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Posts Tagged ‘Fantasy’

So normally the Christian Sci-Fi Fantasy Blog Tour features a new book each month for the group to review.  For August this year we’re doing “Favorites”.  Favorite books, favorite authors, or other works related to the subject matter regularly covered by the tour.  One of the choices was to post on our own book.

I’ve debated whether to put this out to the world or not for a while now.  Looks like it’s time.

So for the first time to the general public, here’s an unedited copy of the prologue of my first book in the “Cutblade” series… “Rise”!

(At the end of the post you will find links to the other members of the tour.  Be sure to check out their favorites too!)

_________________

 

           The sun was shining bright, and the day was still early.  The music, which had been very lively, was now hushed.  All was quiet.  The people were focused.  Anticipation was thick in the air.  They couldn’t believe their eyes.  It was almost there!

 He grunted loudly, with a final burst of energy.   

            CLANG!

            The ends of the bar connected loudly. 

            Wild cheers began to rise up through the crowd.  People applauded and whistled.  The strong men were howling deeply in pride.  The children screamed happily in amazement, as they circled around each other in victory dances and songs.

            “No way!” a man yelled out.

            “The bar really bent!” said another.

            “He actually did it!” screamed a woman in joyful surprise.

            Ivan Cutblade bent the iron bar, 2 feet long and 5 inches thick, with his bare hands.  There on that stage, in front of all the competitors and many of his fellow townsfolk, Ivan met the challenge.  The brothers in the church he preached at would have the trophy for years to come. 

            And what better place to so mightily champion the Friendly Brotherhood Games, than in front of the biggest crowd the games had ever seen, right here in his hometown village of Scottsbluff?

            It had been 10 years since they last hosted the games, and Scottsbluff had not seen much victory in that time, except in the spearing competitions.  All of their hunting and fishing was by spear, and the guard had a handful of elite throwers, able to strike targets up to 100 feet away in the open with deadly accuracy.  They were thankful for their skills in spearing, but it seemed that they could not find any victory outside of this category of games.

            But it would be different now, and everyone knew it.  Ivan had entered the games, and the competitors for the next ten years would worry about the strongman events, trying to escape the shadow of IronBender Ivan.

            And what better time for such a victory than on his son Floriken’s 5th birthday?  This attempt of strength was mostly a birthday present for Floriken.  Now his son stood on stage with his dad.  Well, Floriken would be standing, except that when he went to lift his dad’s hand up in victory, Ivan grabbed the boy’s hand lifted him up into the air.  Ivan held his son up high, bellowing out a deep joyful laugh at his boy’s excitement. 

            Floriken hung there by his upraised hand, with as happy of an expression as a boy could ever have.  He pointed to all his friends, bragging at the top of his lungs “That’s my daddy!  IronBender Ivan!”

            This had to be the best birthday ever!

            Then Floriken was dropped to the ground by the weight of something falling from the sky.  He heard the crowd go silent in shock.

            As Ivan looked down to his son, there he saw his wife on top of the boy… bloody, broken, and dead.  She had two holes in her head; it looked like she had been gorged by bull horns.  He watched as his son, still pinned to the stage, began to shake the body, crying out to her “Wake up mommy!” 

            Then Ivan looked up just in time to watch a foot long bone spike fly into his belly.  He looked down at the spike, and his face contorted in confusion.  As he began moving his hands to grab it, three more spikes flew through his gaze, thudding deep into his large chest.  A moment later the floor pulled him to his knees.  Then he fell forward, the darkness swallowing him up.

            A loud, horrible shriek shattered through the sky, and the crowd screamed in reply.  There in the sky hung four black Boneshard Dragons, vicious dragon demons that love, above all else, to dramatically strike terror into human souls.  These four in particular were very skilled at doing this, and now they were drunk on the fruits of their labors, the crowd below screaming and scattering in a frenzy of fear.

 

–…— 

 

            Nobody needed time to figure out this surprise attack.  Everyone knew as soon as they saw the demons what was going on. 

