CSFF bloggers on Andrew Peterson

This week the Christian Science Fiction/Fantasy Blog Tour has been examining North! or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson, second in the series called the Wingfeather Saga.

Nearly all of those who blogged on the book so far (see below) liked it. Only one had some trouble getting into the book (but then, it is the second book in a series and he skipped the first book…)

Useful ideas: Participants noted that there is an audio book available inexpensively for the first book in the series (On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness), and that North! or Be Eaten is really a bit too suspenseful for a child under the age of 10.

Becky Miller delved in detail into the plot occurrences that led to the temptation of the future king, Tink, who chucked the king idea and tried to join a den of thieves. I was happy to see this thread developed, because I had missed some of it in the exciting happenings of the book.

Robert Treskilliard pointed out that the Fork Factory in this book evokes Oliver Twist, something I hadn’t quite realized yet.

Chawna Schroeder interviewed the author, asking eight probing questions. One was what are his hopes for his readers?

…I hope the story will help them see the world we live in for the wonder that it is. Most of all I hope they brush up against that holy Other who haunts the world of man and proclaims His truth in stories and art and music. I hope the story pushes them closer to belief.

In a different post, Chawna addressed the disconnect I found between humor and dark suspense in this book, helping me a lot. Here is what she said:

“Yet the same wonderful tongue-in-cheek humor that drew me to the first (book) still adds a delightful dash of tension relief in all the right places, keeping the reader from despairing or getting bored.”

Take a look at what the other bloggers had to say:

Brandon Barr
Amy Browning
CSFF Blog Tour
Jeff Draper
Timothy Hicks
Becky Jesse
Jason Joyner
Julie
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
Chawna Schroeder
Andrea Schultz
James Somers
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Elizabeth Williams
KM Wilsher

North! or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson, a Review

northorbeeaten

North! or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson
Published 2009 by Waterbrook Press, 331 pages
Book 2 in the Wingfeather Saga
Genre: Christian fiction, middle grade

This book, neither the first nor the last in its series, could suffer from middle-of-story sag. But it doesn’t. In fact, it’s an intense read.

The three Igiby children, their mother Nia, and their grandfather Podo have teamed up with Peet the Sock Man as the book opens. In the previous book, we readers got accustomed to the fantasy world, Aerwiar (“Here we are,” the first words said at Creation), and its puckishly named creatures and features.

Janner, Tink, and Leeli Igiby have just learned that they themselves ARE the Jewels of Anniera, which according to prophecy contain power. They are the three children of the late king of the faraway islands of Anniera, overcome nine years before by the fangs of Dang.

They have also learned that Peet the Sock Man, a local crazy person, is actually their uncle, the special guardian or throne warden of his late younger brother the king. Likewise Janner has found out that he is now throne warden for his younger brother Tink, king in exile. Janner is 12 and Tink is 10, by the way. The throne always goes to the second son, and the guardian job to the first son.

Not only do the Igiby children know who they are now, but the enemy does too. The fangs are looking near and far for them because of the prophecy about the power of the Jewels of Anniera. And so the Igibys plan to leave Peet’s tree-house hiding spot and set out for the Ice Prairies to the north, with the vague idea of teaming up with some rebels who live there.

But their journey doesn’t even get properly started. In a flurry they leave packs and supplies behind as the fangs attack. Then they flee from disaster to disaster, each less predictable than the last, always heading north.

It isn’t just endurance that’s tested. It’s also their family bond. Eventually Tink gets sick of the whole king idea and abandons the family to join a band of thieves and robbers. (As a result, woe strikes both Tink and Janner in nearly overwhelming measure.) At another point, Podo tries to jump ship too.

Can the family get back together and unite in its purpose? That is the question posed in
this book. I won’t tell you how it works out.

What do I think?

I think this book is very well written. I found myself caring very much about the missteps of this endearing family. It is in fact a different, more intense, sort of story from what I expected by reading the goofy names like Phoob Islands and predatory Bomnubbles.

