Tag Archives: christian fantasy book

Raven’s Ladder by Jeffrey Overstreet, a Review

ravensladder

Raven’s Ladder by Jeffrey Overstreet, a Review
Published by Waterbrook Press, 2009, 380 pages
Genre: Christian fantasy, suitable for teens and adults

I read the first book in this series, Auralia’s Colors, but didn’t have time to read the acclaimed second one, Cyndere’s Midnight. This is the third in the series of four called The Auralia Thread. As I read Raven’s Ladder, I missed out on various references to previous happenings. I do recommend you read these in order!

Raven is Cal-Raven, the young king of the refugee community of House Abascar. In the first book, Abascar’s King Cal-Marcus made some terrible decisions that resulted in the loss of the community’s lovely dwelling, most of their people, and the death of Cal-Marcus.

Now Cal-Raven is trying to lead his refugee people through a dangerous land to a new home as revealed to him by the Keeper, an Aslan figure. Problem is, they mostly don’t trust his vision for a new home, or for a new order for them where previous class lines are erased and former nobles are expected to rub shoulders with former criminals. They remind me of the reluctant Israelites following Moses in the desert.

After a year of hiding out in a large cave, they take a sojourn in Egypt, so to speak: another of the four houses of the Expanse, Bel Amica, draws them in. In Bel Amica they find plenty of food and material wealth and are given jobs to earn their keep. However, it’s a Godless place, where everyone is out for himself. Wicked seers are in charge in all but name. Treason is afoot. Will House Abascar be able to leave?

Another thread in the story involves more refugees from House Abascar who are prisoners of the beastmen of House Cent Regus. House Cent Regus at some point in the past was accursed, and its people became hideous beastmen, addicted to the elixir that binds them to beastliness,  mindless in their aggressions.

The Keeper has sent a boy named Rescue to save them, but he needs Cal-Raven’s help. Will these prisoners be set free?

What do I think?

This book is very lyrical, full of wonderful and original uses of words. It’s also a great page-turner of a story, impossible to predict and full of illusions where things are not as they seem at first.

I was struck by the portrayal of godless House Bel Amica, where everyone is out for himself, people worship moon spirits, and occult seers are in charge in all but name. The materialism described  sounds familiar. Could it be a version of America? What does this vision have to tell us about ourselves? Interesting thing to ponder.

Men who become beasts, with their exterior imitating their dark interior, is a theme as old as the folktale. Like other stories, this story includes a beast who is redeemed. Also good to ponder: where is the beast in me?

In short, this book engaged me on mental and emotional levels, and tickled my beauty appreciation sense. I suspect other lovers of fantasy will want to feast on this book too. –Phyllis Wheeler

My review of the first book:

http://christian-fantasy-book-reviews.com/2010/04/26/auralias-colors-by-jeffrey-overstreet-a-review/

My review of the fourth book:

http://christian-fantasy-book-reviews.com/2011/05/16/the-ale-boys-feast-by-jeffrey-overstreet-a-review/

This is Day Two of the CSFF Blog Tour on Raven’s Ladder. Check out what others have to say about this book. Participants who had blogged about it as of this morning have a “+” by their name below.

Author’s Blog

+ Brandon Barr
Rachel Briard
Keanan Brand
+ Beckie Burnham
+ Melissa Carswell
Valerie Comer
CSFF Blog Tour
+ Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
+ Shane Deal
Jeff Draper
+ April Erwin
Ryan Heart
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
+ Jason Joyner
+ Julie
+ Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
+ Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
+ John W. Otte
Donita K. Paul
Crista Richey
+ Chawna Schroeder
Andrea Schultz
+ James Somers
+ Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
+ Fred Warren
+ Phyllis Wheeler
KM Wilsher

Auralia’s Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet, a Review

auralia
Auralia’s Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet
Published 2007 by Waterbrook Press, 333 pages.
Genre: Christian Fantasy, suitable for teens and adults

Auralia’s Colors is a multi-layered story, the beginning of a longer story arc called The Auralia Thread. Auralia, an orphan of mysterious origin, comes to live with the outcasts outside the kingdom of House Abascar.  As the story unfolds, Auralia’s unusual powers become apparent; she has powers of healing related to amazing uses of colors.