            Ivan and his family had been fighting for the freedom of human souls as long as they had been married.  They returned to Scottsbluff a few years back, having helped defeat a great evil far to the North West.  Ivan and his wife had heard of the growing evil in the East, and how it was creeping slowly towards their hometown that they so dearly missed.

            After returning, they believed the only way to keep the demon horde out of Scottsbluff was to push into the corrupted territory with the gospel.  So they began a missionary work over the northeastern border of their country, where the darkness was very deep.  It was very dangerous, but the couple would not be deterred by any fear.  Their lives had been given over to God a long time ago.

            Unfortunately their work, though still very small, had somehow caught the ears of a great demon general in the east.  The village had been warned that this might happen.  But they supported the ever loving and helpful Cutblade family anyway.  Some of the villagers were Christians, also willing to sacrifice themselves for the Lord’s work.  Most of the rest of the villagers were kindly people; they thought the cause noble and worth while.

            But now the worst was upon them.

            The Demon Empire of the East has come to conquer new lands.

 

–…—

 

            Suddenly, a massive, dark red demon leaped over the crowd, 700 pounds of bulging muscle crashing loudly next to the dead man.  Many of the floorboards exploded where he landed, destroying the large, and once beautiful stage. 

            With its oversized back to the people, the demon reached down and moved the body of the dead woman, looking for the boy she had landed on.  Finding nothing, the beast grabbed the woman’s corpse in anger.  It uncurled its back as it slowly straightened up, towering 10 feet tall.  Suddenly, the demon jerked its body into a spin as it threw the bloody and limp body of the woman into the still dispersing crowd.  The demon belted out a horrifying roar, louder than anything any of those people had ever heard. 

            It turned back and picked up the body of Ivan, then turned again to the crowd.  The demon held the man’s dead body up to terrorize the village some more, though most were running for their lives and not daring to look back.  The few that did turn looked to see an angry demon, devouring the body of the mighty IronBender Ivan.

            Ivan, the great Christian warrior of Scottsbluff, was now a martyr.  He fought for his God.  He knew Morax would eventually come.  They all knew.  But in his faith he did not fear the death that he came to receive.

 

–…—

 

            A score of Boneshard dragons came flooding into the sky from the northeast, joining the four that had announced the coming doom.  Boneshards came raining down from the tails of the dragons, laying many people low.  With well over 8,000 people present, it was too hard for the people to quickly vacate the city center’s large gathering grounds that they had all come to for the festivities.  The demons were glad for that, having as a result a thick crowd for target practice.

            When their quills were spent, the invaders formed a circle above the town, filling the air with their horrid stench and frightful noise.  They hung there for a minute, enjoying the chaos they were causing. 

            Then suddenly, as one, they dropped down into the confused villagers.  They began to snatch the children and young women from the grips of their protective parents, and then fly back up into their circle 60 feet above the ground. Three of the demons were cut down, but none of the rest went up with empty claws.

            The men of the crowd, driven by the protective love they had for their children, began to organize when they saw the first dragons flying back up with prisoners.  They realized that if they didn’t fight back now, they may not get a chance to save their young.

            Jobo, the leader of the village guard, took the lead and called out orders.  “We need our best spearmen armed now!”  Before he even finished, the arm bearers were already struggling to work their way through the crowd to the weapon racks.  He thought he should’ve been frustrated by their slowness, but he wasn’t sure how slow they were going.  The sense of urgency and the fear Jobo felt seemed to make everything move in slow motion for him.

            But he would not succumb to the fear.  “All strong hands to the drapery” he called, pointing to the large thick curtains surrounding the gathering grounds.  “We’ll need them to safely catch the children.”  The men responding to this call seemed to move a little quicker, possessing enough strength to force their way through the diminishing crowd.

            Jobo’s mind began to clear a little now, thanks to the progress of the stronger group.  After a few moments, he was no longer seeing things in slow motion.  He became more confident in his impromptu plan, seeing both groups of men at their supplies.  It wouldn’t be long till those makeshift safety nets were guarding the children from the ground.  And once his men got their hands on their spears, not even the agile Boneshard demons would be able to escape their wrath.

