Monday, November 1, 2010

CSFF Blog Tour, Nanowrimo, and Edits... OH MY!

November 1rst... the beginning of so much.  I don't know about anyone else, but I've been looking forward to this day for weeks now.  Today is the day that the CSFF blog tour (for October) starts, and in a few minutes I'll be posting something about Stephen Lawhead's new book "The Skin Map".  But today also marks the beginning of National Novel Writing Month, and for me that means lots and lots of rewriting this year.  :)  Is it normal to be excited over editing and rewriting?  I don't really know... but then again, I don't know how many people would call me "normal".

I did just receive a very nice and unexpected surprise when some fan art I drew based on one of the characters in Wayne Thomas Batson's book "Isle of Swords" appeared on his site.  Thank you Mr. Batson!  There's also an awesome picture of Falon with it from his other books, "The Door Within" trilogy (not drawn by me.  :D)  If you would like, go check them out at his link:

I would also like to remind people that the poll for The Amazing First Chapter Contest closes the 15th, so don't forget to vote for your favorites!!!

And now on to other business.  First and foremost, I would like to thank Thomas Nelson for providing me with a free review copy of "The Skin Map" for the CSFF blog tour this month.  And then I would like to thank Stephen Lawhead for writing it, as I've quite enjoyed it so far.  Granted, I haven't finished just yet, but in my defense it only arrived a week ago and I've been extremely busy with school.

I know, I know... not a good excuse.  :D

But I have read a lot of the book (and I've even done the forbidden and skipped ahead chapters at a time to read certain POV's) and from what I have read, I believe I have a relatively good grasp on what's going on.

So we'll start with a summary, straight from the horses mouth... uh... back of the book.  :)

Kit Livingstone's great-grandfather appears to him in a deserted alley during a tumultuous storm.  He reveals and unbelievable story; that the ley lines throughout Britain are not merely the stuff of legend or the weekend hobby of deluded cranks, but pathways to other worlds.  To those who know how to use them, they grant the ability to travel the multi-layered universe of which we ordinarily inhabit only a tiny part.

One explorer new more than most.  Braving every danger, he toured both time and space on voyages of heroic discovery.  Ever on his guard, and fearful of  becoming lost in the cosmos, he developed and intricate code - a roadmap of symbols - that he tattoed onto his own body.  This Skin Map has since been lost in time.  Now the race is on to recover all the pieces and discover its secrets.

But the Skin Map  itself is not the ultimate goal.  It is merely the beginning of a vast and marvelous quest for a prize beyond imagining.

Tomorrow I'll try and post something about the author of this book, but for now I'm going to give you my thoughts on the matter.

Pros:  I have nothing to compare this to, considering the fact that I haven't read any of Lawhead's books before, but I would say this is well written and intriguing.  The language (in my own opinion) is fun to read... partially because it has that British flare that everybody seems to love.  (It might help, of course, that Lawhead is a British author.)  It's definitely a fun and fast paced read, which always makes the journey more enjoyable, and the characters are interesting enough to draw you in.  At the same time, it makes you think.  The story alone is intriguing, although I do have to ask myself how many times the concept of dimensional and time travel will be "done" before people begin to tire of it.  Yet I do believe this book has brought new fire to the genre.  It's definitely worth looking at.

Cons:  It seems to jump all over the place.  Now granted, it is time travel, and dimension  travel, and what else should we expect?  But while I found it easy to follow one character, and could have easily continued to follow him, we suddenly jump to another character.  This in itself was not really disorienting, except for the fact that until the very end of the session following Kit's girlfriend there seems to be no real connection between jumping time and dimension and the dangers that follow; she easily settles down into her new home, makes friends, starts a business that is a great success based on her knowledge of the future, and then a man comes along (I won't say who to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it) finds her, gets suspicious of her, and leaves and she finds a way to travel the leys, and we hear nothing more of her or her friends from ancient Germany until the very last two pages of the book.  (Yes, I couldn't help but skip around to read those chapters one right after the other.  I easily followed her story, and probably would have read a book just based on this turn, with her trying to create a business in ancient Germany based on modern values.  That was done well.)

I would say that the book in itself is a good introduction to further books, although I do feel it "beats around the bush" a little bit.  I look forward to checking out the other books soon to join this one in the series; perhaps things will make more sense then.  But that's part of the wonder of series books, isn't it?  The mystery of what happens next and how everything ties together...

Now, given the fact that I haven't read Lawhead before and am not familiar with his writing style, I wasn't sure of what I thought of his semi-narrative style.  It was slightly refreshing, to tell the truth, yet disconcerting in the fact that narration is something that seems to be so vehemently preached against these days in 3rd person writing... not to say I don't slip into it myself from time to time.  I would say that all in all, I liked his style, and will definitely be checking out his other books.

Though I haven't finished reading the book, my rating for it so far would be a three out of five... not bad, but not the best.  Definitely interesting though, and worth a look."> Red Bissell"> Thomas Clayton Booher"> Keanan Brand"> Grace Bridges"> Beckie Burnham"> Morgan L. Busse"> Jeff Chapman"> Christian Fiction Book Reviews"> Valerie Comer"> Karri Compton"> Amy Cruson"> CSFF Blog Tour"> Stacey Dale"> D. G. D. Davidson">  George Duncan"> April Erwin"> Tori Greene"> Ryan Heart"> Bruce Hennigan"> Timothy Hicks"> Christopher Hopper"> Becky Jesse"> Cris Jesse"> Becca Johnson"> Jason Joyner"> Julie"> Carol Keen"> Krystine Kercher"> Shannon McDermott"> Allen McGraw"> Matt Mikalatos"> Rebecca LuElla Miller"> Nissa"> John W. Otte"> Gavin Patchett"> Sarah Sawyer"> Chawna Schroeder"> Kathleen Smith"> Rachel Starr Thomson"> Donna Swanson"> Robert Treskillard"> Steve Trower"> Fred Warren"> Dona Watson"> Phyllis Wheeler">  Nicole White"> Elizabeth Williams"> Dave Wilson


Robert Treskillard said...

Nicole ... that is a really well thought out review considering you skipped around a bit!

And great artwork on WTB's blog!

Hey, I'm giving away an autographed copy of The Skin Map on my blog. I know you already have a copy, but you can still participate as well as help spread the word.



Star-Dreamer said...

Cool! I might try that. I do know the answer to your first riddle. *sly look* And I'll be sure to spread the word.

Awesome review, btw. :)

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

Well done, Nicole, especially since you haven't finished reading the book yet. I wonder how reading the rest will affect your opinion, if at all.


Star-Dreamer said...

Rebecca: *lol!* I wonder too. I really can't wait to finish it, but I just haven't had a lot of time lately. Working on it though, and slowly but surely it will get done.


Anonymous said...

Hey! Thanks for the great reviews about The Skin Map. I wanted to invite you to check out Stephen Lawhead's facebook page for more information about him and about The Skin Map, here: