Thoughts on Broken Angel

This book has an intriguing premise. At some point in the future America has split, with a fundamentalist Christian state called Appalachia formed inside its borders. The rest of America is a land with computer chip implants, virtual memories, and genetic tampering. These things are absent in Appalachia, replace instead by a theocracy that monitors everyone and drugs people with their communion meal to keep them from questioning things.

The main character in the book, Caitlyn, has a secret hidden from her by her father. This secret has a genetic component, and a tracker chases her to “harvest” this mystery.

However, there are people in Appalachia called the “Clan” who reject the oversight of the church. They try to practice a simple faith (in contrast to the official religion in the land), helping those in need and helping those wanted by the theocracy escape to freedom.

Theocracy. Control. Faith. Surveillance and safety. The future of bioengineering. Genetic manipulation. These are all potent themes for any book to address individually, much less in one book. It is a very ambitious task.

Unfortunately, it’s a risk that falls short of what it could’ve been. My impression is that the project was limited in its length compared with the scope. The author shared on another blog that he was constrained by the fact that the story only takes place over a few days, mostly as one long chase. He’s right that it isn’t necessarily the best setting to wrestle with so many weighty issues. I wonder if the book was cut too short, compressed too much.

The book is a taut thriller with breakneck pacing that has interesting, fleshed-out characters. It is worth a read for a suspenseful tale. It just seems to overshoot its constraints.

I also read yesterday that the author is writing the sequel. This may allow him to investigate the potential inherent in his bold themes further. I’m hopeful to see what comes next from Mr. Brouwer.

Thoughts on Broken Angel

This book has an intriguing premise. At some point in the future America has split, with a fundamentalist Christian state called Appalachia formed inside its borders. The rest of America is a land with computer chip implants, virtual memories, and genetic tampering. These things are absent in Appalachia, replace instead by a theocracy that monitors everyone and drugs people with their communion meal to keep them from questioning things.

The main character in the book, Caitlyn, has a secret hidden from her by her father. This secret has a genetic component, and a tracker chases her to “harvest” this mystery.

However, there are people in Appalachia called the “Clan” who reject the oversight of the church. They try to practice a simple faith (in contrast to the official religion in the land), helping those in need and helping those wanted by the theocracy escape to freedom.

Theocracy. Control. Faith. Surveillance and safety. The future of bioengineering. Genetic manipulation. These are all potent themes for any book to address individually, much less in one book. It is a very ambitious task.

Unfortunately, it’s a risk that falls short of what it could’ve been. My impression is that the project was limited in its length compared with the scope. The author shared on another blog that he was constrained by the fact that the story only takes place over a few days, mostly as one long chase. He’s right that it isn’t necessarily the best setting to wrestle with so many weighty issues. I wonder if the book was cut too short, compressed too much.

The book is a taut thriller with breakneck pacing that has interesting, fleshed-out characters. It is worth a read for a suspenseful tale. It just seems to overshoot its constraints.

I also read yesterday that the author is writing the sequel. This may allow him to investigate the potential inherent in his bold themes further. I’m hopeful to see what comes next from Mr. Brouwer.

CFBA Tour – Twice Loved

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Twice Loved

Avon Inspire (July 22, 2008)

by

Lori Copeland

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lori lives in the beautiful Ozarks with her husband Lance. Lance and Lori have three sons, two daughter-in-laws, and five wonderful grandchildren. They are very involved in their church, and active in supporting mission work in Mali, West Africa.

Lori began her writing career in 1982, writing for the secular book market. In 1995 after many years of writing, Lori sensed that God was calling her to use her gift of writing to honor Him. It was at that time that Lori began writing for the Christian book market. To date, she has more than 95 books published including Now And Always
and Bluebonnet Belle.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Texas, 1865 Willow Madison and her friends, Copper and Audrey taught school in neighboring Texas communities until the Yankees rode into the area and burned them out. In the midst of fear and chaos, survivors banded together to fight for what remained of their homes. Then word reached the people that the terrible war was over.

