Review- Raven’s Ladder, by Jeffrey Overstreet

So from the start I was excited about reading this session’s book for the CSFFBT, Raven’s Ladder, mostly because I had seen good reviews around the web.  But I was especially excited because I had seen good reviews of Jeffrey Overstreet’s latest work from authors whom I admire for their own books.

First off, this is a book that truly does give honor God.  As far as I can tell, it supports very well the heart of Christ.  There’s much to gain spiritually from Raven’s Ladder.

The characters in this story are very well done.  The plot lines are solid.  The world in which it is set is awesome, and with that the story behind the story is spectacular.  It fully came to life for me when it was told as a story within the story.  If that sounds confusing, then I will only say that the answer is found… you guessed it… in the story.  You’re more than welcome to dive in and grab ahold of it for yourself!

I had a feeling this was part of a series, but I couldn’t tell right away.  It wasn’t until after I did some looking around that I found out there are 2 previous books in the series… Auralia’s Colors and Cyndere’s Midnight.  Raven’s Ladder stood well as an individual work.  Only the ending let me down in this regard… not because it wasn’t an ending of a book, but because it was also a beginning of the next.  Whether or not it should have been done differently I cannot say, but I can say that I would have been much happier if this book (the 3rd in the series) had also included the 4th book.  It’s not fair beginning a new work without first warning the reader Mr. Overstreet! ;P

 This work is bound together wonderfully, as if all its subplots secretly run along a vein of a precious metal in a dark and deep tunnel.  Nothing seems especially unrelated at any point, but certainly everything becomes very much related and important as the story goes on.  The elements of the story are rich, and, as should be expected from any good book, they were especially rich when woven together.  Let the reader understand, Raven’s Ladder strikes a true and shining chord within us all.

It does seem to me that Jeffrey could do a bit more with the world he has created.  But because I have not yet read the first two books, I wonder if I’m mistaken.  Looks to me like I only have one way to find out just how far Jeffrey pushes the limits throughout his world.

No matter the reader’s age, Raven’s Ladder will provide an engaging adventure that will, if the adventurer allows, bring new colors to their life.  I’m looking forward to seeing even more new colors in the rest of this series.

Here are some direct links for the book and author:

Raven’s Ladder http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1400074673
Author Web site and blog – http://lookingcloser.org/category/journal/

And the following are links to other bloggers participating in the CSFFBT of Raven’s Ladder:
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

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

Review: Lost Mission, by Athol Dickson

It’s for the CSFFBT book of the month: Lost Mission, by Athol Dickson.  Unfortunately I was just not able to get into the book, in fact I came to the point where I could no longer invest my time reading the rest (nor did I want to).  Here’s a few reasons why…

  1. Declaring the shopkeeper lady to be a preacher immediately turned me away.  I’m not interested in books that promote a prominent false doctrine
    1. EDIT- I’ve been told she’s not a preacher as in the office so to speak, but rather one who simply preaches to others around her.  If this is the case (which it sounds like it likely is) then I think that’s good and well.  All Christians are called to share the gospel with the world.
  2. The overwhelming amount of mysticism mixed into our real world setting promotes a form of paganism.
  3. The constant switching back and forth in time and location pulled me out of the story every time I started to finally get into it
  4. The lengthy foreign names were difficult for me to keep straight

Problems 1 & 2 are things I do not think should be included in Christian fiction that’s set in our world, nor should they be set in any world in such a way as to promote such things as good. 

(edit, see note on #1 in the list above) Now I only got part way into the book, and did not see Lupe in a position of authority in the Church, so if the intent was to simply say that she shares the gospel with people then that’s not a problem.  But to put a woman at the pulpit, teaching and/or having authority over men, is not only against the plain teaching of Scripture in Timothy and other places, it’s also a problem all over the world today. 

The same goes with mysticism, which is only paganism trying to be something else.  Praying to people (other than Jesus) and miracles is NOT biblical, it is in fact much the opposite.  And again, to promote it in a world that sees people sinning against God by doing this… not acceptable.

Problems 3 and 4 were not so much “no-no’s” as much as they were things that made immersion difficult.  The writing itself was good, and it made me WANT to get into the story… I just COULDN’T.  Every time I finally found myself drifting away from my apartment in current day Oregon, and into the place and time of the book’s setting, I was almost immediately pulled out of the book… again by reasons 3 & 4.

Something else that bothered me was the questions at the end of the book.  To say that Christians must choose the lesser of two evils is not a Scriptural idea.  Christ calls us to be sinless, to be perfect.  True there are times when an authority counters God’s commands and a person cannot submit to them.  But as much as it is up to us we must try our best to obey authority.  If that means it takes time to do what God calls us to do then that’s what it means.  If God makes it clear we must not wait, we must not wait.  And that’s part of the problem that comes from this mystical garbage flooding our world, it causes us to follow our own logic and the directions of our environment, rather than following what GOD HIMSELF says His will is.

I do not recommend this book to anybody, in fact I plan on disposing of my copy.  I’m not ready yet to reject the author all together just yet, because as I said the writing itself is pretty good.  If the guy followed the biblical world view and didn’t constantly jump from century to century (or continent to continent) then I just might be able to enjoy his fictional work.  I’m not going to seek his work out by any means, but if I’m given a separate fiction work of his then I’d warily give it a try… as long as it doesn’t promote more of the pagan-bearing-God’s-name-in-vain-garbage that filled this book.

Here’s some links for the author and his book…

Lost Mission http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1416583475
Author Web site – http://www.atholdickson.com/
Author blog – http://whatatholwrote.blogspot.com/

Check out what others from the tour had to say…

Brandon Barr
Keanan Brand
Amy Browning
Valerie Comer
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Timothy Hicks
Jason Isbell
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Rebecca LuElla Miller
New Authors Fellowship
John W. Otte
Donita K. Paul
Crista Richey
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
KM Wilsher

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.”