon Barr
Keanan Brand
Amy Browning
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
Melissa Carswell
Jeff Chapman
Valerie Comer
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
April Erwin
Tori Greene
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Timothy Hicks
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Leighton
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
John W. Otte
Donita K. Paul
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Tammy Shelnut
James Somers
Kathleen Smith
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Jason Waguespac
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler
Jill Williamson

Also, here are the blogs for the authors:

Wayne Thomas Batson  – http://enterthedoorwithin.blogspot.com/
Christopher Hopper – http://www.christopherhopper.com/blog/