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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars
Since the story blurb isn't up yet on Amazon, here's a short one:

Susan, a modern-day soccer mom, is pulled through a portal into another world, where a nation grappling for its soul waits for a promised Restorer to save their people. Can she fill that role?

While she struggles to adapt to a foreign culture, she tackles an enemy that is poisoning the...
Published on May 8, 2007 by Camy Tang

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 stars--The Restorer
Susan is stuck and depressed. She can't take one more argument between her kids. Her husband, Mark, decides to build her a getaway in the attic--a space where no one but her is allowed, where she can journal and pray and read to her heart's delight. But God had a different getaway in mind. Falling through a portal, she comes upon a nation threatened by war on the outside...
Published on June 4, 2008 by Heather Goodman


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars, May 8, 2007
By 
Since the story blurb isn't up yet on Amazon, here's a short one:

Susan, a modern-day soccer mom, is pulled through a portal into another world, where a nation grappling for its soul waits for a promised Restorer to save their people. Can she fill that role?

While she struggles to adapt to a foreign culture, she tackles an enemy that is poisoning the minds of the people, uncovers a corrupt ruling Council, and learns that God can use even her floundering attempts at service in surprising ways.

Camy here: I really enjoyed this book. Once I started reading it, I couldn't stop--I finished it in two days.

I like the fact that the heroine is a soccer mom--it's such an unusual story premise and it made it easy for me to relate to Susan. There were a few times I didn't quite sympathize with her emotions or actions, but on the whole, I enjoyed following her through her story.

She's an ordinary woman whose faith enables her to do extraordinary things. She's not perfect, but she keeps trying. She picks herself up after her mistakes and keeps going. It's inspiring for any Christian woman struggling with purpose and worth.

The plot takes a lot of neat twists that I didn't see coming. I enjoyed the minor characters--they each seemed to have specific roles, and their differing personalities made for interesting dynamics.

The world itself isn't like your typical high fantasy world. It's a mixture of various types of technology, but nothing too high-tech, nothing too esoteric for the reader to grasp.

Unlike Karen Hancock's Arena, The Restorer is NOT allegorical. The world of the Restorer is unique in itself, and exciting to journey through.

Christians as young as junior high school age would enjoy this book, although younger readers might not relate to the older mom protagonist as much as their parents.

The great thing about this book is that it's a story both parents and kids can read and enjoy. Kids who read fantasy and speculative fiction will like the new world, and parents who don't usually read speculative fiction will like the everywoman protagonist, Susan, and relate to her all-too-familiar personal struggles.

I intend to hand this book to the kids in my youth group to see how they like it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The World Needs Restorers, May 27, 2007
After hearing a lot of buzz building up about The Restorer, I decided I didn't want to miss out on this one. I'd read Sharon's first novel, The Secret Life of Becky Miller, just one week earlier, and was curious about her new project - which, according to the blurbs, takes mom-lit fantasy into a whole new dimension.

This book reached me at a time when I badly needed a break from my own life. Instead of running away, I ran into its pages and met people - and a woman like me - dealing with tougher things than I've ever had to face. I huddled on my sofa, glancing out at the thunderstorm beyond my window, and relished this balm for the soul - words to comfort and empower.

Susan, prime-aged mother of four, happily married, has struck a crisis and gotten bogged down in a housewife's daily slog. Her thoughtful husband provides a possibility for her to take time-out, but before she can catch her breath, a mysterious portal whisks her into a strange and terrifying place - a land where she has a task she knows nothing of. Randomly memorized Bible verses often provide precise help when she most needs it along her journey of discovery - what it means to be this peculiar land's prophesied Restorer. This story will keep you panting as you follow its jagged, twisting path, and a constant stream of breathtaking surprises are coiled around every corner.

The characters are rough-edged and realistic, carrying their weaknesses with courage, no matter how severely dysfunctional they are. One object lesson stuck particularly in my mind: as Restorer, Susan is given the ability to heal quickly from any injuries she receives. To prove she really is the Restorer, various locals frequently use their knives on her so they can watch the miracle healing take place within seconds. Thus, the proof of one's strength is seen in how your wounds heal. Isn't that true of real life, too?

