Posts Tagged With: Christian fantasy and science fiction

Boys Read? Are You Serious?

“Explore, build, conquer – you don’t have to tell a boy to do those things for the simple reason that it is his purpose. But it’s going to take risk, and danger, and there’s the catch. Are we willing to live with the level of risk that God invites us to?”

See! A boy is reading in this candid photo.

See! A boy is reading in this candid photo.

John Eldredge, Wild at Heart, 2001:Thomas Nelson Publishers

Good books can help build the man. The young boy needs all the help he can get to rise up to the heights of his unique calling. Through stories that flesh out endurance, sacrifice, and fighting for the right, he can attain his destiny. A well-rounded male protagonist demonstrates to the young reader that success must be hard-won and involves taking risks and will inspire him to believe he can make a difference.

John Eldredge claims in Wild at Heart that “Life is not a problem to be solved; it is an adventure to be lived. That’s the nature of it and has been since the beginning when God set the dangerous stage for this high-stakes drama and called the whole wild enterprise good.  He rigged the world in such a way that it only works when we embrace risk as the theme of our lives, which is to say when we live by faith.  A man just won’t be happy until he’s got adventure in his work, in his love, and in his spiritual life.” (p. 238)

Fictional stories well-told can breathe on the embers that lie dormant in all boys and men, fanning the flames of their strength and power, and enabling them to rise up and do big things for their families and the good of others.

These great “boy books” offer plots and settings that show the resolution of a boy’s inner conflicts: “Do you think I can do this?” “Am I any good?” “Am I heroic?” Our world needs men who use their strength for the protection of others — men who overcome and walk out their bigger purpose.

The titles listed here represent a few stories that showcase a male character facing adventure, danger, and risk. My list is eclectic and loosely organized into recommended age categories. Keep in mind that often a good book will be a wonderful reading experiences for many age groups.

Pre-Teen:

The Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis – each book offers a heroic and YOUNG protagonist, e.g. Peter, Edmund, Shasta, Eustace, Caspian

The Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop – William is off on a quest into a fantasy world

Honus & Me by Dan Gutman – one of 5 “Baseball Card Adventures” – a boy goes back in time to meet his sports hero.

The Matchlock Gun by Walter Edmonds – a young boy must defend his family against Indian attack

The Bears on Hemlock Mountain by Alice Dalgliesh – a boy must find out for himself if there are bears on the mountain

The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman – a spoiled prince and a commoner team up for adventures

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes – a silversmith apprentice in Revolutionary Era Boston finds his courage

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George – a runaway survives in New York’s Catskill Mountains

Mid-Teen:

The Pendragon Cycle by Stephen Lawhead – wonderful re-telling of King Arthur and Merlin

Call Me Francis Tucket by Brian Paulsen – a 14 year old faces trials in 1800’s American West

Hatchet by Brian Paulsen – a teenager must survive alone in the Canadian wilderness

Little Britches by Ralph Moody – a heart-warming saga of pioneer life in Montana in the 1800s

The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare – a young boy faces dangers in Palestine at the time of Christ

Late Teen:

God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew – a Dutch missionary smuggles Bibles behind the Iron Curtain

Midshipman Hornblower by C.S. Forester – a British naval midshipman endures hardships during the Napoleonic War

Last of the Breed by Louis L’Amour – an escaped American soldier evades captures in Soviet Siberia

Treasure Island, Kidnapped, or The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson

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Categories: Biography, Children's Books, Inspiration, young adult fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Broken Wings – CSFF Blog Tour Choice

Broken-Wings_coverI love fantasy and science fiction novels – always have, always will.  I have posted on my blog about J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and C.S. Lewis’ Narnia Chronicles.  A contemporary fantasy author,  L.B. Graham, made my fantasy favorites list with his Binding of the Blade series.  Now I have another author to recommend: Shannon Dittemore, author of the Angel Eyes Trilogy.

I was introduced to this author by the Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy (CSFF) Blog Tour which was initiated by a group of writers who saw a need to raise reader awareness about the books in the genre after reports that editors were not seeking to expand SF and fantasy due to a small market.  In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of Broken Wings from the publisher in exchange for an honest review of the book.

