Tag Archives: christian book

Dawnsinger by Janalyn Voigt, a review

Dawnsinger by Janalyn Voigt
Published 2012 by Harbourlight Books, 316 pages
Genre: Christian fantasy fiction, suitable for teens and adults

Shae’s family loves her and protects her (especially her brother Kai), but it has never occurred to Shae to wonder why she doesn’t resemble them. She gets a strange summons to attend the dying queen of the realm, someone she has met on a few occasions, and she makes a journey to the royal castle with Kai that turns out to be full of dangers. Once there, she finds a court filled with intrigue and murderous plans. Not the least of the dangers is a mysterious court musician who exerts a magnetic pull on her.

There’s a prophecy, she learns, that only she can fulfill. As she sets off on a dangerous journey with Kai and other companions, she only knows that she will meet plenty of opposition. Will she be up to the task?

What do I think?

This book has a good plot, which brought Shae’s story to a good stopping point while leaving me wondering what will happen in the next book. I enjoyed the characters as well. I’ll be interested to read the next book in the story when it comes out.

Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore, a review

Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore
Published 2012 by Thomas Nelson, 311 pages
Genre: Young adult supernatural with romance elements, Christian

Brielle is crippled by her despair as she blames herself for her best friend’s death. To learn to cope, she returns to her dad and the small town she calls home from the big city where she had attended a performing arts high school. Old friends reach out to her, but she rebuffs them. Then an amazing new boy shows up and shakes her from her lethargy.

Jake shares a supernatural gift with her, and soon she’s aware of angels and demons. In fact, she can see what no one else can. And she learns that a demon wants to kidnap Jake, who’s becoming dearer and dearer to her. What can she do to protect him? After all, she’s just a girl with angel eyes.

What do I think?

I thought this book was terrific. The angels and demons fit the Biblical mold. Not only were there unforgettable characters and unpredictable situations, but Dittemore crafts words like a poet, with beauty and strength. You should read this book! I’ll be waiting for the next one in the trilogy, due out in a year or so.

Find out plenty more about this book by checking out what other bloggers are saying on the blog tour for it at
http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/13501700/angeleyes

Daughter of Light by Morgan L. Busse, a review

Daughter of Light by Morgan L. Busse
Published 2012 by Marcher Lord Press, 464 pages
Genre: Christian fantasy/supernatural, suitable for teens and adults

Rowen Mar discovers a strange white mark on her hand and loses her soldier father on the same day. Her father was her only friend and protector in her village of suspicious folk, who can’t forget that Rowen is adopted–and that no one knows anything about her parentage. After a strange power in her flares up and terrifies both Rowen and a man who tries to attack her, she finds herself kicked out of the village. But somehow there’s a place for her to go: she gets a job offer to be bodyguard to the royal family in the capital city.

Soon those that work with her, including the captain of the guard, find she’s a healer. She realizes she’s an Eldaran, sort of an angelic race that had been thought to die out on the earth. And not just any Eldaran, but one with the power to reveal the darkness in the human heart. It’s a gift she doesn’t want.

The captain of the guard realizes he’s falling in love with her. But she’s not a follower of the Word, as he is. What will he do?

And how about Caleb, a lord of the southern kingdom intending to conquer the north where Rowen lives? Caleb’s got uncanny gifts in his chosen field: that of assassin. And he plans to strike close to Rowen.

What do I think?

This is a terrific book, one you just can’t put down. I loved the characters and the well-crafted plot. It’s Morgan Busse’s first novel, but don’t let that put you off–it contains a high level of sophistication and polish. I’m really looking forward to more. I hope I don’t have to wait too long.

My review of Book 1, Daughter of Light

My review of Book 2, Son of Truth

My review of Book 3, Heir of Hope

Dragons of Starlight by Bryan Davis, Books 1-3

Dragons of Starlight by Bryan Davis, made up of:

Starlighter, Book 1, Zondervan, 2010 (I reviewed it here)
Warrior, Book 2, Zondervan, 2011
Diviner, Book 3, Zondervan, 2011
Book 4: yet to be released

Genre: Christian fantasy/sci-fi, young adult, appealing also to adults

Bryan Davis’s four-book fantasy series Dragons of Starlight tells a tale of heroism across two planets, Starlight and Darksphere. Jason Masters, a teen from Darksphere, realizes that people from his planet have been enslaved on the other. He takes it as his mission to rescue them. After all, he’s a warrior. And he wants to find his brothers, who have gone to Starlight before him to free the slaves and haven’t returned.