What about the Christian walk? How is it modeled? The Igiby family prays to the Maker at times of difficulty, and the Maker miraculously intervenes on a couple of occasions. Meanwhile, there is recognition of sin and repentance, as characters review their past histories with each other. So the book is modeling some version of the Christian walk, but not deeply. I’d say this book is more about the adventure than about teaching the Christian walk.

And what an adventure it is. I am really looking forward to the next book. I highly recommend the first two for all ages. –Phyllis Wheeler

This is Day Two of the Christian Science Fiction/Fantasy Blog Tour. Please take a look about what others are saying about this new Andrew Peterson series!

Brandon Barr
Justin Boyer
Amy Browning
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Todd Michael Greene
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Rebecca LuElla Miller
New Authors Fellowship
Nissa
Donita K. Paul
Crista Richey
Chawna Schroeder
Andrea Schultz
James Somers
Steve and Andrew
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Fred Warren
Jason Waguespac
Phyllis Wheeler
Elizabeth Williams
KM Wilsher

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, a Review

darksea

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, by Andrew Peterson
Book One of the Wingfeather Saga
Published 2008 by Waterbrook Press, 284 pages
Genre: Christian fantasy, middle grade

The three children of the Igiby family are being raised by their mother and their grandfather. Oddly, they know almost nothing about their late father, not even his name. They live just outside Glipwood, a rustic village on the edge of the sea, in the house built by their grandfather many, many years before.

Their semi-idyllic existence is marred by the fact that their country, Skree, is among those conquered by the fangs of Dang. Dang is an evil country far across the ocean, which first conquered the fabled Islands of Anniera in mid-ocean nine years before, and then soon afterward pushed all the way to the next continent and conquered Skree. The fangs are lizardlike and also somewhat humanlike, with the remarkable ability to poison others with their saliva. So a bite from a fang is fatal. It takes just a few fangs to keep the town of Glipwood in a state of grim overtaxation.

The fangs habitually kidnap children, and soon the Igiby children become targets. Their mother, Nia, buys their freedom with some fancy jewelry she has kept secret for years, and offers to make the local commander some maggotloaf regularly if he leaves Janner, Tink, and Leeli alone.

The higher-ups take a look at Nia’s jewelry and realize it came from Anniera. They have been looking high and low for the Jewels of Anniera, and now they figure she must have them. Things really heat up! I won’t tell you what happens, but I will tell you that help comes from unexpected places after the family prays to the Maker.

What do I think?

This is a great tale told by a master storyteller. The most obvious feature is its humor. The place names and the threats are shaped by a wit: the toothy cows of Skree, the fangs of Dang, Anklejelly Manor, and on and on. Other features include page-turning intensity and well-drawn characters. The fantasy world I found quite believable–except for the funny names. There is nothing objectionable for a Christian family in this book, and in fact, it shows some of the Christian walk on the form of prayer and answered prayer.

In particular, I like the way the main characters don’t value material wealth. They value each other, period. Nia gives away her precious jewelry without a second thought. At another point, Janner and Tink discover an armory of great value but don’t even think about helping themselves.

My only objection involves my particular sensibility. I have trouble aligning the humorous and therefore unbelievable names with the requirement to suspend my disbelief as I read the tale. It’s a good thing Peterson is such a good storyteller. Otherwise my disbelief at the amusing names would have mired me down. – Phyllis Wheeler

This review is part of the Christian Science Fiction/Fantasy Blog Tour, looking at the Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson this week and particularly the second book in the series, just published. I’ll review it tomorrow.

Be sure to see what the others on the blog tour are saying:

Brandon Barr
Justin Boyer
Amy Browning
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Todd Michael Greene
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Rebecca LuElla Miller
New Authors Fellowship
Nissa
Donita K. Paul
Crista Richey
Chawna Schroeder
Andrea Schultz
James Somers
Steve and Andrew
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Fred Warren
Jason Waguespac
Phyllis Wheeler
Elizabeth Williams
KM Wilsher

Avatar, a Goddess Movie

The movie Avatar is setting some box office records. Since it’s fantasy/sci fi, my preferred genre, I decided to check it out.