In the Expanse, the land where Abascar is one of four houses or communities, color has different properties from what we are used to. It’s possible to hoard colors and even ban them, which is what the misguided king of House Abascar has done.

This king, full of fears, burdens his people and keeps them from joy. He is confronted with Auralia, who bravely weaves and wears colors to bring healing in defiance of his ban.  He fails the test, with disastrous results.

What do I think?

I had a bit of trouble getting into this book and identifying with Auralia, who seems somehow otherworldly. But once I got into the book, I had trouble putting it down. The characters are well drawn, the plot has wonderful twists and turns, and many subplots with a variety of characters weave together to create a cohesive whole.

It’s not an overtly Christian book, but the Christian worldview is plainly there. There is a deity called the Keeper who figures in the plot, and who reminds me a bit of Aslan–appearing as an animal, yes, but far more than that.

Auralia’s Colors clearly lays the foundation for a larger work, and I am very interested to read the rest! –Phyllis Wheeler

My review of the third book:

http://christian-fantasy-book-reviews.com/2010/04/27/ravens-ladder-by-jeffrey-overstreet-a-review/

My review of the fourth book:

http://christian-fantasy-book-reviews.com/2011/05/16/the-ale-boys-feast-by-jeffrey-overstreet-a-review/

****************

This is the first post for the Christian Science Fiction/Fantasy (CSFF) Blog Tour on Jeffrey Overstreet’s newest novel, Raven’s Ladder. That book is third in the series that began with Auralia’s Colors, so I thought I had better read Auralia’s Colors first.  For my take on Raven’s Ladder, take a look tomorrow at this blog! In the meantime, please take a look at what others on the blog tour are saying about Raven’s Ladder, and possibly the books that came before it too.

Author’s Blog

Brandon Barr
Rachel Briard (BooksForLife)
Keanan Brand
Beckie Burnham
Melissa Carswell
Valerie Comer
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Shane Deal
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Ryan Heart
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Julie
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
John W. Otte
Donita K. Paul
Crista Richey
Chawna Schroeder
Andrea Schultz
James Somers
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
KM Wilsher

Athol Dickson speaks

Lost Mission author Athol Dickson agreed to an email interview. Here it is:

Q. The Christian characters in the book are both Catholic and protestant; the protagonist is Catholic.  Are you a Catholic? What is your take on the Catholic faith vs protestant? What can you tell me about your own faith journey, briefly?

A. I am not a Catholic because I don’t agree with some of their doctrine. I
don’t believe in the immaculate conception, for example. I believe the Bible is very clear that Jesus is the only person who ever lived a life unstained by original sin. I have a few other areas of disagreement which make it impossible for me to be a Catholic, but think God has faithful followers in every part of His church, Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant, just as there are many people in every part who are tragically mistaken and lost.

We can disagree on everything except the basics of the gospel, and still be
brothers and sisters in Christ. The Catholic Church has gotten the gospel wrong in the past, basically making the mistake Paul warns against in Galatians, but then so have many Protestant denominations. Many Catholics believe that we are reconciled to God by faith in Jesus Christ through God’s grace alone, and not by virtue of baptism or christening, nor by any other liturgical ritual, nor because of anything else that we might do. As far as I’m concerned, that makes them my dear brothers and sisters in Christ.

Q. There is a character in the book I would call an angel. Is this how you
think of him, or would you categorize him as something else?

A. I was careful not to use the word “angel” in the book, because I wanted
readers to decide for themselves about the nature of that character.

Q. The plot is “paranormal” except for the fact that the spirit being appears
to be an angel, not a demon. (Though there does seem to be a demonic
influence as well, which isn’t very developed–the one that keeps the friar
from painting the retablo.) Do you think this book belongs in the paranormal
genre?