Broken Wings is the second novel in the trilogy which just came out this past February.  The third and final novel, Dark Halo, will be available August 20, 2013.  Although I committed to an honest review of the second novel in the series, I made sure to read the first one first! Angel Eyes was good, but in my opinion, Broken Wings was better.  This author bravely tackles the realm of angels and demons much like Frank Peretti in This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness.  Demons feature in many current books and movies, but more rarely are angels highlighted.  Dittemore does a splendid job of detailing different types of angels: “shields” (guardian angels), “sabres” (worshipping angels from God’s throne room), and “cherubim” (messengers), among others.  The novel flashes back and forth between the “Celestial” and “Terrestrial” realms.

Using the contemporary setting of Oregon, Dittemore weaves a compelling story of teenageers drawn against their will into celestial adventures that threaten to overwhelm them in their intensity.  The author uses dialogue with fluency to create personalities and relationships between characters.  High school seniors, Brielle and Jake, stand at the center of the story, with interesting friends and relatives surrounding them.  Although the trilogy is written for young adults, it touches on some mature themes such as child trafficking, familial alcoholism, and sexual attraction.  However, the underlying message is that redemption and restoration will come in the end.

Shannon Dittemore doesn’t sugarcoat life’s real battles: “I’m a firm believer that books open doors into the imagination and remind us that we should venture there often. We should dream. We should try hard things. We should be fearless. And while there are many obstacles that stand in the way, I hope my stories remind readers that life is to be lived. Pain is to be tackled. Mountains are to be climbed. And while you may fall into dark places along the way, light is as close as the prayer on your lips.”  from the author’s website:  http://shannondittemore.com

Particularly compelling to me is the contention in the books that when human beings worship God the Creator,  breakthrough in the celestial battle between good and evil occurs.  I also enjoyed the  element of mystery which is nicely developed throughout books one and two.

My only complaints are the following:  1)  the descriptions of actual combat are awkward.  2)  the romance between Brielle and Jake seems accelerated for their age.  3) each novel cuts off at the last page with such painful cliff-hanging.

http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Wings-Angel-Eyes-Novel/dp/1401686370/

Other bloggers who participated in the tour are:

<a href=”http://ofbattlesdragonsandswordsofadamant.blogspot.com/“> Gillian Adams</a>

<a href=”http://kinynchronicles.blogspot.com/“> Julie Bihn</a>

<a href=”http://quiverfullfamily.com/“> Jennifer Bogart </a>

<a href=”http://rbclibrary.wordpress.com/“> Beckie Burnham</a>

<a href=”http://hosannaschristianreader.blogspot.com/“> Pauline Creeden</a>

<a href=”http://janey-demeo.blogspot.com/“> Janey DeMeo</a>

<a href=”http://tweezlereads.blogspot.com/“> Theresa Dunlap</a>

<a href=”http://myrdan.com/“> Emma or Audrey Engel</a>

<a href=”http://vicsmediaroom.wordpress.com/“> Victor Gentile</a>

<a href=”http://www.thehahnhuntinglodge.com/“> Nikole Hahn</a>

<a href=”http://jessebecky.wordpress.com/“> Becky Jesse</a>

<a href=”http://www.spoiledfortheordinary.blogspot.com/“> Jason Joyner</a>

<a href=”http://thestephanieloves.blogspot.com/“> Karielle @ Books à la Mode </a>

<a href=”http://carolkeen.blogspot.com/“> Carol Keen</a>

<a href=”http://emileightherebuilder.blogspot.com/“> Emileigh Latham</a>

<a href=”http://www.shannonmcdermott.com/“> Shannon McDermott</a>

<a href=”http://www.bloomingwithbooks.blogspot.com/“> Meagan @ Blooming with Books</a>

<a href=”http://hardcoverfeedback.blogspot.com/“</a> Megan @ Hardcover Feedback

<a href=”http://rebeccaluellamiller.wordpress.com/“> Rebecca LuElla Miller</a>

<a href=”http://www.bookwomanjoan.blogspot.com/“> Joan Nienhuis</a>

<a href=”http://dadscancooktoo.com/“> Nathan Reimer</a>

<a href=”http://www.jamessomers.blogspot.com/“> James Somers</a>

<a href=”http://reviewsfromtheheart.blogspot.com/“> Kathleen Smith</a>

<a href=”http://www.jojosutiscorner.wordpress.com“> Jojo Sutis</a>

<a href=”http://stevetrower.com/“> Steve Trower</a>

<a href=”http://christian-fantasy-book-reviews.com/blog/“> Phyllis Wheeler</a>

<a href=”http://www.shanewerlinger.com/“> Shane Werlinger</a>

Categories: Fantasy, Inspiration, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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