Tag Archives: christian fantasy book

Earthbow by Sherry Thompson, a review

Earthbow, The Second of the Narentan Tumults, by Sherry Thompson
Published 2010 by Gryphonwood Press, 2 volumes each about 250 pages
Genre: Christian fantasy, suitable for young adult and adult

Sherry Thompson’s earlier work in this series, Seabird, set a very high standard.  Earthbow continues the tradition and actually expands it.

This story takes place in another world called Narenta. An “outworlder” from Earth is brought there to spearhead deliverance from the evil lord who is taking over the state of Latimin. This outworlder, Xander, is the brother of the outworlder from Seabird, Cara. Like Cara, Xander starts out bewildered and self-centered.

This book features a highly complex plot with several subplots and and plenty of well-drawn and believable characters. Harone, a young wizard initiate (one of the good guys), brings Xander into Latimin from the neighboring country and then sets out on a strange mission: to convince at least one of the extremely evil powerful sorcerers, imprisoned for ages by Alphesis (Jesus), to turn to the light.

Another subplot revolves around a young knight, Coris, who starts out a man-at-arms. He works in the guard for Cenoc, one of the chiefs in Latimin. Coris realizes that Cenoc is torturing innocents, asking Coris to break his noble vows to aid weaker folks. So he flees Cenoc. Meanwhile, Cenoc is gathering evil power to himself and turning into the extremely awful chief bad guy of the book.

And of course Xander, with his strange weapon the Earthbow, which Alphesis has given him. How does it work? It’s a bow, the kind that shoots bows and arrows, and Xander learns to do a bit of shooting with it. It also sings to him. Part of Xander’s assignment is to get to know and love the trees, other plants, and animals of the forests of Latimin. How does that figure into all this?

Cenoc, gathering power like a hurricane, extorts cooperation from the Pannians who look like something with tentacles and eye stalks. The Pannians become Cenoc’s troops, and things look very bad for the good guys. These Pannians are sorcerers, so any normal good guy who doesn’t have a wizard with him for protection is dead.

What do I think?

I think this is a wonderful book. Sherry Thompson does a great job of pulling the reader into the character’s emotions, pulling the reader through a tale that’s massive in scope. The book is a wonderful Christian witness as well, with Alphesis (Jesus) exerting a commanding but loving presence even when unseen. I vote that Sherry Thompson get a regular publisher, rather than an idie publisher, (and a few minor edits) and become more widely known. She deserves to be famous.

The Charlatan’s Boy by Jonathan Rogers, a review

The Charlatan’s Boy by Jonathan Rogers
Published 2010 by Waterbrook, 305 pages
Genre: middle grade/young adult Christian fantasy

The main fantastic element in this Mark Twain-ish book is the setting. The setting is an island somewhere that sounds like a part of the American South. There cattle drovers and farmers work for their wages and then get fleeced by flim flam operators.  It seems less like fantasy to me than like supreme inventiveness.

By far the best thing about this book is the voice of the narrator, Grady.  He’s an orphan who sounds a lot like Huck Finn. Poor Grady has absolutely no idea what his true origin is, since he can’t trust the charlatan Floyd who raised him to tell the truth. The two of them tour the island with one confidence scheme after another, and some of the time Grady wishes he had a family and a village of his own to live in.

The first and most successful confidence scheme involved Grady pretending to be one of the Feechie folk, and charging admission to see him. But the islanders have stopped believing that the Feechie folk exist, so the lucrative scheme doesn’t work any more.  Grady and Floyd set out to make them fear the Feechie in order to revive the scam. That’s when things get more interesting. Feechie folk, by the way, are skinny little people who may or may not live in the marshes. Inciting Feechie fear involves inventing wind-powered moaning machines, and so on. A scare is born! It’s hilarious how gullible these simple folk are.

What do I think?

I am delighted with the character Grady, the orphan who doesn’t know what to think about himself.  He shares more than a voice with Huck Finn, also basically an orphan.  But the book lacked overarching suspense in the middle, as the tale went from obstacle to obstacle. The ending was satisfying and surprising, and I won’t tell you what it is!

The Christian plot points involve praying for help and receiving it, without mentioning who is prayed to.  Honesty is a big theme for Grady, who has been taught to lie but who manages to have an honest heart anyway. Your kids will enjoy this book.

