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Posted January 2, 2013
Posted July 2, 2011
Posted June 8, 2011
A Hard Act To Follow...
Last year I read a book that took me quite by surprise. I did not expect to like it. I actually expected to dislike it. But, I found that I loved it! It was The Sword by Brian Litfin. It fits into a genre of fiction known as speculative fiction. Essentially, the world goes into a future dark age when a virus wipes out most of the world's population. This is deftly described in a very concise few pages at the beginning of The Sword. God's Word has been lost and so has faith in Him. It has been replaced by Idolatry and the worship of many Gods. The Sword is the story of Teo and Ana and their discovery of part of God's Word. I knew when I began reading The Sword that it was to be the beginning of a new trilogy and that I would have to wait a year for the second installment.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The Gift was published in April of this year. I have looked forward to reading it and I finally got a chance to read it this week.
I'm not sure quite where to begin. So, I'll begin with the cover. I was surprised by how the cover affected me. It reminded me of a Harlequin type fantasy romance novel. It set me ill at ease and didn't appeal to me. But, I opened up the book and began reading. The story picks up where the first one left off. There is a 2 page prologue that is brief but complete to set the stage for this second book in the trilogy. This book can be read independently as an engaging story, but I would recommend beginning with the first one simply because it is a really good story.
The Plot: I enjoyed the plot immensely. The plot, with all its twists and turns, is engaging and interesting. Some of the twists are predictable, but many are not. In this book, Teo and Ana set out to find more of the sacred writing of Deu. They found a portion of the Old Testament, but know that there is a second part of the book that is missing. This book tells the story of their continuing quest.
The Writing: I did not find this book to be as well written as the first. It is difficult for me to say exactly why. The language and grammar seemed too casual--too much like how we talk today. Every culture seems to have its own colloquialisms and I didn't notice any in this futuristic culture. At one point in the story, I couldn't picture Teo and Anna saying "Yeah, sure." when it was included in the story. It didn't fit with their characters for me. I was pleased, however, with how easily Mr. Litfin was able to convey when the characters were speaking in different languages while keeping the story fluid.
I think perhaps my misgiving about the cover is linked foretold of the amount of romance that would infuse the story. I'm not sure that it was vital to the plot to include as much description of the women's clothing and their body movements as there was. It made me somewhat uncomfortable at times. The descriptions were a bit more like modern romance novels than Jane Austen's novels. My discomfort reminded that this is an adult fantasy fiction book, not one for middle or high school students.
I enjoyed this story and am glad to have read it, in light of my one misgiving. I do look forward to the third installment of the trilogy next year. I would not, however, recommend this series to teenagers. I know that young adult fiction now reads like adult fiction, but I am still of the opinion that teenagers shouldn't have to be adults yet and their books should be appropriate for their levels of maturity.
Please note that I received a complimentary copy o
Posted May 29, 2011
Highly Recommended - you must check it out!!
I'm going to start with a review of the introduction of the book itself. Firstly there's the prologue. Now it's the second in a trilogy - and normally I don't like prologues in the second of a trilogy. But this was short, and in essence was the same as the prologue of the first. But what I really want to talk about of the introduction is the first chapter. The start of the novel finds the main characters (Ana and Teo) with a small group of scouts. The author uses this as a way to help remind the reader of what happened in the first book (The Sword). It's not a unique way to recap the readers, but the way Litfin utilises this tool is possibly the thing I admire most about the beginning of the book. It's easy to read - not just a long monologue about the previous book - it even misses out the majority of the story. But it shows the character of the characters, and from the first chapter we are once more identifying with and sympathetic to the characters, Ana in particular. Except for one point, and this I felt was the biggest problem I had with the book. I had felt that at the end of the last book the two main characters feelings were pretty much sorted out. If not spelled out in words, it seemed to be pretty clear. But in the Gift it seemed to be that actually they were quite confused about each other. Maybe this is me reading too much into the first book, or not having read it in a while, but it seemed to me like their relationship had taken a step back. Since I'm discussing the problems I found with it, I might as well discuss the other thing here. For a considerable amount of the first half of the book, I felt that it lacked direction. While events occurred which were central to the plot, there seemed to be a lot of the characters not knowing what they were going to do. And since they are separated early on, they don't get a chance to plan. The purpose only arrives when Teo decides to take things into his own hands (from what I can tell, roughly six or seven months after the start of the book. The whole book lasts a year). After this however, it's a nice story. That's not to say it's a bad story at the start - just not very strong. I admire Litfin's ability to depict his characters different beliefs about God, or Deus as he is called in this fantasy novel. He has his believers and he has his non believers. He also has those somewhere in between. But what I am impressed by is that his believers are still human. Even Ana, the more devout of the two, occasionally has doubts about God. Most of the novels I've read with christian characters has characters that fit the molds of "Priest who is actually not religious" or "Devout, perfect believer who never stops believing" - essentially the two extremes. Litfin manages to place his characters at various positions on this scale, and keeps them there. The brief scene involving Ana's parents is another example of this. Overall this book has many strengths. The characters were as excellent as before, the descriptions were vibrant and interesting. The various factions impressed me, and the links with the pre-apocalypse world also. On the negative side it didn't really develop a strong plot until midway, and the relationship between Ana and Teo sometimes seemed overly confused. It didn't invoke the same thoughtfulness as the first one did, but it was an enjoyable read all the same, and I look forwards to the final in the trilogy.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 19, 2011
Awesome spec fiction!
