I read this book a few weeks ago and waited to post a review until I could put my thoughts about it into words. . .and I'm still not sure. I love what the author intends for this series--a Christian retelling of fairy tales is SO COOL. But this first book, for me, was only so-so.
I think the main problem for me was a sense of emotional distance from the characters caused, I suspect, by too much time inside Joran's head. I would have enjoyed a wider-angle view of the story. The writing is beautiful yet rather distant and cold in feel.
On the whole, I enjoyed the story, being a fairytale lover from way back, and I look forward to reading the rest of the series, which I am told gets better and better.
Although this is book one of the Gates of Heaven series, it is the third one I've read. This series is nice, in that you do not have to read them in the order they were release. Although, having read book two when Joran, our young blacksmith, returns a horse to Jareth, I perked up as he is one of the characters in book two. But he is merely mentioned and it doesn't affect either story.
Once again as I read a fairy tale by this author I find myself transported into a land where a young man can mindspeak with animals. And although he was picked on his entire life he met a beautiful woman who became his wife. Joran's wife, Charris, is away visiting family and Joran is troubled by nightmares. Joran soon learns his wife never arrived at her destination and he must begin a search to find her and the source of his nightmare. Early in his journey he encourages a wolf who is caught in a trap. He rescues the wolf, thus indebting the wolf to Joran as a traveling companion.
This story is imaginative, especially with Joran's ability to mindspeak with animals. I found myself falling in love with the wolf who goes by the name Ruyah. His wisdom and sense of humor is both thought provoking and entertaining. This story also has some very touching moments that I found myself crying. Joran's journey to rescue his wife is a journey many of us travel where we explore our hearts and learn how God wants us to live. But remember it is a fairy tale through and through.
If you have the opportunity to read any of this series by C.S. Lakin, I would encourage to read one. The author does a wonderful job painting pictures the places Joran and Ruyah travel. Her writing style flows nicely.
Disclaimer: The ebook that I actually read did come from the publisher, but before that I did purchase a copy of this book so I could read it.
What a spectacular book! I got caught up in this epic struggle in the very first chapter, and didn't put the book down until I'd read it through. In this allegory, Joran, a simple young man, finds himself leaving the world he's always known in search of his wife, who was captured by some force of magic. He is joined by a wolf who accompanies and guides him on his quest. Their adventures force Joran to confront his inner demons and embrace who he was meant to be.
This is a book that can be enjoyed on many levels. Parents who read this to young children will find them hanging on every word as Joran journeys around the world to free his captive wife, having interesting conversations with animals as he goes. Older children will understand that the struggle goes beyond his fight to liberate her, and is actually a battle within his own self. Teens and adults will recognize themselves in the classic war between flesh and spirit.
Sprinkled on every page are pertinent proverbs from various sources, making this not only a wonderful work of fiction, but practically a manual for wise living. The characters are cleverly named, causing a bit of foreshadowing throughout the developing story. For example, the wife who is kind and forgiving despite her husband's failures, is named Charris, almost the Greek word charis, which means graceâ€”unmerited favor. The South Wind is named Noommah, which is pronounced like its Greek counterpart, pneuma, meaning breath or spirit.
At the end are study questions, making this a perfect book club read or high school literature assignment. It would also make a wonderful family read-aloud, worth the effort to expound on the themes and discuss the practical applications. A must read!
"The Wolf of Tebron" by C. S. Lakin is billed as a "fairy tale" and I would heartily agree, but a fairy tale with much allegory and deep meaning, along the lines of C.S. Lewis' "Chronicles of Narnia" series. The main character/hero is Joran, a young blascksmith's apprentice who, you find early on, has the ability to mindspeak with animals around him which plays into the story in meaningful ways throughout. Joran is soon on a quest to free his missing wife who comes to him in dreams or rather nightmares, wanting to be found. This quest is long and arduous and aided by "the wolf of Tebron", who he meets early on in the story. The wolf, Ruyah, is the voice of wisdom, help, and love as his friend and companion on this journey. It's a tough journey as he has to face things within himself that he needs to let go of in order to complete his quest.
This is one of those stories where you can't help but take a speculative look at your own life and wonder- "What are the things in me that I need to lay aside in order to be all that God is calling me to be?" I love when fiction has the power to reach in and accomplish some good in you. I highly recommend this book and as a side note- the next book in this series "Map across time" is due out soon. I, for one, will definitely be picking it up!
Since young blacksmith Joran sent his wife away, he has been haunted by desperate dreams in which she is trapped in a hut above the Sea by the Moon. Joran's anger burns strong against Charris, and at first he doesn't want to respond to the summoning. But as his nightmares begin to consume him, he has no choice. Rescue Charris (though she doesn't deserve it) or go mad. Perhaps he's already there.
Joran sets out, following the mad goose woman's instructions: "Go to the house of the Moon. She is there, with your wife. You saw her. She may help you, if she feels like it. Or maybe not. Tricky and deceitful, she is...It is very far, little cub, far beyond imagining. Your dreams will point the way north, but it is beyond the ends of the known world, and the traveling perilous. You will wear out three pairs of shoes before your journey ends. Yes, you will."
As Joran leaves the village of Tebron, he discovers that the wolf who has often watched him is caught in a trap. Joran releases the wolf, who mindspeaks him, telling Joran his name is Ruyah and will be his companion. Joran doesn't want the wolf's company, but doesn't seem to have a choice.
The Wolf of Tebron follows Joran and Ruyah north to the house of the Moon, east to the house of the Sun, south to the cave of the South Wind, and eventually west to the Sea, where he fights the final battle to free Charris and learns the truth of what happened the day he sent her away in the first place. He also learns some fantastic truths about himself.
While I didn't find the novel completely riveting, I did enjoy it. Parts of it seemed brilliant, making up for some of the long days of walking Joran and Ruyah do with little else going on. Here's a snippet I enjoyed from the first section of the book:
[Joran speaks.] "Tell me about the Moon. Is she able to...solve riddles?"
"Dear sweetums, that would be folly-the Moon will just load you up with more riddles. How can I describe Lunella? She isn't very bright." Cielle covered her mouth and snorted again. "Well, of course, she is very bright, but I meant she is not bright, short a few candle marks, if you get my drift. And absentminded as well. Causes a lot of trouble that way."
Cielle tipped her cup and drained the dregs into her throat. "The Moon is fickle-starts one thing, gets distracted. If I wasn't here to help clean and cook, she would waste away. Oh, and she does! Every month she goes out carousing and forgets to eat. She starts all fat and round and by the time she drags her sorry body into this house, she is just a sliver of herself."
The Wolf of Tebron is C. S. Lakin's first fairy tale, part of a proposed seven-part series called The Gates of Heaven, which all take place in the same world of Sherbourne.