Avatar is set at some time in the future, when humans have destroyed the green things on earth and are bent on spreading the destruction to a beautiful Eden-like planet, Pandora, six light-years away. There’s a mineral there, “unobtanium” or something like that, which corporate greedsters will do anything to get. Unfortunately, the mineral underlies a major home base of the beings who inhabit Pandora.

The lead character, Jake Sully, is a marine confined to a wheelchair. He finds himself incorporated into a science experiment on Pandora where he guides a cloned Pandoran body from a special capsule. Although he has no ability to run in his regular body, he can command the cloned body as if it were his own. It’s the ultimate video game–he gets to become the character, at least as long as the character is awake. I suppose this is the reason for the name of the movie. Avatar has come to mean “a computer user’s representation of himself,” according to Wikipedia.

As the story progresses, Jake’s alter ego learns the ways of the Pandorans. He falls in love. He is supposed to be the intermediary between the colonialist humans and the Pandorans. But the negotiations fail–the Pandorans don’t want to become anybody’s colony. Thanks to action on the part of the planet’s goddess, there is a happy ending, at the expense of the humans.

What do I think?

This movie promotes pantheism. The goddess Eywa is in everything and may respond to supplications, but she can’t be depended upon to take a moral position. She seeks balance, and may allow the bad guys their way for that reason. She doesn’t seem to be a person, but more of a force. Actually, she seems to be The Force from Star Wars, renamed as feminine and re-cast in a gorgeous setting. I suppose she takes action here because her planet is threatened.

Clearly it isn’t a Christian movie. So, should you let your kids see it?

Let’s compare it to the Harry Potter movies. Many Christians objected to Harry Potter because there is sorcery involved. The author, not a Christian, nevertheless creates a world where there are good wizards and evil wizards. The good wizards struggle with the evil ones and eventually win. Can this be drawing our children into an acceptance of sorcery? Could be, but I think most readers are able to see the moral tale. Of course, there is no personal God acting in the Harry Potter tales, so they are hardly uplifting.

Avatar however will tend to pull our children away from a moral way of seeing, toward a yin-yang mentality where good and evil are seen as two sides of the same coin, and the deity is in everything and inside us too. This balanced Eastern concept of God is entirely false, we know as Christians. Where is the sinner in need of a savior? Where is our holy God?

What’s particularly troubling is that, according to Becky Miller who did some research, there are some Christian bloggers who think this movie is Christian. Are some in the church stepping onto the inviting slippery slope that Hollywood offers?

I would like to re-imagine this movie with Jehovah as the God who responds to supplications and saves the planet. He is holy and we are not. That would come out strongly. Through the work of Jesus, he has built a bridge to us. He hears our prayers. He acts. He heals. He guides. The resulting movie might be more like Raiders of the Lost Ark, or the Chronicles of Narnia.

Here’s my challenge to you, Christians in Hollywood: create a new fantasy movie starring Jehovah. Thanks to the people who made Avatar, the tools are there to create a lush fantasy world that displays characters with human emotions. Why not use this to tell the world about our loving, holy God?

Curse of the Spider King’s viral marketing

Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper have created an ingenius “tribe” system that rewards fans for blog posts, tweets, and other mentions of their new book, Curse of the Spider King. (Maybe that is why there are so many people blogging on this book in this month’s CSFF Blog Tour??)

In Allyra, the fictional world in Curse of the Spider King, there are seven elven lords of seven elven tribes. The tribes have names like Silvertree, Ashheart, and Oakenflower. Want to join one?