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, but this second book is even better! Years in the future and after a global epidemic that practically wiped out all mankind, society has reverted to an almost midevil state. Christianity has been eradicated - or has it? This book takes us on a journey to Roma in search of a copy of the New Testament (in Book 1 Teo and Ana found a copy of the Old Testament). Along the way Ana and Teo are separated and both of them make the ultimate sacrifice for each other. I can not wait until the next book comes out - alas, I think it will be awhile, but worth the wait!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 4, 2011
2nd in Chiveis Trilogy is intriguing dystopian look at faith
The Gift by Bryan Litfin is the second book in the Chiveis Trilogy. A dystopian society, hundreds of years in Earth's future after a nuclear war has put the few remaining inhabitants into a pseudo-medieval style of life. Teofil was a professor in Chiveis before discovering a ancient sacred text that introduced him to the god Deu. He and friend Anastasia have fled their homeland where the authorities wanted to put them to death for their faith in the mysterious Creator God. The Gift picks up with their exile away from Chiveis where they travel to Umbartia. Ana is quickly embraced into the lavish aristocratic society while Teofil is forced away from her, despite his growing feelings for her. Teofil continues his search for the second half of the Sacred Text, the missing New Testament, while Ana loses herself in a hedonistic society with new friend Vanita who encourages her to forget her home and friends and embrace this new life. Ana and Teo are pulled apart and together again in surprising and tragic ways. I absolutely loved The Sword, the first book in this series. I love how Litfin has made the so well-known Bible by allowing readers to see it through the eyes of people who have no idea what Christianity means or its relevance in the world. Teo and Ana run into images of a man crucified on a cross and try to make sense of Iesus Christe without the New Testament. That is still a fascinating part of the book, as well as learning how the faith has survived in this new, dark world. Litfin finaly gives readers a few clues as to where the books are taking place, and some famous names from history make a surprising appearance here. For me, this didn't quite live up to The Sword, although it's still a terrific novel. I was disappointed in Ana's defection, and Litfin manipulates the reader deceptively a couple of times. The Gift still offers a fascinating story with lots of action, suspense, faith, and a bit of romance. I can't wait to read the last book in this trilogy and see how Litfin brings this huge story to an end (and part of me hopes he'll keep it going for more than just one more book yet!).Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 10, 2011
Teofil and Anastasia have been exiled from Chiveis because of their faith. They travel south and are greeted by high class societies. And while Anastasia is greeted with open arms, Teofil is not. They are on a desperate search for the lost New Testament and soon discover that there are more people that want to stop them than only the high priestess of Astrebril. They will stop at nothing to discover the gift.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
While The Sword was an excellent novel, in my opinion, The Gift was even better. Again, an excellent example of what Christianity would be in the eyes of someone who never heard of anything like it before. The story is slightly repetitive of the first book, but the various settings and characters make up for it. Bryan Litfin is a master at creating characters. Each is well defined, and they all react to situations in "the way they would".
The story takes you all around the map of the post-apocalyptic world displaying different evolving societies, which I found to be quite interesting. There is a heavy dose of suspense spread through out the book, and a nice drizzle of romance. Both of which make the story all the more interesting. A brilliant novel about redemption and perseverance. Excellent work, Bryan; can't wait until the next one!
Posted December 9, 2011
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Posted August 24, 2012
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Posted December 10, 2012
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