A. Ah, genre. That’s always been my nemesis. I focus on making my stories as interesting as I can. In the service of telling a fascinating story, I’ll
follow an idea almost anywhere. Sometimes that means my novels end up
straying far outside the lines of any one genre. People have called
different novels I’ve written everything from suspense to mystery to gothic
romance to speculative to magical realism.

Now you’re calling it “paranormal.” Ha! A new one. The publisher’s marketing people get headaches trying to tell people what my work is like, but I think that’s okay. There’s something to be said for opening a new book and not knowing exactly where the ride will take you. Where I try to be consistent is in a high quality of craftsmanship, a sense of redemption, a love of the natural world, and in the fact that the stories are as fresh and original as I can make them.

Q. Was this book a long time in the gestation? It seems very difficult to pull
together, with the parallel stories in different times.

A. Yes, it was hard to write. It took me about a year, including all the back
and forth with editors, which is about how long most of my other novels have required. They’ve all been hard to write, mainly because I won’t follow a
formula.

Q. Did you intend parallels involving the duo of the warring friars and the duo of the rich man and the pastor?

A. Oh, absolutely. Everything that happens in LOST MISSION is connected across both space and time, just as it is in life. That’s one of the themes in the story. How do we deal with that reality? What does it mean in terms of the choices we make next? Are we stuck in some kind of eternally repeating loop, or can we break patterns and strike out in new directions?

Q. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

A. Writing is a rotten way to make a living, so the only sane reason to do it
is because you love it.

So, readers, this book is generating quite a bit of discussion on the CSFF blog tour. Take a look!
Amanda Barr
Keanan Brand
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Timothy Hicks
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Julie
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Donita K. Paul
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
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

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

Swords of the Six by Scott Appleton, a Review

swordsofsix

Swords of the Six by Scott Appleton
Book One of The Sword of the Dragon
Flaming Pen Press, 2009, 281 pages

Genre: Christian fantasy, young adult/adult (no sexy stuff)

This book is the story of six young women who are daughters of a white dragon. The dragon has mysterious creative and healing powers. A created being, he calls on a benevolent Creator for help, as do his daughters.

The protagonist is Dantress, one of the six young women. She is adventurous even as a child, and willing to risk all for those she loves.

As the story develops, she and her sisters are given a mission. They leave the blessed palace where they grew up and go into the realms dominated by evil to perform an errand. As dragons who look like humans, they have special powers.

Next, the white dragon sends the six to live in the woods on the edge of lands inhabited by humans. What happens next is a love story involving Dantress and a local hero, Ilfedo.

The tale actually sets the stage for another, larger, work featuring Ilfedo. This
will start with the next book in the series.

It takes a while to discern the rules governing this fantasy world. Apparently, the
Creator governs everything but has given plenty of supernatural powers to the white dragon. Regular humans don’t have any magical powers at all, and live in a realm dominated by evil wizards, who do.  The white dragon keeps tabs on what is happening in the humans’ realm, occasionally tearing a hole in the sky at his palace and appearing in the other realm, often just in time to rescue the good guys, but sometimes a tad too late.  There are also very evil dragons, black and green, along with the sorcerers.  It’s a pretty dark world. But because of the white dragon, not overwhelmingly so.

What did I think?

The book is certainly imaginative, with plenty of details–life in a palace
containing a tree that is habitat for fairies;  transparent ceilings that let you just
look up to see the weather. Life in Ilfedo’s woodland cabin is also pretty cool–it too
opens to the sky at times.

It’s a moral book, with treachery identified as the evil that it is. It’s also a
book about grace, with those who committed evil left given the chance to turn away from their deeds.

Characterization is solid, I found.

And so this book does what it set out to do, namely setting the stage for a larger work. Accordingly, I am left, at the end, wondering what will happen next. However, this first book lacks what I was expecting: a cohesive overarching conflict that is resolved at the end of the book.  It is really a chain of several stories, all of them needed to set the stage. So it seems more like a prequel than an opening for a series.

