Friday, March 12, 2010

‘Raven’s Ladder: A Novel’ by Jeffrey Overstreet – Book Review and Giveaway

Buzz this

Some people are just so productive that I don’t know how they do it!  Jeffrey Overstreet is one of those people!  He is an award-winning film critic and columnist; his work has appeared in such publications as Image and Paste.  He collaborates on a blog called Filmwell; its tagline is ‘Is this a film blog?’   He is also the contributing editor for Seattle Pacific University’s Response magazine and a very busy public speaker.  According to ‘About the Author’ in the back of the book:

Jeffrey and his wife, a poet and freelance editor named Anne, spend time writing in the coffee shops of Shoreline, Washington, every week.

Not only that, but he is a published author!  I have heard acclaim for his other novels; ‘Raven’s Ladder’ is the first book of his I have had the privilege to read.  This is the third book in the ‘Auralia Thread’ Series.  The others books are ‘Auralia’s Colors’ and ‘Cyndere’s Midnight.’  In addition, he has written ‘Through a Screen Darkly,’ which he describes as his “memoir of dangerous filmmaking.”

Mr. Overstreet describes his novel this way:

Raven’s Ladder’ is about preserving a vision of hope through doubt, disappointment, distraction, and disaster. (p. 385)

We certainly all could use more of that, couldn’t we?!

I have not read a lot of Christian fantasy novels, but I have enjoyed the ones I have read to date.  Raven’s Ladder’ was no exception.  Mr. Overstreet is a masterful and imaginative storywriter.  He has created a wonderful fantasy world, and has described it with lots of color and creativity.
As seems to be the case with all Christian fantasy novels I have read to date, it has taken me a couple chapters to ‘get it.’  Raven’s Ladder’ was no exception.  I think I am too grounded in this world to be immediately transported into another one (which is worrisome in itself, being that Jesus instructs us that ‘My Kingdom is not of this world’ – John 18:36).  Be that as it may, I did hang in there and was soon drawn into the story and its characters.

As is often the case when you join a book series midstream, there is the concern that it will be difficult to follow the storyline.  I did not find that to be the case with ‘Raven’s Ladder.’  It stands alone very well.  And Jeffrey helps those of us who are joining the series in the middle by providing ‘A Guide to the Characters’ at the back of the book, a tool which I found most invaluable through the entire reading of the novel (there are a lot of characters; pay attention!).

I found this book to be extremely well-written; Mr. Overstreet is a masterful storyteller.  It was adventurous and mysterious, and the story kept moving.  There are interesting characters – both human and non-human – and intriguing plotlines.  Raven’s Ladder’ is multi-layered and quite detailed. 

I was a little surprised that the story was not more overtly Christian (unless I overlooked something).  It is billed as ‘Fiction/Fantasy,’ but since it is published by Waterbrook Press (the Christian imprint owned by Random House Publishers), I expected it to be more allegorical.  There were some elements, but not as many as expected.  It is certainly not non-Christian or non-biblical, in my estimation, but I had other ideas of what it would be.

There will be a fourth and final volume of ‘The Auralia Thread,’ which Jeffrey is in the process of writing.  I look forward to seeing where his imagination takes these characters!

You can order this book here.

This book was provided to me by Waterbrook Press for review and giveaway purposes.

I have a copy of this book that I would love to pass along to one of you! 

There are several ways to gain entry:

1) Leave a comment here on the blog, telling me what intrigues you about this book!  Please make sure to leave your email address in this format – sample[at]gmail[dot]com.

2) Follow me on Twitter; I will more than likely follow you back!  If you are already a Twitter follower, that counts, too!  Please leave a new comment to that effect.

3) Follow me as a Google Friend on this blog; if you are already a Friend, that counts, too!  Please leave a new comment to that effect.

4) Become my Facebook friend.  Please leave a new comment to that effect.

5) Follow this blog as a NetWorked Blog Follower after you’ve become my Facebook friend.  Please leave a new comment to that effect.

So there are five chances to enter!  Please limit one entry per option.

This give away is for U.S. residents only.  The deadline for entry is Saturday, March 20, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. EST.  A winner will be chosen via the Random Number Generator on Sunday, March 21, 2010 and will be contacted via email.  The best to all of you!


bigguysmama said...

Good review. I tried reading the first few chapters, but was so lost and was so confused I couldn't read it. I think reading the first two would be a good idea for me to understand all of it!


PS don't enter me. :)

Cherie J said...

Great review! I love Fantasy Fiction and I have the first book of the series, Auralia's Colors on my reading pile. Would love to read this one too after I read that one. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.


Cherie J said...

I am following you on Google Friend Connect.

Cherie J said...

I am following you on Twitter-@cherierj

Anonymous said...

i haven't had an opportunity to read any christian fantasy novels...i'm interested in reading this one...thanks for the opportunity


Carman said...

OMG! I would love to be entered into this giveaway. I've heard great things about these books and am looking forward to reading them. I <3 christian fantasy. :)


(I'm posting about this on my site right now. ;)

Anonymous said...

I am a Sci-Fi nut! Sounds like a great book. :O)

Anonymous said...

I am your follower on twitter

estrella8888 at roadrunner dot com

Anonymous said...

Carman sent me. :) Please enter me in this drawing!

Grace said...

Love fantasy! I've been dying to read one of Overstreet's books. *Thanks*

gracethorson (at) gmail (dot) com

Carmen sent me!

Cindy W. said...

I absolutely love the cover. I love reading Christian fiction and although I haven't read any in the Fantasy Fiction line I would very much like to. Please enter me into your giveaway & thank you so much for the opportunity.

Cindy W.


Lee Smith said...

I am intrigued by this book because I just finished a series by Stephen Lawhead that talked about King Raven and his people ~ and I've heard that this book is written in the same sort of language ~ creating a new spin on old idea and then making the world come alive. I love that "feel" to a book. It's on my dream list.


I joined as a google friend/follower.

I also requested that you become my friend on facebook.

Thank you!

lace said...

I'd love to be entered for this book. I've read the other books in the Auralia's thread series and have really enjoyed them. I'm looking forward to reading this one as well.

lacelk {at} sbcglobal [dot] net

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