The author, Jonathan Rogers, invited people to create and submit Youtube videos on the subject of Feechies, and he posted them on his blog. Inventive folks created all kinds of new scary characteristics for Feechies in these videos. Take a look.

This is part of the Christian Science Fiction/Fantasy Blog Tour. Check out what others are saying in the next three days on this book:

Sally Apokedak
Amy Bissell
Red Bissell
Jennifer Bogart
Thomas Clayton Booher
Keanan Brand
Beckie Burnham
Jeff Chapman
Christian Fiction Book Reviews
Valerie Comer
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
April Erwin
Andrea Graham
Tori Greene
Katie Hart
Bruce Hennigan
Christopher Hopper
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Shannon McDermott
Allen McGraw
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
Donita K. Paul
SarahFlan
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Tammy Shelnut
Kathleen Smith
James Somers
Donna Swanson
Robert Treskillard
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Elizabeth Williams
Dave Wilson

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.”

Taliesin by Stephen Lawhead, a review

taliesinTaliesin by Stephen Lawhead
Published 1987
Genre: Christian Arthurian fantasy, suitable for YA and adults

The Christian Science Fiction/Fantasy Blog Tour this month is asking each of us to review a favorite book.  I chose Stephen Lawhead’s Taliesin, Book One of his five-book Pendragon Cycle.  Unfortunately I no longer have a copy of this book–I am sure I enthusiastically lent it to various people until someone forgot to return it. But I do remember it pretty well I think.

This is the story of Charis, a princess of Atlantis, and Taliesin, a bard from Britain. A prophet on Atlantis warns of impending doom, but of course everyone there ignores him. Except, after a while, Charis, who prepares her family for disaster. A group of them survives the cataclysm that swallows Atlantis and lands on the shores of Britain in the days when Rome’s influence is waning.

The Atlanteans are bigger, taller, and stronger than the Britons, and they live considerably longer–not to mention they are used to the comforts of civilization. They are called the “Fair Folk” in the book and seem mysterious to the simple Britons.

Taliesin, meanwhile, is a druid bard who becomes a Christian. He woos, converts, and wins Charis, now the “Lady of the Lake” living on an island in a lake in southern Britain with her father.  From the union of Charis and Taliesin comes Merlin, who has prodigious gifts from both his parents.

The rest of the Pendragon Cycle is built on this foundation. I loved these books, especially the solid Christian worldview underpinning this wonderful fantasy.  If you haven’t read them, do so!!

Find out favorite books of the other tour members! See below.

AND don’t forget to vote for your favorite Christian fantasy novel published in 2009.  This is the Clive Staples Award; votes are being taken through the month of August, so your time to vote is running out.

Vote here: http://clivestaplesaward.wordpress.com/2010/08/02/2010-clive-staples-award-voting/

See list of nominated books:  http://clivestaplesaward.wordpress.com/2010-nominations-complete-list/

CSFF tour members for this month:

Brandon Barr
Thomas Clayton Booher
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
Jeff Chapman
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
George Duncan
April Erwin
Andrea Graham
Tori Greene
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Becky Jesse
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Mike Lynch
Rebecca LuElla Miller
New Authors Fellowship
John W. Otte
Donita K. Paul
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Speculative Faith
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Jason Waguespac
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler
KM Wilsher

What Others Are Saying About Starlighter by Bryan Davis

blackeggI thought I’d save you readers a bit of work and go through the blog tour posts to date on Bryan Davis’s novel Starlighter, the subject of the CSFF blog tour this week.

I found a variety of opinions, some very favorable, others more reserved.  There fun talk from Fred Wilsher about dragons and how writers have written about them, and a fragment of a tale from fellow dragon writer Donita K. Paul about when she and Bryan went to a secular DragonCon.

I found out that Bryan Davis is a former computer guy turned teen dragon writer, and his favorite literary character is Atticus Finch. Now, I’m pretty fond of Atticus too.

So, take a look at the blog posts linked below to see what others have been saying.  Note: the tour lasts through tomorrow, so I am missing some.

