RSS

Monthly Archives: June 2013

Storm, Again

Storm by Evan Angler, 3rd in the Swipe series

Storm by Evan Angler, 3rd in the Swipe series

Yesterday, the plan was to discuss names and characters in Storm by Evan Angler, the focus of this CSFF Blog Tour. For instance, I chuckle every time I read “IMPS”, the acronym for the International Moderators of Peace, a police-like force, and “Lily Langly” reminds me of an old-time actress — but little people needed attention (“I need FOOD” is an imperative statement), the publisher handed me a last-minute assignment that must be turned around ASAP because another editor dropped the ball, an author needed reassuring over the phone, and Niece #1 needed a chauffeur to a book signing (Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee’s Sovereign tour). We stood in line for two hours, next to a woman who was going to talk to someone and we were it, but the wait was worth the hunger, the headache, and the aching feet. There was even a little romance: Abetted by Mr. Dekker, a young man proposed to his girlfriend, and the crowd applauded.

Today, rather than a discussion of the book’s contents or structure, I’ll end with brief comments about two scenes, one in the middle of the book, and one near the end. The first: Lily being summoned to see Chancellor Cylis in New Rome. As she is led through the palace, she sees famous works of art that have been collected for preservation after the Total War. Among those works is the head of the Statue of Liberty. For me, that image, more than the desolate landscapes and weather mills, solidifies the strange, dark world of the story.

The scene near the end: The moment Lily stands before a silent crowd, tells them she’s innocent of her brother Logan’s blood, and makes them responsible for what happens to him — life or death. Readers familiar with the story of the Crucifixion will recognize Pilate’s words in Lily’s. In the weeks that follow, Logan’s friends and followers despair, thinking him dead, but he is in the bowels of Acheron — also strongly symbolic.

Due to the clean, strong writing, the fast-moving story, and the imaginative take on an End-Times world, I recommend this book, and daresay the rest of the series is equally good.

For other opinions on the book(s), check out these other stops along the tour:

Julie Bihn
Beckie Burnham
Pauline Creeden
Emma or Audrey Engel
Sarah Faulkner
Victor Gentile
Ryan Heart
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Writer Rani
Chawna Schroeder
Jacque Stengl
Jojo Sutis
Jessica Thomas
Steve Trower
Phyllis Wheeler
Rachel Wyant

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Storm: First Impressions

Storm by Evan Angler, 3rd in the Swipe series

Storm by Evan Angler, 3rd in the Swipe series

Gotta admit: I wouldn’t have picked up this book if not for the CSFF Blog Tour. It’s young adult futuristic dystopian science fiction (howzabout we try to squeeze a couple more genre descriptors into that list?), and although it has a great cover and interesting premise, I would probably have passed over it for something, well, more interesting.

And I’d have missed out on a good book.

Storm by Evan Angler is the third installment in the Swipe series (Thomas Nelson), but could almost stand alone. The author supplies the necessary information so the reader isn’t lost, but Angler never bogs down the present story with all the backstory. That takes skill.

Just as with the previous blog tour (featuring Merlin’s Blade by Robert Treskillard), the deadline has arrived but I’m still reading the book. However, here are three first impressions:

1) It’s easy to read. The writing is clean, not flowery but straight-forward, and it’s solid. The editor side of me is lulled to sleep by the excellence, in which the reader side of me is happy to indulge. The pace is right: tight, tense even in the “resting” moments, with just enough secrecy here and revelation there, keeping the reader engaged in the action.

2) Scenes move the story forward without bogging the reader in extraneous detail. This is great for snagging and maintaining the interest of impatient or easily-distracted readers. However, the details that are included aren’t vague. The characters seem real, and the settings are easily seen and navigated in one’s imagination. I’ve not yet been pulled back to reality by something that doesn’t fit or isn’t authentic to the story’s world or characters.