Susan sees it all with the eyes of a mother, her feelings mirroring what you or I would go through if we were suddenly transformed into another world's heroines. The impossible odds she faced and conquered tell me that although this is a fantasy, God's faithfulness and love are no fairytale and remain the same - in any world.

The only other book I can even remotely compare this to is Karen Hancock's Arena, although it's actually completely different. They share the theme of an ordinary woman being dumped into a hostile fantasy world, so if you enjoyed Arena, you'll love Restorer too. It's a rich feast for the senses, earthy and inspiring. It left me with lots of questions, but of the kind that open a horizon of hope. I ponder: If I trust God to patch me up and make me whole, maybe I can be a Restorer, too. And that's something our own world can sure use plenty of.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Groundbreaking, June 5, 2007
I am a long time fantasy lover, yet there hasn't been much in the Christian genre. And here comes this book - not only is it a fantasy but it is about a woman. Susan isn't your average fantasy heroine. She's never described as attractive or strong or even smart. In fact, she starts off suffering from depression, needing a break from it all. This book is unique to the modern Christian fiction market which is why I think this will be a groundbreaking book with (I hope) many others of its kind to follow.

Susan goes from fighting grape jelly stains to fighting assassins and enemies of the One. She becomes a Restorer, sent to help the people of Lyric in time of need. Through the process, she finds a new strength in herself and a growing faith in God. She seeks to restore not only this other dimension, but her family, her faith and the souls of many. What better person to do this than a mom?

The writing seemed smooth and the characters distinct. Though the ending is predictable, there are still a few twists that may surprise you. The only nitpick I could find is that there was more "telling" than "showing." But yet, I finished this 455 page book within two days, and will definitely read the next one. The overall message and symbolism of the story won me over. The way the poison works is a great illustration of what we struggle with today, and the cure is perfect. The sword at her side gave her great strength in times of need - just like in the armor of God. There are many things like this in the book that underlie the main story; and will make it a good book to read over and over again.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Start to a Super Series, May 9, 2007
Hinck breaks fresh ground in faith-based fantasy, seamlessly incorporating an ordinary woman-next-door into an extraordinary world where she must perform supernatural deeds in order to save a people she's never met. There are no royal bloodlines involved, no thrones to win, and no quest for a talisman. With only an unlikely set of allies and a hodge-podge of archaic and technological resources to aide her, the heroine must truly trust the One to have any hope of victory against overwhelming odds. Hinck's world-building is superb as we meet ethereal Singers and mind-bending Rhusicans, among an array of imaginative new people groups. Highly recommended for any reader who loves a good adventure tale, regardless if fantasy is their genre of choice. There is plenty here for any fiction-lover to relate to, as the storyline inspires the reader to see how an extroardinary God can work wonders through an ordinary person. In our everyday lives, we often encounter situations that place us into "another world," so to speak. Hinck's tale ministers comfort and encouragement to anyone moving into an unfamiliar and challenging place in their life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Different, Different is Good, May 8, 2007
Sharon Hinck continually surprised me. The story line did not follow the predictable at any turn. Pick this one up and give it a try. See if you aren't flabbergasted a time or two.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Restorer - Modern Moms Fantasy Lit, May 8, 2007
The Restorer takes us into the life of frustrated soccer mom, Susan Mitchell. Her life has become a series of hum-drum events and she longs to serve the Lord in a mighty way.

Susan inadvertently stumbles into an alternate universe and a string of adventures like none she has ever dreamt of. The country she finds herself in is in the midst of a turbulent struggle for its own survival. Susan must find a way to survive this foreign world and find a way back home.

Befriended by strangers whom she fears, but is forced to trust, Susan leans on the Lord for strength. But, is God present in this strange place?

Sharon Hinck, the author of the mom-lit Becky Miller books enters a new genre with The Restorer, the first book in The Sword of Lyric series. Hinck blends her traditional mom-lit with fantasy and the end product is a unique blend of genres that is refreshing. Readers will find that The Restorer appeals to a wide range of reading tastes.

One of the most enjoyable elements of fantasy is that you never know what to expect. The Restorer is no different. The story holds you on the edge of your seat and a number of twists keep you reading.

