The mysterious veil between the mythical realm of Welken is thinning---even as the danger for four teens swept up in its adventures is rapidly building! Morphed from misfits into heroes, can they rescue their trapped friends, repel the onslaught of a merciless army marching on a peaceful land---and face their own weaknesses? 368 pages, softcover from Howard.
What if the fabric of our world were stretching or tearing...or getting thinner...and we could step through that veil into another world?
It's been a month since the Misfits -- four friends who like to commiserate -- were catapulted out of their adventures in the land of Welken and back into an ordinary summer in the small town of Skinner, Oregon.
Mysterious reminders of those exciting days begin popping up everywhere. A mountain lion. A sailboat. A children's story. Could Lizbeth, Bennu, Len, and Angie be needed, once again, in Welken? If so, for what purpose?
And things seem different this time. Are little signs of Welken rippling through Skinner? Do the multiplying wonders mean that two worlds are about to collide? Or has Welken been within the Misfits' reach all along, but they just hadn't seen it?
Dr. Gregory Spencer is professor of communication studies at Westmont College in Southern California. He specializes in rhetorical theory and criticism, religious rhetoric, and media ethics. Dr. Spencer's teaching has been noted for its creativity. According to one former student, "His words do not merely paint pictures, they provide eyes to see the pictures that have always been before us. In this sense, his classroomis no less than a portal into a transformed world."
Open Guardian of the Veil and immediately you are again adventuring with the four misfits who made their mark on Welken in the first book of this series, The Welkening. These four Oregon teenagers just dont quite fit into this world. They wrestle with their own and family problems, and now they are called back to help in that parallel world, Welken.
For a second time they face those arch nemeses of Oregon, the delinquent, dangerous Mackenzie boys, as well as Welkens own cast of variously slimy and beautiful villains. In The Welkening, the teens Len, Angie, Lizbeth, and Bennu, each had an alter ego: a lion, angel, ox, and falcon. In assuming these four forms, the misfits were enabled to save Welken. But this time as they move between various worlds, slipping and sliding through veils that separate not only Welken and Oregon, but also such situations as health and illness, love and hate, what seems and what is, and a real dream and what passes for reality, the four just cant get it quite together. Here a lion tail, there an ox shoulder, just an angel wing, or a falcons head until well that would be giving the wonderfully fantastic ending away.
Working under all these pressures and distractions, they must find Welkens own special one, Piers, figure out who is friend and who is foe, stop two merciless armies before they destroy Welken, and save a wide variety of wildly unusual and engaging friends. All the while they are coping with their own home problems. Much of this world reflects or actually is part of Welken: Percy the cat, who insists on wandering when he is most needed; a delightfully silly childrens story that holds clues that are oh-so-hard to figure out; and then theres Dear Abby, the winsome octogenarian grandmother who is suffering from Alzheimers in Oregon but in Welken. Adventure, desperation, humor, treachery, triumph, classic friendships, and a quest. All these archetypal fantasy qualities and more appear in Guardian of the Veil.
Written for older elementary through high school age, The Guardian of the Veil will intrigue and engage readers of all ages. If your family has a family reading time, this book will fit in nicely, making a hard-to-stop reading serial. Dr. Gregory Spencer is a Professor of Communication Studies. He ably demonstrates his ability to communicate in this fantasy series. The plot is a veritable argyle of knitted strands. Spencer never once loses a strand, but the reader needs to be careful not to lose one. Most everything has more than one meaning. Christians will recognize many themes. Here are just a few: Welken has its own guiding spirit; love must conquer hate or all is lost; good is good and bad is very bad; personal and spiritual growth is important; friends must help even unto great sacrifice; a cloud of witnesses watches us; the veil can be traced to hymns and Scripture. However, these themes are not immediately understandable and younger readers probably will need a mentor. There are also references made to myths from ancient countries. Non-Christians may not see the themes as essentially Christian. The Guardian of the Veil can be read on its own, however, it will make more sense if you have all ready read The Welkening.
This Welken series seems to be a distant cousin to the inimitable stories of that masterful writer P.G. Wodehouse, in which a myriad engagingly wild plot strands are cleverly woven into an entertaining mass. Both The Welkening and Guardian of the Veil will delight and challenge fantasy aficionados. Readers will recognize much from other fantasy. Besides the ones the author mentions, I recognized ideas from Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Dr. Seuss, and the movies Finding Nemo, Princess Bride, and Jumanji, to name just a few. Donna Eggett, Christian Book Previews.com
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