Brandon Barr
Beckie Burnham “In discussing Starlighter with my husband, we explored the reasons behind what I deemed cons in the book. We came to the conclusion that the audience for which this book was written, young adults, probably would have no trouble with what I found distracting. Youth today often are exposed to fantasy and modern technology in their video games, movies, etc. and would welcome the blending of the two in this novel.”
Jeff Chapman
Jeff Chapman
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
Andrea Graham” The prince in the black egg: his nature is kept, probably deliberately, mysterious for most of the book—a prophecy hints at a sinister intent towards humans early on, but he plays nice guy, (the egg can talk, too) trying to sound like Jesus, but actually reversing the Lord’s teachings subtly. In the end, the author highlights this without being preachy. It does occur to me, were teens as stupid as all the telling early on would suggest, they might miss this subtly and think he’s the wise counselor he wants others to believe he is. I think not, though.”
Tori Greene
Nikole Hahn“It is a book with all of the right elements of a good story, and though it is considered a book for teens, I would recommend it for all ages.”
Julie
Carol Keen “Starlighter is good to read, and leaves you happily waiting for the next book in the series. Many aspects of human frailties and strengths were shown where they were easy to understand, and compared nicely to the traits of the dragons.”
Krystine Kercher “Bryan Davis’s new book, Starlighter, should win some kind of award for most memorable artwork. I’ve had this interesting conversation several times over with teens I know here recently. ‘You have the book with the black dragon’s egg on the front! No fair! That is so waaaaay cool…'”
Leighton “I will tell you that the MAIN reason that I wasn’t to enthusiastic about this book is the ending. The ending not only solved NOTHING, but mixed and matched the wrong people with and separated them without any word as to what became of Adrian!”
Leighton “I had trouble seeing any specific purpose in the plot or anything. There were some ‘Pro-Life’ comments and/or sentiments. That was good.”
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Rebecca LuElla Miller “Betrayal makes for intriguing plot elements. Thinking of Starlighter in particular, I soon found myself questioning who was on the side of right and who the protagonists could actually trust.”
John W. Otte “Davis’s characters were fun, that’s for sure. I liked Koren’s dramatic streak and Jason’s nobility. Tibber the Fibber made me chuckle on more than one occasion. And I especially liked Elyssa.”
John W. Otte “In some ways, the book is an odd blend of fantasy and sci-fi that doesn’t quite mesh well enough and I think that’s why I ultimately had problems really getting into the book.”
Donita K. Paul “I first met Bryan Davis in 2004. We were both braving the very secular DragonCon in Atlanta, Georgia to participate in the teen track.”
Donita K. Paul“I love names. Making up names for my characters is probably the most fun of writing a book. Here are a few names from Starlighter to arouse your curiosity.”
Chawna Schroeder
Rachel Starr Thomson
Rachel Starr Thomson “Starlighter is an engaging story, made especially so by its cast of characters. It’s a clean read, appropriate for any reader who can handle a little (non-gory) violence and scariness. Davis writes with good humour and plenty of heart.”
Steve Trower
Steve Trower “It’s the Top Ten Starlight Songs!”
Fred Warren “As for the dragons, their prophecy of a powerful new prince who will usher in a golden age of prosperity is about to be fulfilled. Unfortunately, that shining utopia has no room for humans.”
Fred Warren Comparing the dragons in this book to a variety of other portrayals. “Davis’ dragons are actually rather human, underneath all those scales, and just as ethically conflicted.” “What is a race of creatures hobbled by limited fine motor skills and lacking any visible industry or manufacturing capability doing with all this advanced tech?” “My inner Frodo is okay with the mystery, but my inner Spock needs it all to add up. There are three installments of the Dragons of Starlight series yet to come, so I’m willing to wait for the explanation.”
Dona Watson
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler
Jill Williamson
Jill Williamson interviewing the author: “You have the chance to spend the day with any character from one of your favorite books (not one you’ve written). Who would you choose and why?” Author: “I would choose Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. He is a loving father who displayed the highest moral character in the face of hate-filled opposition. ”
KM Wilsher

Author blog for Bryan Davis

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/xjy/3518111488/

Starlighter by Bryan Davis, a Review

starlighter

Starlighter by Bryan Davis, a review
First book in the series Dragons of Starlight
Published 2010 by Zondervan, 400 pages
Genre:  Christian fantasy/sci fi, Young Adult appealing also to adults

This tale is told in two different worlds, neither one of them our world.  One, the home of dragons, is a place of woe and slavery for humans; the other, the home of humans, is under tyranny, at least in the location we are told about.