Once there, he meets Koren, a human enslaved by dragons on Starlight. Koren’s got some unusual gifts–she’s a starlighter, or “magical” storyteller. Can she help save her people? Does she want to?

After all, she’s enslaved by the prophesied new king of the dragons, who has just hatched from a black egg. He needs her because he is blind, and through a telepathic link he can see through her eyes. Plus, he can torture her at will if she turns away. But the Creator seems to be calling her in a different direction.

Jason’s childhood friend Elyssa accompanies him. She finds that she’s got some starlighter gifts too. Is she willing to risk everything to free these people whom she has never met?

And what about Arxad the dragon? Does his allegiance lie with his overpowering twin brother, or with the humans he knows need his help? Is he a friend or a foe of the slaves?

What do I think?

This is a well-told sprawling tale, with unforgettable characters and surprising plot turns. It’s pretty cool to have two races of sentient beings, one being dragons. With intervention from the Creator at several points, it’s a Christian book. I’m enjoying reading it. I suspect you will too.

Corus the Champion by D. Barkley Briggs, a review

Corus the Champion by D. Barkley Briggs
Book 2 of the Legends of Karac Tor
Published 2011 by Living Ink Books (AMG Publishers), 411 pages
Genre: Christian fantasy, middle grade and up

Corus the Champion starts right where the previous book, The Book of Names, left off. I had read The Book of Names last year, so I plowed into Corus the Champion. Big mistake. I soon got confused, not remembering details, and had to backtrack and re-read Book 1. Book 2 does not stand by itself! But it does contain the story arc of an individual, Corus.

Corus had been mentioned in Book 1 several times as the missing champion, the person betrayed by one of the major characters, Sorge, a monk. But I get ahead of myself. In Book 1, four boys from Missouri get four invitations from four ravens. These invitations, dropped at the feet of the two older ones in the vicinity of a weird old stone arch, talk about coming to the Hidden Lands.

In Book 1, the older two boys, Hadyn and Ewan, crawl through the arch at dawn and find themselves in Karac Tor, the Hidden Lands. They help the faithful in the land defeat a sorceress. But she’s not the root of the evil–she’s human. The root is Kr’Nunos, a Satan-like figure. Then the two younger boys, twins Gabe and Garrett, crawl through the stone arch into the Hidden Lands, clutching their invitations, and the story gets vastly more complicated. This is the start of Book 2.

The humans landing in Karac Tor arrive with gifts that they didn’t have back on earth. Hadyn can control rope and metal, a useful skill if you’re tied up or locked up. Ewan can play hypnotic music on his flute. Gabe can speak to birds. And Garrett finds himself learning all kinds of new things from the person we know as Merlin, a “merling” or visionary from Karac Tor named Tal Yssen (Taliesin). They find themselves stepping into the sequel to the Arthurian legend. It’s the story that concerns what happened to the dying King Arthur, whisked away to Avalon. Soon Ewan is asked to give up his gift to save his friends. Will he do it?

And what of Corus? He’s the Champion of Karac Tor, betrayed by his best friend Sorge 20 years before over a woman (the defeated sorceress). He was held captive 13 years by the Fey, cold and calculating fairies, who then sold him to the devil Kr’Nunos. Since then he’s been in torment, wanting to die but held to life by the fact that he’s the Champion, and he has no heir. Sorge learns Corus is still alive and determines to rescue him, single-handedly if need be. But does Corus want to be rescued?

And how about Kr’Nunos’ plan to take over Karak Tor with zombie dirt monsters? It certainly looks like he’s going to win.

What do I think?

Pros: It’s a large, wild story, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The four brothers have distinctly different personalities that come through to the reader. Sorge, another main character, also is refreshingly real, a sinner who has repented and is determined to right the wrong he did, whether it kills him or not.