            But then every ounce of Jobo’s determination melted away when he looked up in response to the screaming humans in the sky.  All at once, the large and frightening demons forcefully threw all the children even higher into the sky.  The poor kids painfully smacked together above the center of the dragon circle, their bones snapping from the impact as they screamed even louder in pain and terror.

            The crowd stopped and watched helplessly as their children dropped in a screaming cluster, falling over 70 feet to hit the ground with sickening slaps and thuds.   There, in the middle of town, was the future hope of the people. 

            A mangled mound of death.

            Jobo sank down to his knees.  The wickedness he just witnessed stole all of the desire to live from his heart.  The agony of seeing those helpless children, desperately reaching out to him for their very lives… with such terror in their eyes… it was more than even he could bear.  Overwhelmed by grief and despair, he passed out.

            The other men began to shout “Retreat!  Everyone flee for their lives!”  The brave men, who had once stopped to fight, were fleeing now, not even taking up the spears for a throw.  There was too much fear in the mob now, and no one was willing to lead them out of the fear.  There were too many tears of sorrow, and none had the strength to fight past them.

            They all ran for shelter.  Every building was packed, and though the demons appeared to pursue, they were merely corralling the villagers.  Every person they saw alive they chased inside somewhere.

            This flock of Boneshard dragons, whose biggest joy by far was to terrorize people, was the perfect group of demons to send in for this mission.  They put the village off guard, and into a complete fear that drove these hardy people into hiding. 

 

–…—

 

            Huddling under every roof, the villagers waited and listened.  Soon, the only sounds they heard were the agonizing cries of their own scared people.  They began to hope that this episode was over, that maybe this was just a warning to reject people like the Cutblades.  Maybe the demons would bargain with them, and somehow this horrible situation would leave some hope at least for survival.

            Then the horns came.

            The sound was not a natural one, the horns mixing in high pitched shrieks and deep resonating booms.  Vibrations began to travel along the ground, and buildings began to slightly shake.

            Then the sound of marching could be heard, and it too vibrated the ground.  An army was coming.

            It all slowly intensified.  But the frightened people now shook more than the ground did.

            Those horrible horns blew again.

            Some of the men braved looks outside, but were not able to find the voice to tell those near them about what they saw.  Never had they seen this many demons.  Many of the kinds of demons present had never even been seen by people before.  They had the town surrounded.

            Again, the wicked horns blew.

            Then, in a low pitched demonic harmony, the horde began a slow chant. 

            The people could hear it.  Fear intensified.

            The chant gradually picked up to a slow to medium pace, but never faster than that.  And then some of the demons began to dance.  More people were looking outside now, and more than a few fainted at the sight of their town’s doom.  The number of dancing demons grew, and in short order the whole town was filled with demons.  If any of the villagers thought before that there was any chance of escape or fighting back, they knew now that nobody would live through whatever had come upon them all.

            Sounds of shattering glass rang out in the center of town.  The building that the sounds came from released the screams of the tightly huddled women inside it.  Smoke began flowing out of the windows.  Then flames started to shoot out of the windows too, and shortly behind them the women came running out, fire devouring their bodies.

            But as if that wasn’t a horrible enough sight, some were unfortunate enough to see what happened to the women when they came upon the demons outside.  They couldn’t believe that things could continue to get worse.  But as they witnessed the tortures upon the women, they knew new limits of horror.

            The ritualistic dance of destruction continued through the whole town.  Some were so horrified by the tortures of the demons that they chose instead to die in the burning buildings.  Some of those found no reprieve though, as more than one flaming home was invaded by demons not caring if they themselves were burned.  They wanted to torture humans.

            There were a handful of men who somehow found the courage to come out fighting, and a few of the invaders were indeed cut down by them.  But the demons made examples of those brave men.  They killed them and cut them up, throwing their mutilated body parts into the houses where the demons thought other men of arms might also be thinking courageously.

            Eventually all the buildings were burned down, and all the animals and crops were even destroyed.

            The terrible horns blew one last time

                                               

–…—

 

            Four evil locals watched excitedly from the appointed safe place, applauding the carnage that they saw unfolding.  They were a wicked bunch, and they especially hated Christians.  The four men had informed the minions of Morax that this village was supporting the evangelist who dared to come into Morax’s territory.

