Customer Reviews for

The Gift: A Novel

Average Rating 4.5
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  • 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 It has been replaced by Idolatry and the worship of many Gods.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.

    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

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  • 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!).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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