At some point in the past, the dragons found a gateway between the two worlds and stole some humans to start their slave colony. They required the work of human slaves to do what they could not: mine deep into their ground and release a gas that the dragons need for life, which was dwindling in their atmosphere.

In both worlds, the story of the Lost Ones is considered a fable; the human slaves think they have always been slaves on the dragon planet, and the world they left considers their story to be a fable as well.

The writer develops heroes on each world, focusing on Jason, a teenager from the human world, and Koren, a 15-year-old girl from the slave world. Jason and his two older brothers are trained warriors who want to bring the Lost Ones back. Jason risks his own lives repeatedly for the mission.  Koren, meanwhile, has amazing storytelling gifts, and so is called the Starlighter on her world.  There is  a  black dragon egg, and prophecies about great or terrible things that will happen when it hatches.

Is this science fiction or fantasy? The book contains many classic fantasy tale elements: sentient dragons, skilled medieval-style swordsmen, a gateway between worlds, and so on. It also contains science fiction elements: gadgets such as a photo gun that doesn’t work very well, and a recording device that allows Jason to see a video of his older brother’s message from the dragon world.  There’s also some kind of gas lighting that lights up homes of the nobility.

The Christian worldview? It’s there. Koren, at least, has a strong faith in a creator God.  There are some references to the Code, apparently a version of the Bible which Koren and her fellow slaves pass around and memorize. Jason’s faith, in contrast, isn’t drawn as strongly. Perhaps it will develop more in future books.

This opening book in the series doesn’t have a major resolution, but points to the books that will follow. Eventually I got into this book and did not want to put down–it has plenty of suspenseful moments. My only objection to it is that I found Jason and his brothers’ obsession with helping the Lost Ones to be a bit unrealistic.  They were risking their lives big time to rescue some people they had never met. Is altruism that strong a motivator?–Phyllis Wheeler

This review is part of the Christian Science Fiction/Fantasy (CSFF) Blog Tour. Please check out what others on the tour are saying:

Brandon Barr
Beckie Burnham
Jeff Chapman
R. L. Copple
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Andrea Graham
Tori Greene
Nikole Hahn
Ryan Heart
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Leighton
Jane Maritz
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Donita K. Paul
Crista Richey
SarahFlan
Chawna Schroeder
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler
Jill Williamson
KM Wilsher

Author blog for Bryan Davis

Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos, a review

imaginary
Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos, a review
Published 2010 by Tyndale House, 225 pages
Genre:  Youth group discussion materials for teens

This book is a long, entertaining yarn.  The author characterizes it, tongue-in-cheek, in the middle:

“Wouldn’t it be great if someone wrote a sort of semi-autobiographical novel comedy thing instead of a Sunday school lesson for once?” (p. 177)

Matt Mikalatos writes a tale about himself as a seeker, hanging out with Jesus in a coffee shop. But “Pete” (the Apostle Peter) shows up and demonstrates that this is not the real Jesus; he is an imaginary Jesus. Pretty soon we find out that there are lots of imaginary Jesuses, as many as our idolatrous imaginations can cook up.  Finding the REAL Jesus becomes Matt’s goal, although he continually sidetracks himself because he enjoys hanging out with his imaginary Jesus–after all, since Matt made him up, he has a lot in common with Matt!

One of my sons, 17 years old, was talking about zoning out in Sunday School recently. The book they are reading is a exegesis of something or other.  I bet if they were reading this book, he wouldn’t be zoning out. He would get to discuss his own idols and what his imaginary Jesus might be like.

There’s a story in the yarn, too; Matt starts out a novice Christian, fretting over the problem of evil: why did his unborn child die?

The book is delightfully self-conscious; besides the sentence about “wouldn’t it be nice if,” there’s another about a strange coincidence happening “purely for plot convenience,” or something like that.  It’s a lot of fun, full of truth, and peppered with laughter. It’s the perfect thing for my teen son’s Sunday school class.

The book trailer:

This post is part of the Christian Science Fiction/Fantasy (CSFF) Blog Tour. If you’d like to know what others thought of this book, check out their posts:

Brandon Barr
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Valerie Comer
R. L. Copple
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Andrea Graham
Tori Greene
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Leighton
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Donita K. Paul
Crista Richey
Chawna Schroeder
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
KM Wilsher

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

williamson1

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/