            Shortly after the town’s destruction began, Morax came to meet them as agreed.  As he came near, they became giddy.  At least, they were as giddy as they could be in the presence of such an evil being.  They were anticipating being brought into this wicked flock of the mighty demon.  They bowed down, worshipping the demon.

            “You are my worshippers?” Morax asked, the demon’s deep double voice vibrating down to their very bones.

            “Yes!” the youngest of the group stated.  “We do all that you bid, my lord!”

            The other three cheered.

            “Let us test you then!” the demon said with a wicked smile, its long tightly braided beard adding to the demon’s sinister look.  “I happen to have the ability to read minds, and am disturbed by what I’ve found.  I’m disturbed, because only one of you is truly faithful to me.”

            He paused, as the men looked around at each other, scowling at their comrades for ever considering betraying the new mighty leader.  “I know who you are, my faithful friend.  And what glory and power you shall receive from my hand!  However you must show your zeal to these… imposters.  You must show them the punishment of treachery” Morax said, looking back and forth to all of them.  None of them caught the double meaning.

            He threw a pile of knives onto the ground before them.  The knives were not simple blades.  They were made for torturing, having jagged spikes sticking out in random places.  “I have foreseen… that the one who is faithful to me will be the only one who will survive.  He will kill you other backstabbers here, before me… NOW!”

            They were at the blades at once, and swinging at each other with wild abandon.  Each man was faithful to the demon.  So each man considered himself to be the one who would live, and figured that the others would die by his hand.  The demon was clear about that, after all.  So they all fought with reckless abandon.  Morax laughed wickedly, watching intently with bloodlust filled eyes.  None of the evil men could survive their terrible wounds.

            Being very please with the little charade, Morax turned and watched the rest of the attack on the town.  The demon was so very glad the Cutblades crossed the path of Morax.  This was a great way to begin the push into new lands.  And all because the foolish evangelist and his family dared to face the mighty Morax.  Morax knew that soon the only sound that would be left, other than that of the howling demons, would be the crackling of the fires they were setting.  The destruction of the town would be complete.

                                               

–…—

 

            Almost complete.

            Deep below the ground, a man and a boy were riding in a small cart, quickly and roughly, down a dark mining shaft that eventually emptied far from town.  The boy was in shock, with visions of his dead parents dominating his thoughts.  He thought he was still with them.

            The man wasn’t in the least oblivious to his surroundings though.  His eyes were wide open, watching for any obstacles.  He was frantic and hurried, though he did a good job at keeping his overwhelming worry hidden from the distant boy.

            When they were a few minutes away from town, the man activated the tunnel collapsing mechanisms.  The man made sure that they were far enough away from the town that the murderous invaders wouldn’t notice the ground rumbling.  The tunnel was filled with a crash of boulders, and the path behind them became impassable.

            Many of those tunnels were collapsed by the man that day.  Some were not even on their path, tunnels leading only to abandoned mines and gathering chambers.  But he hoped that if somehow they were followed, it might mislead their pursuers. 

            Late that evening they came to the end of the path.  They were in a cave, far from the village, on the other side of the Choy-Tzu Mountains.  But the man would not take any chances of being caught.  They stayed in the cart that night.  None pursued.

            The man couldn’t sleep.  Too many tears flowed down his face as he watched the boy.  He tried not to watch.  He tried not to listen.

            Little Floriken spent the rest of the night shaking the air, crying desperately to his parents.

            “Mommy?…  Daddy?…  Wake up…”

____________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

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

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So I’m a little late on this review, but July’s CSFFBT book was Starlighter, by Bryan Davis.  The book follows the stories of a few young heroes in a generation denied the truths of their pasts.  Our heroes face death head on as they dive head long at unknown dangers and foes.  Surrounded by greedy power seekers, the heroes of this generation will not allow the sins of the past to continue into the future.

Seeking truth can often reveal unexpected friends and foes alike, and can reveal truths about one’s self that could never have been known by just accepting what we’re told.  Starlighter is a brutal journey, but one that is worth the efforts.