There’s a strong Christian faith element woven in, and plenty of heroism and brave deeds. It’s got lots of battles in it, so it’s a book that should very much appeal to boys, but has touches that will appeal to girls too.

Cons: Being a large, wild story, it was occasionally confusing to me. This book has numerous points of view. Each of the four brothers from Earth (Hadyn, Ewan, Gabe and Garrett) has a story and point of view. Then there are occasional chapters with other points of view: Corus, Sorge, Kr’Nunos, Brodan, Reggie (for a total of nine) and also once in a while an omniscient point of view.

I think would be best to read this book when you don’t have to put it down very often. That’s my plan for the next book, which I very much want to read.

This is part of the Christian Science Fiction/Fantasy Blog tour. To see what others are saying, follow these links:
Gillian Adams
Noah Arsenault
Beckie Burnham
CSFF Blog Tour
Carol Bruce Collett
Theresa Dunlap
Emmalyn Edwards
April Erwin
Victor Gentile
Nikole Hahn
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Christopher Hopper
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Marzabeth
Shannon McDermott
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Eve Nielsen
Sarah Sawyer
Kathleen Smith
Donna Swanson
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Rachel Wyant

Author’s Web site – http://hiddenlands.net/index.php?Itemid=49&id=19&option=com_content&task=view

Dragons of the Watch by Donita K. Paul, a review

Dragons of the Watch by Donita K. Paul
Published 2011 by Waterbrook, 387 pages
Genre: Christian fantasy, suitable for all ages

Set in the world of Amara and Chiril where Paul’s other books take place, this one focuses on a new character, Ellie. Ellie belongs to the hobbit-sized tumanhofer race; she’s a farmer’s daughter who longs to go to the upcoming royal wedding.

Those of us who have read Paul’s two most recent books, Dragons of Chiril and Dragons of the Valley, will recognize the other main character, Bealomondore, a tumanhofer artist. In the previous books, he was a minor character, a unique and quirky war hero. In this book, he gets the romantic lead. (It’s not necessary to have read the previous two books, I am thinking. This one stands on its own very well.)

Ellie’s actually on her way to the royal wedding with her aunt and uncle when her beloved pet goat appears on a hillside where he shouldn’t be. She climbs out of the carriage to corral him and take him back home, but … he runs the other way! Chasing him, she finds herself falling through what looks like a glass wall. Now she’s trapped in a city built for giants, and inhabited by a rampaging horde of six-year-old giant children and a small troop of helpful kitten-sized dragons who mind-speak with humans.

But wait, there’s another adult present: a grumpy giant librarian. And one more: a tumanhofer, also trapped, Bealomondore. Soon Ellie and Bealomondore are working together to survive. Will the wild giant children kill and eat Ellie and Bealomondore, as they are threatening? And are the tumanhofers stuck in this city forever?

What do I think?

Ellie’s a great character, full of determination, big-sisterly instinct, and insecurities. Bealomondore’s your basic swashbuckling artist. The giant librarian is overwhelmed by his assignment, raising 60 six-year-olds. I really enjoyed getting to know these unusual characters. There’s a strong faith element, too. (But I thought the plot could have used some more tension in the middle.) It’s a gentle story, easy on the suspense and violence, and would make a good family read-aloud.

My reviews of the other two books in this series:

Dragons of Chiril (formerly called The Vanishing Sculptor)

Dragons of the Valley

CSFF bloggers like The Monster in the Hollows

Checking around on the websites of others on this blog tour, I’m finding that others really like or love this book too: The Monster in the Hollows by Andrew Peterson, Christian fantasy for middle grade and up.

Often, the third book in a sequential series will meet flagging interest. After all, to fully enjoy it, readers should also read Books 1 and 2. But in this case, many readers are saying they really like the book even though they haven’t read the first two books.

It’s the aspect of heroism, I think. The heroic deeds that are mentioned really resonate with us. And of course the book is very well written!

In the words of fellow blog tour blogger Gillian Adams,

“It is a tale of great depth. … It is a tale that sings… It is a tale that rings true.”