Batson and Hopper encourage fans to form into groups of at least 21 people with their own Facebook group page. Fans can link to the book sites, write articles about the book in their blogs, and otherwise mention the book online to get points, with certain limitations. Tribe members can also get a picture taken of themselves with the book on a shelf in a bookstore, with a bookstore employee. They can get bonus points by ordering the book from a bookstore that doesn’t carry the book. They can create a fan page on Facebook for the book. Etc. etc.

The Tribe contest is limited in duration, lasting between the end of October and January 1. At that time, the authors will evaluate contestants and select winners. The top winners will get a book-signing visit from one of the authors, complete with sword fighting and freebies. There are other prizes too, like swords and Amazon gift certificates.

This system is obviously working; the “Underground” bulletin board on the book’s website is full of references to it.

My hat’s off to some marketing geniuses! Check out what others on the CSFF Blog Tour are saying about this book:

+ Brandon Barr
+ Amy Browning interviews the authors!
+ Valerie Comer
+ Amy Cruson
+ Stacey Dale
+ Shane Deal
+ Jeff Draper
+ Emmalyn Edwards
+ April Erwin
+ Karina Fabian
+ Ryan Heart also interviews the authors!
+ Timothy Hicks
+ Jason Joyner
+ Julie
+ Krystine Kercher
+ Melissa Lockcuff
+ Rebecca LuElla Miller
+ Nissa
+ John W. Otte
+ Cara Powers
+ Chawna Schroeder
+ James Somers
+ Robert Treskillard discusses the viral marketing
+ Jason Waguespac
+ Phyllis Wheeler
? Jill Williamson
+ KM Wilsher

Curse of the Spider King, Day Two of CSFF Blog Tour

This month’s blog tour of Curse of the Spider King, a middle-grade Christian fantasy book, is drawing unprecedented participation. Maybe the outstanding cover art drew in the reviewers? Or the fact that many reviewers already know and love these authors? Below is a list a list of blog-tour links to posts on the book.

What did the bloggers think? Nearly all of them really liked this book, myself included. Some had questions. John W. Otte wonders where the Christian faith is, along with a couple of others. Jason Waguespac has a similar question. He had communicated with author Wayne Thomas Batson a while back about overused plot lines in fantasy fiction. They discussed one: a “chosen” child enters the fray and saves the day. In that exchange, Batson had indicated his next series (this one?) would turn that overused plot line on its head.

In my review posted yesterday, I had wondered whether the stage was set for the elves to turn to Ellos, cry for help with one voice, and be rescued. Batson responded in a comment that that was a very interesting speculation on my part. So perhaps we’ll see something like that in the coming books.

The depth of characterization in this book really is amazing, and in the author interviews posted on the blog tour I found out why: both authors spend their lives ministering to teens, and know their issues well. One is a youth pastor, and the other teaches middle school. To see the interviews, check out the links below that are marked to include an interview.

You may also want to check out the promotional site for this book, which has a viral marketing setup via its discussion board, “the underground,” that apparently successfully encourages readers to spread the word.

+ Brandon Barr
+ Amy Browning interviews the authors!
+ Valerie Comer
+ Amy Cruson
+ Stacey Dale
+ Shane Deal
+ Jeff Draper
+ Emmalyn Edwards
+ April Erwin
+ Karina Fabian
+ Ryan Heart also interviews the authors!
+ Timothy Hicks
+ Jason Joyner
+ Julie
+ Krystine Kercher
+ Melissa Lockcuff
+ Rebecca LuElla Miller
+ Nissa
+ John W. Otte
+ Cara Powers
+ Chawna Schroeder
+ James Somers
+ Robert Treskillard discusses the viral marketing
+ Jason Waguespac
+ Phyllis Wheeler
? Jill Williamson
+ KM Wilsher

Curse of the Spider King, a Review

spiderking

Curse of the Spider King, a Review
Book 1 of The Berinfell Prophecies
by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper
Published 2009 by Thomas Nelson, 361 pages
Genre: Middle grade Christian fantasy

This story unfolds in our own world, focusing on first one, then another of seven (yes, seven) 13-year olds. Each of these adopted teens is going through normal life and growing pains, more or less, when a mysterious teacher or benefactor hands him or her a handwritten book with magical properties, and says it is his or her very own to keep. Through the book and the benefactor, these kids discover they are really elves, born in another world.