The only major complaint I can remember having about the book is the sawcut ending.  It makes you wonder if someone simply tore the last pages out of the book.  Starlighter is a good book, but it does not stand on its own in my opinion.  I don’t know what others think, but expectation for the next book in a series is far greater for me when the previous book ends really well.  Hopefully we’ll see an actual ending to the next book, because the 1st book deserved a good one.

Here’s some links for more on Starlighter, by Bryan Davis…

Starlighterhttp://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0310718368/ (or an alternate link of your choice)
Author blog – http://dragonsinourmidst.blogspot.com/
Author Web site – http://www.dragonsinourmidst.com/

Fellow CSFFBT members said…
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

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

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So I had big plans for the tour this month because I love the book so much, not to mention I think that Andrew Peterson just might be the story teller of our age.  I was going to re-read the first book (On The Edge Of The Dark Sea Of Darkness) and post a review of it, I was going to attempt an email interview with Andrew Peterson, I was going to repost my original review of North! Or Be Eaten.  I was even going to post a review of his brother A.P. Peterson’s book from Rabbit Room Press, “The Fiddler’s Gun”.

But I learned a secret about life, dear reader, that no one else knows about.  I learned it after having our first child, Sarah Hope, only a few weeks ago. 

That secret, my friend, is…

Things don’t always go as planned.

I know, it’s something I’m sure none of you have experienced.  But please, believe me when I say it’s true!  It really is true!

Ok, so maybe I’ve been learning that one all my life, and maybe it’s a secret that everybody already knows.  But it’s true just the same.

So I hope I’ve distracted from the fact that I was lame and didn’t do any of those things on the list… even though I just reminded you of that very fact.  But at least I can do one of them now, repost my review of Andrew Peterson’s second book in the Wingfeather Saga… North! Or Be Eaten.

Before I do that, just let me say… I love this book!

This is a book I’ve been looking forward to for a while!  Normally things I wait this long to be entertained by end up disappointing me.

Not this book though!

From the very first chapter I was caught back up into the excitement of the Wingfeather Saga.  It took a few chapters for a few details from the last book to come back to me, but that wasn’t the book’s fault.  Whenever Andrew dropped a hint from the past the memories flooded in like a welcome tide.  It made me want to read the first book all over again.

So on the story went, in directions I wasn’t expecting.  There were many pleasant surprises, though they weren’t all pleasant for the characters to go through.  I did see a few surprises coming, but I think it’s because I’m familiar with AP through his music, and because he’s a fellow Christian.

The characters are deepened and developed more in this book than in most of the books I’ve read.  Take in where they started from in the first book, “On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness”, and it’s amazing to think of where they are compared to where they started from.  I have a feeling that the next book will do even more with them than both of the first two books combined.

I’m loving the setting of the books, the world of Aerwiar.  It’s a land of excitement and epic epochs.  Every image of Aerwiar that the book conjures up has filled my mind with bright vibrant color and overwhelming life (except those places in which life is snuffed out, color is erased by the wicked, or where all is dipped into the darkest black).  The pictures he scattered throughout the pages definitely drew my interest deeper.  I doubt Andrew will write enough books or draw enough pictures to fill my mind with all there is to the world he has created, and the world he is still creating.

The adventure of the book was thick throughout.  It was always one notch more exciting than I expected at any given time.  The drama of the tale unfolded naturally through the course of the journey, leaving NO time to wonder if the pace was too slow or too fast.  After reading the book I feel like I should have a torn up traveling outfit hung on my wall for a display to all.

And while I know I should have seen it coming, the power that filled the last part of the book blew me over.  There was one line in particular that broke me down.  My eyes flooded and my heart stole my mind away for well over ten minutes.  After that I was able to get back to the book.  There were a few more parts that caused my soul to pause and reflect, to soak it all in and breathe deeply the truths of the Living God.  I was compelled to think on Christ’s love, and it was so easy to comply.  The power lasted long after the last words, and I was assured that it goes back farther than the first book.

It was all strengthened by the fact that the next day I read a verse in the Bible that reflected the same truths written in that line that took my breath away.  I don’t know if Andrew had that Scripture in mind, but I’m sure he had the Author of Scripture in his heart as he wrote.