Review by:

Jill Hart, CWAHM.com
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Is Not Grandpa's Fantasy, May 8, 2007
By 
Becky (Southern California) - See all my reviews
It's been a long time since I inhaled a book, though of late there have been a couple I've gulped down pretty quickly. One such was Hinck's Renovating Becky Miller.

Fans of the Becky Miller books will also love The Sword of Lyric books. But so will fantasy lovers.

This first in the series is a story about Susan, a soccer mom turned Restorer. The characters are wonderfully accessible and engaging. They feel like they could be the neighbors next door or the couple in your Bible study. Maybe she teaches your daughter's Sunday school class. Maybe he is a regular on church work days. Or maybe they are you.

On the other hand, the world in which Susan finds herself is a brand new place. It is NOT Middle Earth or another Narnia. It is a place with a surprising mix of technology and primitive devices, and we see it through the eyes of soccer-mom Susan, so we understand it the way she does.

The novel is a story for Christians, without a doubt, but Hinck communicates the faith elements in a unique way. She does not use symbolism, and she does not put Christianity in the fantasy world ... not exactly, anyway. The parallel place has people of the Verses and they worship the One, creator of the world. They are looking for a Deliverer.

Susan is a Christian and recites Scripture, but she doesn't try to bring Christ to these people. She simply concludes that in her world the Deliverer has already come whereas these people are still waiting for Him. It is as if she is with a group of Old Testament Israelites (though the world bears no resemblance to that of the Promised Land).

The bond she feels with these people is in large part because they both believe in the One who has sent/will send the Deliverer and has made Himself known through Scripture/the Verses.

The worlds may be parallel. God is the same. Very powerful!

The story is outstanding, too--full of tension, conflict, intrigue, suspense, surprises, danger, sadness, triumph, hope, fear ... I can't begin to capture it all and certainly do not want to spoil the story by telling you specifics. The pace is fast but every step is properly motivated and understandable.

I have to qualify that statement because there is a period when Susan is adjusting to the parallel world and nothing makes sense to her. It all fits, but Hinck doesn't tip her hand and show you prematurely where everything belongs.

I enthusiastically recommend The Restorer as a Must Read for fantasy lovers and for Christian women. I highly recommend it for every other reader.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Renewed Commitment to the Verses, June 7, 2007
I've been under the weather with a summer cold for three days. I'm so glad. The Restorer by Sharon Hinck has been left undiscovered on my nightstand too long. Since I couldn't work, I opened The Restorer and entered a land of adventure and courage. I haven't read a fantasy since...well...something by C.S. Lewis in college a LONG time ago. The main character, Susan, is the kind of heroine I want to be, committed to the purety and power of the Verses in any world I find myself in...work, home, ministry. Her story is a beautifully constructed metaphor for the clarion call we should all be answering. This is a story to be enjoyed on many levels. A great summer read, summer cold or not.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not your average fantasy, May 26, 2007
The Restorer gives an interesting twist to fantasy. It has the pleasure of a well-drawn alternate world with believable characters, but more significantly, has a just enough anchor in reality to keep it meaningful. Susan, an ordinary mom, finds herself inexplicably thrown into a confusing world. She receives only grudging aid and quickly endangers her reluctant companions. Not a good start, considering how desperately they need her help. It isn't long before Susan discovers that her arrival is no accident, or that a friend may help her one moment and put a knife to her throat the next. She must learn to recognize and fight insidious deception, political intrigue, assassins and warriors, all the while knowing that she is in way over her head. The Restorer is a gentle reminder that we sometimes need to look beyond our own strength, wrapped up in the fun of an exciting adventure with plenty of surprising plot twists.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book!, May 24, 2007
By 
In this excellent Christian fantasy, Hinck creates a world so vivid and characters so real that I literally could not pull myself away from the book. Our Christian faith and the importance of the Word are seamlessly and beautifully woven into the story. It's captivating, and exciting, and powerful, and I loved it. If you like well-written tales of adventure and faith, you do not want to miss The Restorer.
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The Restorer (The Sword of Lyric Series #1)
The Restorer (The Sword of Lyric Series #1) by Sharon Hinck (Paperback - May 15, 2007)
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