A massive background story is the story of the elves in the other world, Allyra. As each of the teens reads parts of the handwritten book, we the readers learn the sad history of Berinfell, the capital of the elves. It was overwhelmed by vastly superior forces belonging to the Spider King, an event that happened 800 years before in Allyra but only 12 years before in Earth time. A remnant of elves survived underground. We learn that Allyra and Earth are connected by portals, created by the Spider King for snatching slaves from this world.

The teens each come of age into some strange powers and suddenly find themselves the quarry of evil “men” wearing trench coats and sunglasses—who aren’t men at all, but beings from Allyra. The kindly teachers and benefactors, who turn out to be elves, protect the kids and discuss with them the need to leave their families in order to protect their loved ones. The elves want the teens to return to Allyra and take up the cause of their kindred. The teens are torn. But they must make the decision.

The reason the evil beings are after them is that the seven teens are the sole surviving elf lords with supernatural powers. Their elf-lord parents died protecting them in the Battle of Berinfell. How did the children end up on earth? Hint: there’s a prophecy involved, and a curse.

What do I think?

This book is very well written and well paced. A huge back story is dealt with very well, using the device of each teen reading some of the history book, so the back story doesn’t derail the narrative. Characterization is excellent; each of the teens clearly has his or her own personality, as do the elven protectors. The conflict with the Spider King begins in the back story and continues through the whole book, which points to sequels at its end. Description uses the telling detail well. In short, this book is well-told.

How about the Christian basis for it? There is a God in Allyra, called Ellos, the same being as our God. The elves of Berinfell occasionally ask Him for help, and occasionally remember to quote scripture at the evil beings, which defeats them. But it seems that a lively faith is absent. I am guessing and hoping that this is part of the series’ plot: that the remnant of elves will to turn to Ellos and cry for help with one voice.

Now, there is one strange coincidence pivotal to the plot: a knowledgeable enemy turns traitor to the Spider King and gives the elves vital information about the whereabouts of the elf-lord children. There is no reason for him to do this, so it’s clearly a divine intervention, at least for a reader looking for such things.

My only complaint about this book is that seven protagonists is too large a number for me as a reader. I felt the need to keep a written list of them and their traits, in order to process the story. Since each of these protagonists has one or two elven protectors, I was having trouble keeping those names straight also.

Nevertheless, I highly recommend this book. Readers of any age will enjoy it and wait for the next one, like I am.

For more points of view, check out others on the Christian Science-Fiction/Fantasy Blog Tour, who are talking about this book for the next three days:

Brandon Barr
Justin Boyer
Amy Browning
Valerie Comer
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Shane Deal
Jeff Draper
Emmalyn Edwards
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Todd Michael Greene
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Tina Kulesa
Melissa Lockcuff
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirtika
Nissa
John W. Otte
Cara Powers
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Speculative Faith
Robert Treskillard
Fred Warren
Jason Waguespac
Phyllis Wheeler
Jill Williamson
KM Wilsher

Earth Is Not Alone by John Knapp II, a Review

earthisnotalone

Earth Is Not Alone by John Knapp II
(Emryss Chronicles)
Published 2009 by Ephemeron Press (self-published), 496 pages
Genre: Christian sci/fi, young adult (and up)

This book entwines two story threads which appear to be unrelated. But I am guessing that, in sequels, we will find out that they are in fact related.