Nevertheless, it is a tale with a rock-solid foundation in the loving God that I know through Jesus Christ. And I am indeed waiting for the next one!–Phyllis Wheeler

Interview with Allan Miller: Blog Tour Day 3

This is the final day of the CSFF March Blog Tour, featuring Hunter Brown and the Secret of the Shadow by homeschool graduates Christopher and Allan Miller. These brothers live in the Seattle area. Both are married and have two young boys. Allan kindly granted me an email interview. Here it is!

Q: I saw a banner ad at homeschoolblogger.com that indicated you and your brother were homeschooled. Can you tell me about that? All the way through?

A: We were homeschooled for my 6th-11th (I graduated one year early) and Chris’ 8th-12th grades. Prior to that we attended a private school in Fairbanks, AK. The year we moved from AK to WA (my 2nd grade and Chris’ 5th grade) my mom had homeschooled us so we could be flexible during the move. We loved it! However, this was 1986-87 and homeschooling was not very “popular”. Not yet comfortable with the idea that she could successfully teach us at home, my mom enrolled us in private school the following year after we moved. However, neither us or our parents were settled with the decision.

After my brother completed his 7th grade year he asked mom if we could homeschool again… she had been feeling the same way. So, we bravely jumped back into it and we will forever be indebted to our parents for that gift. Homeschooling truly is a gift from parents for every kid who receives it. One of the greatest benefits of home-based learning is the opportunities it gives you to discover your strengths and invest time into those.

We found that our base subjects (math, english, science, etc) were able to be completed rather quickly, leaving us with time to explore interests like art, animation, or writing stories. Additionally, as our parents started seeing our passions forming, they encouraged us to incorporate them into all of our studies – leading to us writing/illustrate children’s books as our science projects – books that creatively taught the concept of physics or light/color through story. I believe this is a HUGE contributor to directing our future path towards becoming published author/illustrators.

The time homeschooling also allowed Chris and I to really grow in appreciation for each other as friends which eventually led to us attending the Art Institute of Seattle together in 95-97. The combination of our friendship and our strong foundation in faith, nurtured through homeschooling, helped us stand firm in our convictions even amidst a strongly secular college environment. So, in short, we would never wish we had our schooling any other way. It was fantastic!

Q: Who is older and by how much?

A: Chris is older by 2 1/2 years. Somehow that didn’t stop us from becoming great friends – sharing many of the same friends throughout our teens.

Q: Apparently you also worked in a Christian bookstore while homeschooling?

A:My parents and grandparents (mom’s side) ran a Christian bookstore up in Fairbanks, AK for a number of years. So, soon after entering the world both Chris and I were brought into a world of books – tucked behind the counter. Many of our earliest memories are of roaming the aisles after-hours and making little forts between the tent-shaped bookshelves where we’d peek out through holes of the peg-board backing to spy on customers (you never knew there were spies in the bookstores did you?)

After moving to WA our parents started a Christian School Book Club (think Scholastic) and after selling that began traveling as Representatives for a homeschool distributor. So, we never really could escape books. In fact, Chris and I recall thinking about how we would be glad to never have to haul another box of books after high school… oh the irony that we now haul our OWN books from and to events and schools!

Q: Did you find a lack of Christian fantasy works to read as you were growing up?

A: As a matter of fact, we did. The older we got, the thinner the selection of GREAT Christian books became. There were some wonderful books, to be sure, but not enough in our opinion. This is one of the driving factors in why we’ve chosen to write the Codebearers Series. In fact, you could say that we are writing these books for ourselves – the 10+ year-old versions of ourselves. These are the kind of stories we loved to read (and still do) These are the stories we believe we’ve been called to write and we hope our work answers that call well. There has been nothing more fulfilling than hearing from a reader or parent about how it connected with them and met that very need.

Q: Is the second book out now?

A: The second book, Hunter Brown and the Consuming Fire, is written going through the editing and illustrating process right now. It is slated to be released 9/9/09. You can follow our progress through our website, Codebearers.com, and blog, http://themillerbrothers.blogspot.com

Q: How long are you planning the series to be?

A: We have a 3 book story arch for Hunter Brown that Warner Press has contracted us to complete. The 3rd book should come out summer/fall of 2010. However, we have some other storylines we’d like to explore that may extend the series into more books… possibly following another main character, but that’s all I can tell you now!