See source

The Monster in the Hollows by Andrew Peterson, a review

The Monster in the Hollows by Andrew Peterson
Book 3 of the 4-book Wingfeather Saga
Published 2011 by Rabbit Room Press, 348 pages
Genre: Christian fantasy, age 10 and up

Andrew Peterson’s Wingfeather Saga tells the tale of the widow and three children of the King of Anniera, a blessed island kingdom overwhelmed nine years before by the dreaded fangs of Dang.

Read my review of the first book in the series. And the second book.

We learned in the second book that the fangs, which look like beast-humans, are actually recycled humans. In fact, the bad guys nearly succeeding in turning young Kalmar Wingfeather, the 11-year-old next king of Anniera, into a wolfish fang. He was rescued, but not in time. So he’s not quite a fang, but not quite human either. He looks a lot like a wolf, in fact.

Now the Wingfeather family is fleeing for refuge across the ocean to the Green Hollows, original home of their mother. The folk of the Hollows live in fear of the neighboring fangs, but somehow have managed to stay free, thanks to a mechanical barrier in their harbor and natural barriers at the edges of their lands. Because Kalmar looks like a fang, the Wingfeathers don’t get a welcome. But because the mother agrees to take any punishment that Kalmar earns alongside Kalmar, the Green Hollows grudgingly lets them stay.

In this hostile land, will Kalmar be able to behave himself, or will he push the tolerance of the Hollows folk too far? And what of the monster that lurks at their house?

What do I think?

The Wingfeather series is getting better and better with each book, in my opinion. The series with this book has moved its center from humor toward serious themes. The book is fast-paced and contains lovable characters and great plot twists. Heroic deeds make it an emotional read, too. And it’s so cool to have such a flawed young hero as Kalmar. The book has a solid Christian foundation, a creator God who loves his people. You’ll love this book. I did.

This post is part of the Christian Science Fiction/Fantasy (CSFF) blog tour. Please take some time and look at what others are saying about this same book, on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

Gillian Adams
Red Bissell
Jennifer Bogart
Thomas Clayton Booher
Beckie Burnham
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Cynthia Dyer
Amber French
Nikole Hahn
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Shannon McDermott
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirriam Neal
Eve Nielsen
Joan Nienhuis
Donita K. Paul
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Tammy Shelnut
Kathleen Smith
Donna Swanson
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Rachel Wyant

Series Web site – http://www.WingfeatherSaga.com/
Author’s Web site – http://www.andrew-peterson.com/

The Skin Map by Stephen Lawhead, a review

skinmapThe Skin Map by Stephen Lawhead
Published 2010 by Thomas Nelson, 398 pages
Genre: Fantasy, suitable for adults and teens

Stephen Lawhead starts off his new Bright Empires series with this book, The Skin Map. The title refers to a grisly artifact: a parchment made from the skin of a man. This man was an experienced time/space traveler across alternate universes who had his torso tatooed with markings that served as a map in case he would get lost. (I was put off by the grisly part, but decided to forge ahead anyway, and I am very glad I did. There was nothing gory about this book.)

An alternate universe, by the way, is spawned by decisions made differently at a key point in history. For example, two of the characters go back to 1600s London and purposefully wake someone up so as to prevent the Great Fire of London. So from that point on, history is different in that universe.

The alternate universes idea is a favorite of physicist Stephen Hawkings, and it has made its way into literature before, most notably in Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass and following books. Pullman argues that God is either dead or irrelevant, so I, a Christian, found reading those books the opposite of edifying. Lawhead, on the other hand, is a Christian, though his books these days are subtle about their underlying worldview. I did enjoy reading this book.

Many fantasy books start with the protagonist living a humdrum existence. Then the protagonist finds himself swept into an alternate fantasy world somehow. In The Skin Map, the main characters find themselves swept not into a fantasy universe, but into medieval Europe in the early 1600s.

Kit Livingstone is a young contemporary Londoner leading a boring life, trying to please a boring girlfriend, when he suddenly meets his great-grandfather in an alley. His great-grandfather, a stranger who is a vigorous old man, invites Kit for a bite to eat and leads him to the other end of the alley–which opens into a medieval fishing village elsewhere in England.