I really want to thank Andrew for writing this book and series.  I want to thank his family too.  As a writer myself I know the impact a wife can have on one’s writing, and I know about some of the sacrifice a wife has to make to let her husband immerse himself in the world he’s making.  And I can’t help but think that his kids are adding light and color to almost every corner of Aerwiar.  Thank you Petersons!

North! Or Be Eaten is an amazing story, and an amazing sequel to an awesome beginning.  I recommend the book to anyone of any age.  I’m truly hoping for many more books in Aerwiar, set in anytime in its history.

Thank God He has made people in His creative Image!!!

To pick up a copy, visit either http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1400073871
or  https://store.rabbitroom.com/books/north-or-be-eaten

For more on the Wingfeather Saga, visit http://wingfeathersaga.com/

For more on Andrew Peterson, check out http://www.andrew-peterson.com  and  http://www.rabbitroom.com/

For more from the publisher, go to http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/

Now if you aren’t already ordering the book, I’m sure these other tour members will be convinced enough themselves to try and convince you to do so!

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

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So I’ve heard about Donita for a little while now, and wasn’t sure what to expect.  Too often things don’t live up to the hype.  But I was very happy I had the chance to read her work, and after reading it I found I wasn’t disappointed.

I’ll start with the bad stuff.  There isn’t much, and I’d like us to end with the good things in mind.  The first problem I ran into with the book was that it wasn’t living up to the name… but I must qualify that.  See, instead of really paying attention I quickly glanced at the cover and read over the title whenever I saw it.  So I thought the book was called “The Vanishing Sculpture”.  And as I read on in the book, getting deeper and deeper, I was feeling like I was either misled or not catching the clues about what was to come.  Thankfully the beautiful cover finally got my attention enough to draw me into it… and I realized just how fitting the title was.  I also realized I need to pay more attention.

The other problem I found was that the descriptions were too flowery for me.  I couldn’t get into the scenes because I had to piece together so many descriptive words.  My guess is that’s how Donita writes in all her books, and that it’s one of the main things that attracts so many other readers.  For me though, it prevented me from becoming completely immersed.  That’s not to say I wasn’t into the book, I definitely was.  But I was drawn back out enough to notice.

Other than those two problems I found the book to be entertaining.  It definitely struck me as a book directed at young adults, though it provides a wild ride for those who’s bodies are no longer up to the task.

The action really picked up towards the end.  Very exciting, I thought.

I’d like to see more in the series.  But even more than that I’d love to see an adult focused “Dragon Lady” Donita book.  One that envisions a more intense experience with dragons.  I want to see the extreme of the dragons she envisions.  Maybe she’s already written one?  If so it’d be great if someone could post the title in a reply here.

Again, a good book that’s, as the cover says, “for All Ages”.

Don’t forget to read down to the bottom of this post for the book giveaway!

For more on “The Vanishing Sculptor”, visit…

The Vanishing Sculptor http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1400073391

Donita Paul’s Web site – http://www.donitakpaul.com/
Donita Paul’s blog – http://dragonbloggin.blogspot.com

For other reviews from the tour, please visit the following blogs…
Brandon Barr
Jim Black
Justin Boyer
Rachel Briard
Karri Compton
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Linda Gilmore
Todd Michael Greene
Katie Hart
Ryan Heart
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirtika
Eve Nielsen (posting later in the week)
Nissa
John W. Otte
Lyn Perry
Crista Richey
Cheryl Russell
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Speculative Faith
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler
Elizabeth Williams
KM Wilsher

…………..

And now for the first book giveaway!

On my desk here I have a copy of Robin Parrish’s “OffWorld”.  You can find my review of the book here.  To be eligible you must quote 3 positives and 3 negatives about “The Vanishing Sculptor” from the blogs listed above.  Quotes should be 1-2 sentences long, and must be accompanied by links to the original posts.  I will pick from the eligible names at random, and the winner will receive this month’s giveaway copy of Offworld.  This giveaway is only available to residents of the United States.  Shipping will be paid by me.  I’m not responsible for lost copies in the mail, and I retain the right to amend the terms as I see necessary at any time.  Eligible replies must be posted by 11:59PM PST on 10/09/09.  I think that covers all the bases.

