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Toxic Paperback – December 14, 2011
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About the Author
Vicki V. Lucas gave up her career teaching at a university to wander in unknown worlds. She journeys with her husband and dog…and a few other friends no one else sees. When she returns to her home in Missoula, Montana, she transcribes the tales of her journey and those of her fellow travelers. Explore further at www.vickivlucas.com
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Top customer reviews
Plot – A
The plot of saving a dying world from an evil sorcerer may not be one of the most original in the range of fantasy plots, but I thought Lucas did a good job of making it her own. I didn’t feel that I was reading a rehash of a classic fantasy offering, which is always a good thing in my book. There was a distinct storyline that was completed in this book but the cliffhanger was written in such a way that I felt like there should have been more, which is a good way to make me want the next book if only to see what happens next. :)
Content – B-
There is no sensuality present in this book. The only language present is found in Kai’s humorous utterances – all inoffensive horse-related “swearing” such as “Stallion stalls.”
The main characters, Kai, Lizzy, and Taryn, do bicker constantly. Even after they’ve been reprimanded multiple times by two different characters, they fight and argue to the point that it really got on my nerves. It was extremely frustrating when these three teenagers (I also wasn’t sure how old they were except that Kai was probably the oldest) would work together for a page or two and I thought they making progress as far as maturity and then it was right back to the squabbling and screaming at each other. This wishy-washy footing with each other is also reflected in their spiritual journey. The spirituality is very clear in this book. There is a clear difference being drawn between the magic fueled by spells and the abilities given by Adoyni and Lesa the divine Prince who paid for freedom of the world with His life. The allegorical aspect is very clear and there is an interesting choice of turning a wind into a character, but the chapters written from his point of view were well done. The worship of Adoyni has essentially faded but while each of the main characters make a decision to believe in Him at different points in the book, they all immediately go back to being wishy-washy and turning back to the goddess. This is a huge frustration in regards to one character who believes then backpedals then believes then backpedals then believes then backpedals right until the very end. I can understand them struggling to keep the faith but I wish “one step forward, two steps back” didn’t apply to all three of them in regards to their interactions with each other and their spiritual journey. I really wanted to see at least one characters stay firm and help the other two stay firm in their own journeys.
There is a LOT of violence and darkness in this book. There are murders, people dying of poisoned water, bloody wounds, and a zombie army. Let me be clear that I despise zombies, I don’t like them on TV, film, or in books. HOWEVER, the Unwanted as they are called are not really the Hollywood type of zombies. At least, they don’t want brains and they can do more than shuffle so I could tolerate them more than usual. They are specifically described in legend as being caught between heaven and hell. These zombies also have black blood that spurts when they get a limb chopped off. There is one character who is badly injured twice and eventually dies from their wounds. Another character is described as losing so much blood from a head wound, I was a bit surprised that they lasted as long without true medical attention even from the head wound. There is also a human sacrifice scene, that wasn’t graphic.
Technical – A-
This book was well-edited. I think there were only three places where there was a punctuation error – a period missing or an extra space was between the opening quotation mark and the word. There were some issues with the narration. First, when we jumped to a different secondary narrator for a few sections, it was so far into the book that it felt a bit jarring to me. Second, one of the biggest difficulties for multiple narrators in the same place is avoiding the “I just went through all this with the other character” feeling, and while this particular sensation was avoided, there were pacing issues because we kept jumping back in time with the narrator switches, especially in regards to the final battle.
Final Grade – B or 4 stars
Overall, the book was okay. I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it. There were some interesting decisions in regards to the narrators. But, I liked the feel of a fantasy world with winged horses (Archippos) and good and evil locked in conflict. The zombies…I can tolerate them this time. I do hope the more irritating aspects for the heroes’ characters are grown out of over the course of the next book. I will probably read Book Two just to find out what happens. I recommend this book for fans of fantasy books dealing with spiritual warfare and those who like Christian fantasy employing zombies. Recommended for ages 15 and up.
Ever so often I would pull it back up and read another chapter, but for some reason, I couldn't connect to the story. It was following three very different characters on three very different paths, and I couldn't stay interested.
The other day, however, I stumbled across it on my new kindle, and since I really wanted to finish the book, pulled it up, prepared to plow through another chapter - except that suddenly the three stories converged and I was now interested! I finished the book that very day.
The three main characters are Kai, Lizzy, and Taryn. Kai is the son of a crippled race jockey, and his younger sister is sick with the plague. He wants to find a cure for her, and also achieve the fame that his father lost. Lizzy is the daughter of traveling musicians, who doesn't measure up to her older brother. She desperately wants to prove herself to her parents and earn their love. Taryn wants power. He thinks he has natural magic - and some of the people from the temple he talked with seemed to confirm it. There's also a wind spirit named Foehn, who was an interesting character.
The uniting issue they face is the fact that the water is poisoned.
Kai seemed to be the main character, but unfortunately, I didn't connect to him, much preferring Lizzy's and Foehn's stories. So I kept wandering away from this book.
And then the three protagonists met, and from that moment on, I couldn't put the book down, and by the time I'd finished, it was on my list of the best Christian Fantasies I've ever read. The worldbuilding was amazing, though weird at moments (Zombie - I mean, Untwanted army anyone?). The plot moved quickly, and twisted enough I couldn't tell how it was going to end. And the Christian message was well done.
This was not an allegory. Yes, there was a Jesus figure, but he belonged to the world's history. I was really impressed with this, since prior to this book, I don't think I'd ever read a fantasy that had dealt with our Lord's Sacrifice and had chosen to treat it as history. It didn't loose any of its power for that, and it still played a huge role in the plot.
I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone.
The story takes three teens and casts them as chosen slayers who can defeat the evil Belial and Nighthawk Nephesus and free their people of delusions of great kings, goddesses, crystals. The trio is shown the power of Adoyni, a great and loving God. There is tell of a battle in which Lesu is killed, and has evil pawns called the Unwanteds.
Equally as engaging as The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings!!
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