Now penniless but still hopeful, Willow vows she will take care of her friends, Copper and Audrey, and her ailing uncle, in Thunder Ridge, Texas, even if it means having to marry wealthy Silas Sterling, a man thirty years her senior. But standing in her way is handsome sawmill owner Tucker Gray, with his enticing eyes and infuriating headstrong manner—the man Willow cannot get out of her head . . . or her heart. Even though her friends beg her not to give up her dream of happiness, Willow is determined to do the right thing for those who are dearest to her. But which path does God want Willow to take: a life of duty and commitment . . . or a life of everlasting love?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Twice Loved, go HERE

CFBA Tour – Twice Loved

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Twice Loved

Avon Inspire (July 22, 2008)

by

Lori Copeland

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lori lives in the beautiful Ozarks with her husband Lance. Lance and Lori have three sons, two daughter-in-laws, and five wonderful grandchildren. They are very involved in their church, and active in supporting mission work in Mali, West Africa.

Lori began her writing career in 1982, writing for the secular book market. In 1995 after many years of writing, Lori sensed that God was calling her to use her gift of writing to honor Him. It was at that time that Lori began writing for the Christian book market. To date, she has more than 95 books published including Now And Always
and Bluebonnet Belle.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Texas, 1865 Willow Madison and her friends, Copper and Audrey taught school in neighboring Texas communities until the Yankees rode into the area and burned them out. In the midst of fear and chaos, survivors banded together to fight for what remained of their homes. Then word reached the people that the terrible war was over.

Now penniless but still hopeful, Willow vows she will take care of her friends, Copper and Audrey, and her ailing uncle, in Thunder Ridge, Texas, even if it means having to marry wealthy Silas Sterling, a man thirty years her senior. But standing in her way is handsome sawmill owner Tucker Gray, with his enticing eyes and infuriating headstrong manner—the man Willow cannot get out of her head . . . or her heart. Even though her friends beg her not to give up her dream of happiness, Willow is determined to do the right thing for those who are dearest to her. But which path does God want Willow to take: a life of duty and commitment . . . or a life of everlasting love?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Twice Loved, go HERE

CSFF Tour – Broken Angel

This month’s CSFF tour features a book with an intriguing premise and some challenging thoughts about the future – Broken Angel by Sigmund Brouwer. I haven’t read any of the other tour comments yet, but it promises to be an interesting discussion.

I plan on posting thoughts about the book tomorrow, but here is my review from a previous blog tour earlier this year. To see what other people are saying, check out the links below (if you go to Becky Miller’s blog, she’ll highlight which blogs have posted).

Brandon Barr
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Janey DeMeo
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Mark Goodyear
Andrea Graham
Katie Hart
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Joleen Howell
Carol Keen
Magma
Margaret
Shannon McNear
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
John W. Otte
Steve Rice
Ashley Rutherford
Hanna Sandvig
Chawna Schroeder
Mirtika or Mir’s Here
Sean Slagle
James Somers
Donna Swanson
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Laura Williams

CSFF Tour – Broken Angel

This month’s CSFF tour features a book with an intriguing premise and some challenging thoughts about the future – Broken Angel by Sigmund Brouwer. I haven’t read any of the other tour comments yet, but it promises to be an interesting discussion.

I plan on posting thoughts about the book tomorrow, but here is my review from a previous blog tour earlier this year. To see what other people are saying, check out the links below (if you go to Becky Miller’s blog, she’ll highlight which blogs have posted).

Brandon Barr
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Janey DeMeo
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Mark Goodyear
Andrea Graham
Katie Hart
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Joleen Howell
Carol Keen
Magma
Margaret
Shannon McNear
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
John W. Otte
Steve Rice
Ashley Rutherford
Hanna Sandvig
Chawna Schroeder
Mirtika or Mir’s Here
Sean Slagle
James Somers
Donna Swanson
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Laura Williams

CFBA Tour – House of Wolves

How many secret societies ARE there in the world?

Matt Bronleewe is back with another adventure featuring rare book dealer August Adams, his ex-wife April, and his 10 year old son Charlie, in the new book House of Wolves.

In the first book of this tale, Illuminated, we’re introduced to the Adams family as they work to solve a mystery in a old tome. The basic pattern remains, with more twists and turns and new characters to spice things up, like August’s estranged dad Cleveland.

House of Wolves almost never lets up with the suspense, as characters are almost always left hanging in distress while the bad guys (a secret society called the Black Vehm) try to obtain the Gospels of Henry the Lion from August. The action is good and the pacing keeps things moving briskly. For a suspense fan, it will be a good read.

The characterization is a little weaker, perhaps because main characters were introduced in the first book. Other characters receive an extended back story flashback, which slows the pace down at times, and some of these featured people really don’t figure deeply into the tale.