Kit is shocked by the strangeness of the experience and runs back to his humdrum circumstances. He tries to tell his girlfriend about it. She doesn’t believe him, so he brings her to the alley, which runs along a “ley line” or joint line between alternate universes. The ley line returns him to his grandfather’s fishing village, but the girlfriend, Wilhelmina, vanishes into somewhere else. So now Kit and and his great-grandfather have to rescue her–she could be in deep trouble somewhere. But where? And when?

Kit also finds himself enmeshed in his great-grandfather’s struggle against the bad guy, Lord Burleigh, who is crossing time, space, and alternate universes looking for the Skin Map. The great-grandfather has part of the map squirreled away in Oxford, or thinks he does. So Burleigh’s men, armed with a huge saber-toothed cat from the Pleistocene, attack him whenever he uses ley travel.

Meanwhile Wilhelmina finds herself dumped into Prague in the early 1600s. A baker, she is picked up on the roadside by a German baker. Together they start a bakery business. Soon Wilhelmina is actually doing well. She even runs into Lord Burleigh and gets by unscathed.

But things are not going so well for Kit and his great-grandfather in modern Egypt. Together with some allies, they seem to face certain defeat and death at the hands of the evil Burleigh. I will stop here–read the book to find out more!

What do I think?

Lawhead does a great job with his characters. I especially like how Wilhelmina transforms from a catatonic city dweller to an energetic and enterprising businesswoman. Kit grows too, of course. It’s funny when he, a thoroughly modern guy, tries to make friends with a wagon driver from medieval England, who is in a lower social class and gets very uncomfortable.

The story is told through the eyes of four different characters: Kit; Wilhelmina; Arthur, the man with the skin map; and Lord Burleigh. Only a bit is told of Arthur and Lord Burleigh. The sole chapter from Lord Burleigh’s point of view informs us that he is a shady antiquities dealer from the present era, leaving much untold about his motives and designs. But in later chapters it becomes clear that the atheist Burleigh is after information on the mysterious Well of Souls, which may have something to do with reviving the dead. I am wondering now whether there will be an Indiana Jones-like collision of stupid atheists and the raw power of God at the crux of the series, which will run to five books.

Because The Skin Map is part of a larger story, it leaves many issues unresolved. So finishing it is not entirely satisfying. But I am expecting more great characters, plot thickening, and resolution in the next book, and I hope it’s not too long coming out! Lawhead does a great job of spinning a yarn. I recommend this book for teens and adults.

Read my reviews of all five books in the series: one, two, three, four, five.

This review is part of the Christian Science Fiction/Fantasy (CSFF) Blog tour. Take a minute to check out what other bloggers are saying about this book:

Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
Jeff Chapman
Christian Fiction Book Reviews
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
George Duncan
April Erwin
Tori Greene
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Shannon McDermott
Allen McGraw
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
John W. Otte
Gavin Patchett
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Kathleen Smith
Rachel Starr Thomson
Donna Swanson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Elizabeth Williams
Dave Wilson

Author’s website: http://www.stephenlawhead.com/

The 2010 Christy Awards: fantasies are winners!

The 2010 Christy Awards were announced over the weekend. I’m proud to say that three of the recipients were reviewed here at the Christian Fantasy Review, all of them part of the Christian Science Fiction/Fantasy Blog Tour. I found all three to be outstanding works.

They are:

SUSPENSE

    Lost Mission by Athol Dickson – Howard Books: a Division of Simon & Schuster

VISIONARY (meaning speculative fiction)

YOUNG ADULT

There were six other categories in the Christy awards, ranging from contemporary romance to historical.

Notice that the winners were in two other categories besides “visionary.” These two books, Dickson’s and Peterson’s, are winners in their “other” genres: suspense and young adult. Way to go, writers! Maybe the heart of the market is softening toward science fiction and fantasy, told from a Christian worldview. I sure hope so.

The Christy Awards are a way for the industry to recognize outstanding fiction sold in the Christian marketplace. They are named for Catherine Marshall’s beloved novel Christy.

Source: Rebecca Luella Miller