Disclaimer: When I read an average or bad book, I don't usually feel inadequate in writing a review about them. But, when I read a very good book like the one I'm reviewing here, I am very humbled by my own attempts to convey what a good book it is.
Reading so many books this past year and a half has often taken from me my joy of reading. (I've read some bad books.) But, there are so many other times when reading the books that I have the opportunity to review engage my mind and heart.
A few weeks ago, I received a book by accident--I hadn't requested it (at least I don't think I did). But, I took its arrival to mean that that I was meant to read it--that it was one of those books God has brought into my life for some reason that I didn't know.
I usually don't choose to read science fiction or fantasy novels. I have a few favorites that I've enjoyed over the years and they have typically fallen in the category of dystopia fiction: The Giver and the other books in the series, Ender's Game, and Brave New World. Outside of those few, I've stayed away from anything that would come close to "speculative fiction" , a cross between science fiction and fantasy. Each of these books I loved drew me in. I wanted to know what happened next. There were twists and turns that I didn't expect. Surprises. Joys and sorrows.
This week I read a new book that drew me in. I wanted to know what happened, how the story unfolded, and get to know the characters. The prologue was a story in and of itself. You could tell from the first page that the author is a good writer. He didn't mince words, but he wasn't flowery either.
The book I read is the first book by Bryan Litfin. The Sword is his first fiction book and is the first book in the Chiveis trilogy. The prologue begins with our world as we know it today but a few years from now. A virus sweeps the world and it goes back into a modern, or rather, future dark age. And so the story begins...
We meet Teofil and Anastasia at the beginning of the story as their paths cross in the forest. There is an attraction between the two from the beginning and it made me wonder how this thread of romance was going to be woven into the story. Would it be a romantic adventure or would the author simply weave romance into the lives of the characters--as it is in real life? The author chose the latter, as my husband pointed out to me. There is romance in life--to deny that or not include it in the story wouldn't be portraying the human heart as it is.
But, at the heart of this story is the adventure of seeking God. What would it be like if everyone forgot about God and worshipped idols and false Gods? Litfin poses that question and writes about what he imagines the world could be like.
I've been thinking about who I would recommend this book to? Teenagers? Adults? Men? Women? What genre does this book fit into?
I would recommend this book to adults--both men and women. But, it's not a book for teenagers. There is an element of just a few scenes as it relates conveying the heart of man and what love and lust are that are more mature than I think is appropriate for young teenagers. Litfin is a professor at Moody Bible Institute so you don't need to be afraid of what he's written, but I just wouldn't let my daughter read it if she was a teenager.
This book describes itself as speculative fiction. It seems like a cross between fantasy and science fiction to me. What drew me in and made this book so enjoyable for me was not knowing what was going to happen. That makes it difficult to review this book, because I don't want to give anything away. I want you to get to enjoy it for yourself!
I think I've covered the bases--so if you get a chance to read this book--please do! It's being released at the end of April.
Please note that I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book for review.