The story moves along from Berlin, New York City, and finally Antarctica. There is a good set-up for further adventures with some questions left unresolved.

The book is aimed to appeal to fans of the National Treasure movies, The DaVinci Code, or perhaps Indiana Jones. They should generally please these people. It was an enjoyable read, but not my favorite of the year.

CFBA Tour – House of Wolves

How many secret societies ARE there in the world?

Matt Bronleewe is back with another adventure featuring rare book dealer August Adams, his ex-wife April, and his 10 year old son Charlie, in the new book House of Wolves.

In the first book of this tale, Illuminated, we’re introduced to the Adams family as they work to solve a mystery in a old tome. The basic pattern remains, with more twists and turns and new characters to spice things up, like August’s estranged dad Cleveland.

House of Wolves almost never lets up with the suspense, as characters are almost always left hanging in distress while the bad guys (a secret society called the Black Vehm) try to obtain the Gospels of Henry the Lion from August. The action is good and the pacing keeps things moving briskly. For a suspense fan, it will be a good read.

The characterization is a little weaker, perhaps because main characters were introduced in the first book. Other characters receive an extended back story flashback, which slows the pace down at times, and some of these featured people really don’t figure deeply into the tale.

The story moves along from Berlin, New York City, and finally Antarctica. There is a good set-up for further adventures with some questions left unresolved.

The book is aimed to appeal to fans of the National Treasure movies, The DaVinci Code, or perhaps Indiana Jones. They should generally please these people. It was an enjoyable read, but not my favorite of the year.

CFBA Tour – Merciless

Merciless was a long time coming.


The conclusion to Robin Parrish’s Dominion Trilogy is the focus of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance this week. I read the first book, Relentless, through the library in November of 2006. It was a great start to an intriguing series, and I was excited when the next book, Fearless, was scheduled for the CFBA tour in July 2007. Then I found out that Parrish is just plain mean…

Fearless was a startling suspense ride, upping the ante significantly. The problem was that the reader was left with a gigantic cliff-hanger, and I was stuck dangling over the edge while waiting another year until Merciless was released. Ugh. In the meantime I bought Relentless and made sure I read through the series again in June to be ready for the end game. Finally, I couldn’t wait for the CFBA tour – I bought Merciless as soon as it came out in July, because I couldn’t wait!

How did Merciless do, with that build-up?

—-

First, let me remind you of the synopsis: Grant Borrows was shifted into a new powerful body, with amazing mind control powers. He was a member of the Loci, a group marked with rings on their fingers all sharing stories of being changed from a previous life into a new one with advanced mental abilities. Peyton had lightning-fast reflexes. Morgan could remember anything perfectly. Alex could manipulate a person’s emotions however she wished.

Relentless showed how the Ringwearers drew together against Grant’s grandfather, the leader of the Secretum of Six, who was trying to manipulate Grant into completing his mad plans. In Fearless, the earth is in throes since that confrontation, and Grant and his friends try to be heroes and help with the devastation. After following clues across the globe, Grant and most of his friends end up in a giant underground cavern in Turkey, where we are left hanging, and where Merciless begins.

Out of the chasm where Grant Borrows disappeared, a new being emerges. Skin like granite, eyes of fire, and touch of death. Oblivion has come, and as time stops around the plantet, the Dark World is being formed. What can possibly stand in the way of such a creature?

On to the question now.

Merciless is a high-octane ending to the Dominion Trilogy. Robin Parrish has crafted a new mythology that explores a lot of high ideas in a power-packed reading that again keeps people with a heartbeat dangerously close to needing a cardiologist.

I enjoyed the book greatly. It was a fitting ending for this tale. I think that it suffered in my situation a little from excessive anticipation: since I was looking forward to the end so much, I think it was hard to meet up to my expectations. Don’t get me wrong: the book is very good. However, the plot creates circumstances that dampen some of the characters that I really enjoyed. It was necessary for the story to unfold, but I was a little disappointed to not have the same interaction with people like Alex that there was in the first two books. I can’t see how it could be a different way, but that doesn’t mean I can’t miss something. There are also some characters introduced in Merciless that come across as throw-away characters, there to fulfill some plot/demographic need with no more to them.

The suspense and pacing continue on a breakneck pace, and there are so many surprising twists and turns that he’s been holding on to all this time, it will spin your mind in trying to guess what will happen. I was impressed on how so many threads crossed back and forth, only to reveal an unexpected end.