Here’s one story thread: in a future year, an electromagnetic pulse attack from an unknown source knocks out all computer-chipped electronics, which encompasses virtually all things electrical. America descends into a dark age. In the “Susquehannah Territory,” 25 miles by 18 miles in Pennsylvania, citizens form a government and erect a wall around the territory to keep the refugees from the big cities from overwhelming them. Barter is the mode of life. Kerosene lamps are back in use. There are no telephones. Any electricity comes from generators, and is sparingly used. We wonder: who did it? why? and is it permanent?

Here’s the other: It is one year after the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) disaster. Triana, the future valedictorian of a high school in Susquehannah Territory, is accused of cheating along with Michael, a friend.

Both of them have turned in folklore papers dealing with the same family–on another planet. Were they in cahoots? No, they say.

As the teacher’s investigation proceeds, we begin to guess that Triana came from this other planet. This is Emryss, the setting of the two tales.

Much of the book is taken up by the telling of the two tales. These provide background information on what appears to be Triana’s family on Emryss, and a reason for her presence on Earth. These tales — actually one long tale — are full of action and hard to put down, as is much of the book. It’s definitely Christian. Jesus Christ is present on other worlds where he is called the God-son.

What do I think?

This book is unorthodox in its presentation. The information on the EMP disaster is conveyed using letters and news articles (an old device, actually). Then the book switches to narrative mode when picking up the cheating accusation story. In the narrative mode, the author does a fine job, using plenty of dialog and action and developing his characters. The two tales are particularly enjoyable.

However, there is a bit of disconnect between what the two tales are said to be–a history written down by someone for later generations–and what they sound like. They sound like a regular novel narrative. I think they should sound more like a folktale, to be more believable.

That said, the narrative style is definitely conducive to creating a story that is hard to put down, which this is. Some of it definitely reminds me of Indiana Jones movies.

The characters spend quite a bit of time on detective work using numbers (numbers of weeks, numbers of years) found in the tales. There’s also some technical info on the electro-magnetic pulse, and a discussion of how the Lord would send his Son to save people on other planets. Once on Earth for all? Or simultaneously on all the inhabited planets? So the book has more of a sci-fi feel to it.

Unlike nearly all other self-published novels I have read, this one has no typos, confusing wording, or grammar glitches. Knapp is clearly a professional.

Want to speculate about other worlds and how God would save them? Want to read good science fiction with a solid Christian basis? Then this book is for you. –Phyllis Wheeler

Haunt of Jackals–What Others Are Saying

Other bloggers on the CSFF blog tour have actually finished Haunt of Jackals by Eric Wilson, so let’s find out what they think.

Here’s some more plot summary from Karri Kompton:

“Cal Nichols, one of the original Nistarim and Gina’s father, works to keep not only Gina safe, but also Dov Amit, a young boy on the side of good. One of the orphans in Gina’s care, Pavel, shows signs of being a Concealed One. They must both escape to America in order to stay under the Collectors’ radar. Throughout the book, Gina and Cal fight Collectors and banish the blood-drinkers forever to torment.”

Jason Joyner referred us to a past discussion on his blog about whether Christian writers should write about vampires. Twilight is mentioned, as is Eric Wilson’s work. The writers seemed to agree that vampires are evil, and should be portrayed that way. This book by a Christian writer treats vampires very differently from Stephenie Meyer’s treatment of them in Twilight.

KM Wilsher tells us a bit about Eric Wilson’s unusual childhood:

“Eric Wilson, a family man, was born stateside but spent many years traveling abroad with his parents, missionaries. I hear they even attempted to give out bibles behind the iron curtain. Most of what I read about Mr. Wilson says that he wanted to write from a young age. We are all glad he was given the chance. ” She also tells us that he has written screenplays for the films Fireproof, Facing the Giants, and Flywheel. I am not surprised at this; his high-action style is very suited to film.

Rachel Starr Thompson didn’t find Jesus in the book. “…In this adventure, all you really need to defeat evil is the right artifacts, self-discipline, and good combat training. Cal declares at one point that “We battle not against flesh and blood,” yet his methods of battling are decidedly physical. Vampires are killed with blades, blood, and tent pegs, but never once is a demon vanquished by the power of Jesus’ name or by the power of faith in His blood.”