Q: Is there a videogame to go with the book? If so, is it similar to the book trailer?

A: There is an online game off of our Codebearers.com website, but it’s not animated in that sense. It plays more like a first-person mystery – where you get to solve visual puzzles and riddles to discover the message that Hunter eludes to at the end of book 1 – so it’s a continuation of the story between book 1 and 2. If you’ve ever played the popular PC games, Myst or Riven, then you’ll be familiar with this style of game. Ours is built with the widely distributed Flash plug-in, so it works on any browser (though dial-up is not recommended). We try to add a new level every month or so, but it’s tough when you are writing a book too!

My brother and I are professional website designers/programmers. That has been our “day job” for the past 11 years. So, much of what you see on Codebearers.com is a direct application of our skills. The website also offers a great community for kids to interact with each other. We also make appearances via a fun “3D Chatroom” every so often. I should also mention, the online game plays for points as does other things like writing a review of the book, recruiting a friend to Codebearers.com, etc. On December 15th we awarded a $400 gift card to Best Buy for the top points earner. It was a lot of fun and we will be starting up the next round of competition soon. (end of interview)

Be sure to check out what other bloggers are saying on this today on the CSFF Blog Tour:

Brandon Barr
Keanan Brand
Melissa Carswell
Valerie Comer
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Shane Deal
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Marcus Goodyear
Todd Michael Greene
Katie Hart
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Jason Isbell
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Mike Lynch
Magma
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
Wade Ogletree
John W. Otte
Steve Rice
Crista Richey
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Jill Williamson

Flashpoint by Frank Creed, a Review

Flashpoint by Frank Creed

Book One of The Underground, published by The Writer’s Cafe Press 2007, 190 pages.

Worldview: Christian

At the beginning of this book, a loving father tells his two kids to jump from his slowly moving car, sending them to hide in the support beams of a highway overpass. Then he drives home to be arrested for a terrorist crime–being a Christian.

In Frank Creed’s grim Chicago of AD 2036, America has succumbed to control by the One State, based in Belgium. Technology allows the government to monitor everyone’s whereabouts, based on numerous video cameras , and on ID chips embedded in people’s left hands and in their cars. Chicago is barely recognizeable, divided into Wards. What were once highway tollbooths have now become checkpoints for crossing from one Ward to another. The One State version of Nazism scapegoats the Christians.  Christians when found are arrested and sent to “rehab” where their DNA is rearranged and they forget who they really are.

Against this backdrop, the two kids, aged 16 and 20, are rescued from the highway overpass by the Christian underground, which they join. They are spiritually and physically “re-formed” with super-tech powers. They take new names: Calamity Kid and his younger sister e-girl. The two dive into a breathlessly fast-paced set of adventures, seeking first to aid some widows and orphans, and then setting out to rescue their family members from rehab. Calamity’s now a Sandman–an elite fighter who doesn’t kill his foes, but instead puts them to sleep. E-girl aids him as a “hacker” on the Internet.

Creed’s Christian worldview is front and center. Calamity and his trainers do their best to live out their faith. Calamity learns to trust the Lord, and gets plenty of direction from Bible verses that the Holy Spirit uses to guide him. I really like that about this book.

What I don’t like is the lingo. This book is a story told by Calamity Kid. He uses plenty of 21st-century slang, some of which I had trouble following. Also, the overall effect is rather cheeky, which doesn’t fit his humble-servant intentions.

It’s a well-written tale, full of action that draws you right in and keeps you turning the pages. It’s a great Christian witness to the gamer generation: its hero, with plenty of techno-superpowers, still must depend on the Lord for any measure of success.–Phyllis Wheeler

If you would like to buy this book, consider buying it through me to help pay the expenses of operating this blog. Thanks!

A contest for a Christian fantasy book

There is a Web site that offers free items appealing to Christians in the form of contests. Today and tomorrow, the contest prize is a Christian fantasy young adult novel by Andrew Peterson.  It’s called “On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness.”

Here’s the link: http://christiancontest.com/