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Here’s a bit more information on North! Or Be Eaten, and Andrew Peterson.

Warning, you may find spoilers throughout the rest of this post!

North! Or Be EatenJanner, Tink, and Leeli Igiby thought they were normal children with normal lives and a normal past. But now they know they’re really the Lost Jewels of Anniera, heirs to a legendary kingdom across the sea, and suddenly everyone wants to kill them.

Their escape brings readers to the very brink of Fingap Falls, over the Stony Mountains, and across the Ice Prairies, while villains galore try to stop the Igibys permanently. Fearsome toothy cows and horned hounds return, along with new dangers: a mad man running a fork factory, a den of rockroaches, and majestic talking sea dragons.

Andrew Peterson’s lovable characters create what FantasyBookCritic.com says made Book One “one of the best fantasy novels in a very long time,” and Book Two contains even more thrills, exploring “themes universal in nature, ranging from the classic good versus evil, to the importance of family, and burdens of responsibility.”

Author bio.:

APAndrew Peterson is the author of On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, Book One in the Wingfeather Saga, and The Ballad of Matthew’s Begats. He’s also the critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter and recording artist of ten albums, including Resurrection Letters II. He and his wife, Jamie, live with their two sons and one daughter in a little house they call The Warren near Nashville, Tennessee. Visit his websites: www.andrew-peterson.com and www.rabbitroom.com

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This is a book I’ve been looking forward to for a while!  Normally things I wait this long to be entertained by end up disappointing me.

Not this book though!

From the very first chapter I was caught back up into the excitement of the Wingfeather Saga.  It took a few chapters for a few details from the last book to come back to me, but that wasn’t the book’s fault.  Whenever Andrew dropped a hint from the past the memories flooded in like a welcome tide.  It made me want to read the first book all over again.

So on the story went, in directions I wasn’t expecting.  There were many pleasant surprises, though they weren’t all pleasant for the characters to go through.  I did see a few surprises coming, but I think it’s because I’m familiar with AP through his music, and because he’s a fellow Christian.

The characters are deepened and developed more in this book than in most of the books I’ve read.  Take in where they started from in the first book, “On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness”, and it’s amazing to think of where they are compared to where they started from.  I have a feeling that the next book will do even more with them than both of the first two books combined.

I’m loving the setting of the books, the world of Aerwiar.  It’s a land of excitement and epic epochs.  Every image of Aerwiar that the book conjures up has filled my mind with bright vibrant color and overwhelming life (except those places in which life is snuffed out, color is erased by the wicked, or where all is dipped into the darkest black).  The pictures he scattered throughout the pages definitely drew my interest deeper.  I doubt Andrew will write enough books or draw enough pictures to fill my mind with all there is to the world he has created, and the world he is still creating.

The adventure of the book was thick throughout.  It was always one notch more exciting than I expected at any given time.  The drama of the tale unfolded naturally through the course of the journey, leaving NO time to wonder if the pace was too slow or too fast.  After reading the book I feel like I should have a torn up traveling outfit hung on my wall for a display to all.

And while I know I should have seen it coming, the power that filled the last part of the book blew me over.  There was one line in particular that broke me down.  My eyes flooded and my heart stole my mind away for well over ten minutes.  After that I was able to get back to the book.  There were a few more parts that caused my soul to pause and reflect, to soak it all in and breathe deeply the truths of the Living God.  I was compelled to think on Christ’s love, and it was so easy to comply.  The power lasted long after the last words, and I was assured that it goes back farther than the first book.

It was all strengthened by the fact that the next day I read a verse in the Bible that reflected the same truths written in that line that took my breath away.  I don’t know if Andrew had that Scripture in mind, but I’m sure he had the Author of Scripture in his heart as he wrote.