3) The story is imaginative. It synthesizes Biblical prophecy with futuristic science fiction in such a way that there is no preaching, only strong storytelling, and even those readers who might be familiar with current politics and world events, trends, fears, and the book of Revelation won’t know what’s coming next.

And though the circumstances may be dark, there is hope.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll blog about second impressions; meantime, here are other stops along the tour:
Julie Bihn
Beckie Burnham
Pauline Creeden
Emma or Audrey Engel
Sarah Faulkner
Victor Gentile
Ryan Heart
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Writer Rani
Chawna Schroeder
Jacque Stengl
Jojo Sutis
Jessica Thomas
Steve Trower
Phyllis Wheeler
Rachel Wyant

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

A Dictionary Soapbox

Today’s post is a mix of definitions from Merriam-Webster Online, and miscellaneous brief opinions about them. A better post might include a thorough description of the recent events leading up to this collection of thoughts — such a post might be more interesting for readers — but I’m not interested in revelation here. Crazy statement, perhaps, from someone putting his mind on display for the world to read.

Dichotomy: something with seemingly contradictory qualities <it’s a dichotomy, this opulent Ritz-style luxury in a place that fronts on a boat harbor — Jean T. Barrett>

“Dichotomy” came to mind after the brouhaha over a review someone posted, acknowledging another writer’s creativity without necessarily enjoying its application.

Similar conflicts have arisen in the past when I’ve expressed admiration for someone’s commitment to a cause even though I thought the cause itself ludicrous, the person misguided, and the methods wrong.

It happens. People disagree. And that’s okay.

Tolerance
1: capacity to endure pain or hardship : endurance, fortitude, stamina

2a : sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own
2b : the act of allowing something : toleration

3: the allowable deviation from a standard; especially : the range of variation permitted in maintaining a specified dimension in machining a piece
full definition

I disagree with the “sympathy or indulgence” part of that definition. Smacks of opinion or agenda.

Often, tolerance is not a two-way street. Tolerance may be living alongside people with different lifestyles, but it is not blindly accepting everyone and everything that comes our way — that would be irresponsible and unintelligent. Wisdom involves discernment, discretion, decision. Not everything is good for us in the long run, even if it solves a short-term problem. Our sense of urgency doesn’t translate into someone else’s emergency. Saying yes to one thing means saying no to something else. That’s life.

Giving an honest, courteous opinion, yet receiving venom and accusation in return from one who preaches tolerance? Ironic.

Irony
Language device in which the real intent is concealed or contradicted by the literal meaning of words or a situation. Verbal irony, either spoken or written, arises from an awareness of contrast between what is and what ought to be. Dramatic irony, an incongruity in a theatrical work between what is expected and what occurs, depends on the structure of a play rather than its use of words, and it is often created by the audience’s awareness of a fate in store for the characters that they themselves do not suspect.
full definition

What about being professional while still being casual and approachable? I was knocked back a few steps when a colleague who’d been friend-like in the past became a mass of buttoned-down, by-the-book aggression. Not sure where we stand now: still colleagues, are we friends or enemies? More importantly, I’m not inclined to work with this person in the future.

But I’m a grownup. I can deal.

If every circumstance turned out the way we thought we wanted, there’d be chaos. Everyone’s wishes can’t be granted. Just as there is harmony in nature, there is conflict. An animal dies so another can live. One season gives way to the next. The storm blows because it must, and destruction follows, because frailty cannot stand against its force. Two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time — physical impossibility, because one must displace the other. One guy gets the girl, and the other patches up a broken heart.

Denoument
1: the final outcome of the main dramatic complication in a literary work
2: the outcome of a complex sequence of events
French dénouement, literally, untying, from Middle French desnouement, from desnouer to untie, from Old French desnoer, from des- de- + noer to tie, from Latin nodare, from nodus knot
full definition

Who can tell how the knotty rope of life untangles, or if it ever will? I can only hope that, by the end, my life was a story worth reading.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,