I read one Amazon review that thought there wasn’t much in the way of ideas in Fearless. I disagree strongly to that, but Merciless does wrestle with various themes and gives them center stage even clearer than the other books. There is a good payoff at the end.

Make sure to read the first two books, as Merciless is not a good starting point. Fans of suspense, speculative fiction, superheroes, and “big idea” fiction will not be disappointed. My 16 year old nephew read the whole series in about 3 days! I eagerly await what Robin has up his sleeve next – though I’m not sure my poor ticker can take much more.

For more info, check out my review of Fearless from last year. Also, that book inspired this essay of mine, which has been one of my most clicked/searched posts on this blog (so thanks Robin!).

Finally, if you would like to read the first chapter of Merciless, go HERE.

CFBA Tour – Merciless

Merciless was a long time coming.


The conclusion to Robin Parrish’s Dominion Trilogy is the focus of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance this week. I read the first book, Relentless, through the library in November of 2006. It was a great start to an intriguing series, and I was excited when the next book, Fearless, was scheduled for the CFBA tour in July 2007. Then I found out that Parrish is just plain mean…

Fearless was a startling suspense ride, upping the ante significantly. The problem was that the reader was left with a gigantic cliff-hanger, and I was stuck dangling over the edge while waiting another year until Merciless was released. Ugh. In the meantime I bought Relentless and made sure I read through the series again in June to be ready for the end game. Finally, I couldn’t wait for the CFBA tour – I bought Merciless as soon as it came out in July, because I couldn’t wait!

How did Merciless do, with that build-up?

—-

First, let me remind you of the synopsis: Grant Borrows was shifted into a new powerful body, with amazing mind control powers. He was a member of the Loci, a group marked with rings on their fingers all sharing stories of being changed from a previous life into a new one with advanced mental abilities. Peyton had lightning-fast reflexes. Morgan could remember anything perfectly. Alex could manipulate a person’s emotions however she wished.

Relentless showed how the Ringwearers drew together against Grant’s grandfather, the leader of the Secretum of Six, who was trying to manipulate Grant into completing his mad plans. In Fearless, the earth is in throes since that confrontation, and Grant and his friends try to be heroes and help with the devastation. After following clues across the globe, Grant and most of his friends end up in a giant underground cavern in Turkey, where we are left hanging, and where Merciless begins.

Out of the chasm where Grant Borrows disappeared, a new being emerges. Skin like granite, eyes of fire, and touch of death. Oblivion has come, and as time stops around the plantet, the Dark World is being formed. What can possibly stand in the way of such a creature?

On to the question now.

Merciless is a high-octane ending to the Dominion Trilogy. Robin Parrish has crafted a new mythology that explores a lot of high ideas in a power-packed reading that again keeps people with a heartbeat dangerously close to needing a cardiologist.

I enjoyed the book greatly. It was a fitting ending for this tale. I think that it suffered in my situation a little from excessive anticipation: since I was looking forward to the end so much, I think it was hard to meet up to my expectations. Don’t get me wrong: the book is very good. However, the plot creates circumstances that dampen some of the characters that I really enjoyed. It was necessary for the story to unfold, but I was a little disappointed to not have the same interaction with people like Alex that there was in the first two books. I can’t see how it could be a different way, but that doesn’t mean I can’t miss something. There are also some characters introduced in Merciless that come across as throw-away characters, there to fulfill some plot/demographic need with no more to them.

The suspense and pacing continue on a breakneck pace, and there are so many surprising twists and turns that he’s been holding on to all this time, it will spin your mind in trying to guess what will happen. I was impressed on how so many threads crossed back and forth, only to reveal an unexpected end.

I read one Amazon review that thought there wasn’t much in the way of ideas in Fearless. I disagree strongly to that, but Merciless does wrestle with various themes and gives them center stage even clearer than the other books. There is a good payoff at the end.

Make sure to read the first two books, as Merciless is not a good starting point. Fans of suspense, speculative fiction, superheroes, and “big idea” fiction will not be disappointed. My 16 year old nephew read the whole series in about 3 days! I eagerly await what Robin has up his sleeve next – though I’m not sure my poor ticker can take much more.

For more info, check out my review of Fearless from last year. Also, that book inspired this essay of mine, which has been one of my most clicked/searched posts on this blog (so thanks Robin!).

Finally, if you would like to read the first chapter of Merciless, go HERE.