I really want to thank Andrew for writing this book and series.  I want to thank his family too.  As a writer myself I know the impact a wife can have on one’s writing, and I know about some of the sacrifice a wife has to make to let her husband immerse himself in the world he’s making.  And I can’t help but think that his kids are adding light and color to almost every corner of Aerwiar.  Thank you Petersons!

North! Or Be Eaten is an amazing story, and an amazing sequel to an awesome beginning.  I recommend the book to anyone of any age.  I’m truly hoping for many more books in Aerwiar, set in anytime in its history.

Thank God He has made people in His creative Image!!!

For more on the Wingfeather Saga, visit http://wingfeathersaga.com/

For more on Andrew Peterson, check out http://www.andrew-peterson.com/index.php  and  http://www.rabbitroom.com/

For more from the publisher, go to http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/

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First I want to say a HUGE thank you to my wife, Rebekah Jesse, for posting three days of reviews on this book, and for posting them on my blog.  Just a reminder to all, please double check who the author is on the posts on my blog.  My wife does post here from time to time and I want to make sure she gets full credit for her writing!  You can see more of her writing at http://jessebecky.wordpress.com/

Thanks, Becky!

Now onto our book. 

Blaggard’s Moon is a fictional pirate adventure written from a Christian world view.  The author is George Bryan Polivka.  One should know that while I don’t hate pirate stuff, I’m not exactly drawn to it either.  My tendency to turn away from it is probably due to the recent years of pirate over-saturation in our day to day.

That being said, I’m finding it very difficult right now to find the right way to describe the book.  So I’ll go with the closest thing that comes to mind… it was absolutely amazing!

From the very first sitting I was sold.  My opinion did nothing but rise the whole book through.  I have never been tempted to read a novel twice until now.  I know I’m on a review tour, and I know I’m an author of novels myself, but I’m honestly not a big reader of stories.  I love to read theology, and I’m all about watching stories on the screen instead of reading them in books.  But man, this book was good!

The characters, very well done.  Every one of them was believable, colorful, and unique.  The setting was solid.  Well put together, well used, and with massive amounts of potential for more.  The storyline, I really enjoyed it.  There were a couple points where I would have gone a different route, but it’s good that Mr. Polivka was the author and not me.  Good job man!

All these elements were solid and fun to experience.  Based on these alone I would recommend this book to any fan of fiction.

But the main reason I like the book, the one reason why I’m considering another reading… I have never enjoyed the telling of a fiction story better than I have with this novel.  There is exception to that, and that is in the storytelling of Andrew Peterson‘s songs (Andrew’s book comes close).  But considering books and even movies, George Polivka’s telling of a fictional tale is jaw dropping!    I’m not worried about overselling this part.  He could never compare to God, nobody can.  But God has made men in His image, and storytelling is a talent that it seems He has given to George.

I know that the elements I mentioned at first are, in a sense, part of story telling: characters, settings, plots.  But one can nail these elements and still not tell a story.  An author can give a narration or history lesson that does a great job on the particulars, without the author being a true bard.

I must also say that one can even do a terrible job on the particulars and still do a real good job of telling a tale.  A man could tell you the dumbest tale you ever heard, and yet even then captivate you.

But Blaggard’s Moon nails the particulars, and then delivers them to you on not just a silver platter, but on a silver platter on a silver table on a silver floor, while you sit in a silver chair under a silver moon.  I’m not sure I can even detail why I was so impressed by the story telling.  And maybe that’s partly why it was so good.

I also really appreciate some of the applicable truths one can find in the story.  You may not consciously catch them; the author himself may not have even caught them as he wrote the book (or maybe he did).  But they’re there, and they’re good.

Even though it’s a pirate’s tale, I’m pumped about reading more from this author!  Thank you George Bryan Polivka.  I pray that your soul and your pen follow His leading.

Please, read this book. 

To find out more about Blaggard’s Moon, or about George Bryan Polivka, check out some of the following links…

Blaggard’s Moon http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0736925376 .
George Bryan Polivka’s Web site – http://www.nearingvast.com/

For reviews and relevant posts:

Brandon Barr
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Keanan Brand
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Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
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Alex Field
Marcus Goodyear
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Timothy Hicks
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Mike Lynch
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John W. Otte
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