I am disappointed. I had hoped that the lead characters in the book would turn to Jesus to vanquish fear. I have learned that fear is the opposite of love. It’s fear that the Enemy uses against us most often. Wilson lost an opportunity here to teach Christians how to deal with fear, not by using artifacts but by holding the hand of Jesus.

To find out more, check out other blogs on the tour. Those who had posts on this topic when I looked are checked.

+Brandon Barr
Wayne Thomas Batson
+Jennifer Bogart
Justin Boyer
+Keanan Brand
+Amy Browning
+Karri Compton
+Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
+Karina Fabian
+Beth Goddard
+Todd Michael Greene
Timothy Hicks
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
+Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Dawn King
Mirtika
+Nissa
+John W. Otte
+James Somers
Speculative Faith
+Rachel Starr Thomson
+Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
+Fred Warren
+Phyllis Wheeler
+Jill Williamson
+KM Wilsher

Haunt of Jackals by Eric Wilson, a partial review

jackals

CSFF Blog Tour: Haunt of Jackals by Eric Wilson Published 2009 by Thomas
Nelson, 401 pages. Second in the Jerusalem’s Undead Trilogy.
Genre: Christian suspense/horror vampire tale
I’d rate it PG-13 if not R.

I did not intend to review this book for the Christian Science Fiction/Fantasy Blog tour
because suspense stories are too nerve-wracking for me. I really don’t enjoy them.

However, by some oversight the publisher sent me a book. Not wanting to waste a good
book, I decided to start reading it. Sure enough, the suspense on about page 90 just was too much for me. But I can report to you what I found up to that point.

Wilson has done a great job of constructing a tale with a Christian worldview. His complex characters ring true. The action is virtually non-stop, providing a wonderful evening for adrenaline junkies unlike myself. Plus there’s the horror dimension, with the demonic undead vampires which have this uncanny ability to temporarily abandon their host bodies and take up residence in an animal. So the main characters never know if the next blackbird is a spying enemy or not. Talk about nerve-wracking!

The narrative, at least in the first part of the book, revolves around two lead characters, Cal and Gina. The point of view and narrative follows Cal for a while, then Gina. This seems to work well for this tale. Cal is one of those individuals who rose from the dead when Jesus rose from the grave. These individuals were granted immortality and given a task, to protect humanity. They recruit mortal apprentices to help them.

As the second in a trilogy, this book must have been a challenge to write in such a way
that a new reader like myself could understand what came before. I am happy to report that the explanation at the beginning of the book was adequate to the challenge, and I was able to step into the story without a hitch.

At page 90 I leave the book wondering whether the young apprentice Dov survives. I expect Gina to eventually find out that Cal is her father, and that she is half immortal. I wonder whether this news will cause her to accept the predicament she is in and become a follower of the Almighty God, rather than a modern nay-sayer. I wonder whether the Lord will intervene to rein in these all-too-powerful vampire enemies, who seem likely to overcome the good guys. I am curious about the fact that Gina has a twin brother who is not mentioned other than to say he exists. Perhaps he shows up later in this book, or in the final book.

It’s no wonder that Eric Wilson is an NYT best-selling author. He knows what he is doing.

For more info:

Eric Wilson’s Web site –http://www.wilsonwriter.com/
The Undead Trilogy Web site – http://www.jerusalemsundead.com/

Check out other blogs on the blog tour. Since I don’t have an updated list yet, these are the blogs that were listed for the last tour. It’s probably about the same.

Brandon Barr
Jim Black
Justin Boyer
Rachel Briard
Karri Compton
Amy Cruson
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Linda Gilmore
Todd Michael Greene
Katie Hart
Ryan Heart
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirtika
Eve Nielsen
Nissa
John W. Otte
Lyn Perry
Crista Richey
Cheryl Russell
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