After waiting forever and believing this review copy had gotten lost in the mail it finally arrived. The packaging was a bit worse for the wear, but the book was in fine condition. I believe it traveled through its own land of darkness to get to me, but it made it.
I eagerly tore the package open and dove right into the book. Can I say it took me much less time to read it than it did waiting for it to arrive?
C.S. Lakin has done it again. She has written another beautiful story full of allegory, strong characters and always pointing her characters and readers to the one King.
Jadiel, a twelve year old girl, is grieving for her dead mother and her father unwittingly marries a witch who has bewitched him and blinds him to his daughter's needs. The wicked step-mother and her two evil daughters make Jadiel's life more than difficult. (Sounds a little like another story but don't worry, this one is much better.)
Callen is a young man who is a wood-carver for Jadiel's uncle. He happens upon a drawing of an ornate bridge that stirs his imagination and desire to see this bridge for himself.
As Callen sets out to find this exquisite bridge made from wood, Jadiel finds herself sent on an adventure of her own. Her step-mother wants the leaves of a particular tree that promises eternal youth and beauty. Specifically the leaves of the Eternal tree. She has until the next full moon to find them and bring them back or her father will die.
Jadiel and Callen end up traveling together and find out that what they are searching for turns out to be something otherly different.
I would say more... but I don't want to spoil the story. It is truly a wonderful tale. Rich characters, strong imagery, a masterfully written book. This is definitely a keeper. I look forward to reading it again and again.
C.S. Lakin is now my number one author for fantasy, next to C.S. Lewis, of course. Her Gates of Heaven series is worth reading, writing about, talking about and sharing with any one who enjoys a well written book.
C.S. Lakin lives in the otherworldly kingdom of California where she works professionally as a book copy editor and writing coach (when she isn't writing novels). She has two amazing daughters, a dedicated and encouraging husband, a demanding but loveable black lab puppy, and three persnickety but irresistible cats. Whenever possible, she disappears for days atop mountain peaks or explores the ocean sixty feet below the surface. The rest of her life is spent between sea and sky waiting for a city not made by human hands.
This book was provided graciously by C.S. Lakin and AMG Publishers/Living Ink Books for the sole purpose of reviewing. I am under no obligation to provide a positive review.
C.S. Lakin took me on a grand adventure with her latest release, The Land of Darkness, and one I'm not soon to forget. This author has a unique skill of weaving both fairy Tale and spiritual themes seamlessly together into a patchwork of drama, suspense, emotion, and morality that cloaks the reader in a warm, enjoyable read. I loved the Scriptural allegories of Good vs. Evil, the evil shadow that steals men's souls, the invisible bridge that spans eternity, the sacrifice of the Son, the blindness of those who don't believe...wonderful! The author also sprinkles Scriptures throughout the story in such an unobtrusive way, one hardly notices them. Excellent read from an excellent author!
I know, I've said this before, but I continue to be amazed by my level of enjoyment of fantasy novels. I never thought that it was possible for me to not just enjoy books like this, but to actually become an honest to goodness fan of the fantasy novel. I think the most appealing part of books like this is they are escapism at its finest. I love mythical creatures, adventure to places that only exist in the author's imagination and the overall feel of books like The Land of Darkness.
Now, don't let the title fool you. This is not a dark and dreary book. There are some bad things that happen, but there wouldn't be much of a story and there wouldn't be much of a reason for Jadiel and Callen to end up on this adventure if their lives hadn't brought them to this place. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this book and had many moments when it was hard to put down. I love it when I am reading a book and I find myself smiling simply because I am enjoying it so much. That happened a lot during the reading of The Land of Darkness.
C.S. Lakin certainly has a tremendous imagination and she does a terrific job of putting that imagination on paper for all of us to enjoy. There was a time when a book like this never would have appealed to me and I forced myself to read just one to see what it was like, and I have been hooked ever since. I have not read the other books in the Gates of Heaven series, but if they are anything like The Land of Darkness, I must get my hands on them as soon as possible.
I will never forget the day I opened the package and saw the book, A Map Across Time my thought, "WHY did I agree to read a fairy tale!?!?" I am so thankful I did. Because once again this author allows me to escape in The Land of Darkness, a wonderful tale of good versus evil, complete with an evil step-mother and her ugly daughters. However, the author doesn't give you a Cinderella story. There are very interesting twists to the story that weaves a unique and thoughtful tale. And this time I got the allegory!
The characters are wonderful, young Jadiel while still mourning her mother's death is forced to deal with a wicked step-mother who wants her out of the way. Callen, the young apprentice for Jadiel's uncle, is seeking a mysterious and beautiful bridge. Circumstances bring them together in their quest, where they face many unknowns. As the author mentioned in her interview, Callen is struggling with his faith and generally doesn't look before he leaps. He represents so many of us in our struggle to trust. Once again there are quirky characters to aid the fairy tale element, Grork, the hoptoad being one of my favorites.
The imaginary that the author creates in her words is once again beautiful. You can envision the places Jadiel and Callen travel on their adventure. You can also sense the fear and awe that they experience.
This is a book for those who enjoy an escape from reality. I haven't read a lot of fairy tales as an adult, but if you enjoy The Chronicles of Narnia then I think you would enjoy these books. I'm not sure if young children would be ready for a book like this. Parts might be scary to them. My youngest is almost 13 and nothing scares him. As a parent I would recommend reading the book first and determine for yourself whether your child would enjoy it.
I think this might be the first time I am speechless. I am trying to find the words. This book was off the charts AWESOME! The Gates of Heaven Series, is quickly becoming one of my favorite reads to look forward to. I cannot wait to read the next in the series!
Who knew a talking frog could bring me to turn pages so quickly my fingers were burning. lol Lakin is a talented writer with the gift to pull you into the story and make you feel as though you are walking through the enchanted lands not yet traveled. You find yourself journeying with characters so rich and vibrant you cannot help but long to see what happens next.
Jadiel is the main character. A young girl with a step mother who is wicked to the core. This woman is able to cast spells and enchant people with her beauty. A beauty that is only potion deep. This story carries valuable lessons to cherish. Callen is one of those unforgettable characters in search of a bridge, but the meaning behind this bridge is so much more than meets the eye.
This lovely tale brings you to an enchanted land that leads us straight to the gates of heaven and a God who brings light to all darkness.
I cannot say enough about this book without giving away all the details. I don't want to spoil it for you. This is a great series for Young Adults and Adults alike. I tell you, I couldn't put this book down! This would make a wonderful Christmas gift for that reader in your family.
This book was a gift from Living Ink Books for it's review.