Monday, March 8, 2010

Raven's Ladder by Jeffrey Overstreet

In my mind, writing fantasy must be about the hardest of all the fiction genres. Writing Christian fantasy must be harder yet. Unfortunately, this book just does not come up to my standard of great Christian fantasy.
There is no Christian allegory to the book that I can identify. Just when I thought the Keeper was representing God, it did something totally out of God’s character. There is lots of drinking of beer and ale and smoking a pipe releases one character’s tension. This is not exactly the kind of literature I would want my teen to read.
There is an odd mixture of this world and the world Overstreet created. There are eye-glasses and rail-train cars on metal tracks (pulled by animals) which seem to be a transfer from the world we know. There are characters that can manipulate and pass through stone and roots that come up through the ground and attack living beings, creatures of the fantasy world.
Overstreet has not done a good job of creating the fantasy world the reader can enter. Action there is plenty but the setting is lacking. Usually I could not “picture” the scene because a description of the context of the action was missing.
While it does not say it prominently on the book, this is the third in a series. Overstreet has not included an adequate review of the previous novels so characters and plot lack the background needed to enjoy this book.
As Tabor Jan says to the story teller Krawg, “…make it short. Too many characters…-an audience won’t have patience for that.” The Guide to Characters at the back of the book lists 44 characters one is supposed to keep straight. Overstreet should have followed his own character’s advice for this 370 page book.

This book was provided for review by The WaterBrook Multnomah Publighing Group.
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