This second book in the The Chiveis Trilogy Series moved the story along very well, kept me intrigued and turning the pages. I'm usually weary about middle books, because they can easily become fillers without adding much to to story line, but this was not the case. We got to know more about the characters, their struggles with the journey as well as with each other and God. Good read and I can't wait until the last book comes out.
Loved, loved, loved this book!!! Not only is the cover awesome (I love the colours, not to mention the exciting/scary scene) but the entire book was enthralling from start to finish. I found that the author wrote much more smoothly than in the prequel, and the dialogue was less stilted. The fast-paced move of the book was suitable for the storyline, which is really brilliant. I love the idea of reverting to a medieval world because of a massive nuclear war(the details of which are outlined in The Gift).
I liked how it was divided into 3 parts:Solidarity, Extravagancy and Victory. They all symbolised certain aspects which occurred in the story. Ana and Teo's character develops further, and both good and bad desicions are made. What I really liked was the theme of sacrificial love which was repeatedly displayed; a love which was willing to lay down reputation, and even its life, for the sake of another.
Teo and Ana are faced with even more danger than they were in the last book. They face a new foe in their new life, one which is even more dangerous than the high priestess. Their peril intensifies as they seek the NewTestament, which the dark forces are determined to destroy. There is both action and adventure, love and war. There were stark contrasts in this book: between the elite society ana is pressured into, against the lowly status Teo is forced to maintain. There was also a group called the Exterminati which, loyal to their name, literally exterminated people who were considered inferior or 'unwhole' in some way. This aspect of the story was pretty freaky, and seemed like a dark echo of the WW2 Nazi concentration camp-type thing.
This book is more emotional and portrays more suffering than its prequel. The characters uncover more about the Christ figure who is Deu's son. There is a greater cast of characters introduced, and even the least adds an important aspect to the story. I think Bryan Litfin has a winner in this series!
In part two of the Chiveis trilogy (begun with The Sword) Bryan Litfin leads readers in Ana and Teo's continuing journey in The Gift - out of their beloved Chiveis and into a post-apocalyptic Italy where beauty and sensuality reign supreme. Here they encounter yet further persecution and realize that not only is Deu's religion prohibited in their homeland, but has also been targeted by powerful leaders in other lands.
As the pair strive to rediscover the missing portion of Deu's Word (the New Testament) and unravel the secrets surrounding the Pierced One, their character continues to be refined and tested by many trials. Thankfully Litfin has done much to improve the depth of his characters, giving them more realistic flaws while drawing them closer to their Creator.
No longer is Ana a seemingly sinless young woman as she comes face to face with her own previously hidden weaknesses and failings. The tender - if confused - feelings between Teo and Ana also continue to build on a firm, if still somewhat platonic bond of affection.
It is exciting to see that Litfin has clearly been working on improving his craft, and as such, I am looking forward to reading the continuing adventures of Ana and Teo which are bound to be as exciting as those contained within this installment.
Disclosure: I received a physical copy of this title for review.
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 of this book from Crossway Publishing for review.
Step forward several hundred years into a post-nuclear apocalypse future. Earth has lost most of her technology and a new feudal age is in full swing. In this world, the Christiani are hunted down and nearly exterminated, and even the very message of the New Testament has been lost and nearly forgotten.
This is the story that Bryan M. Litfin crafts for us in his Chiveis Trilogy. "The Gift: A Novel", the second book in the series, follows Captain Teofil and Anastasia as they journey through new lands in search of the lost New Testament. Along the way, their adventures are many as they narrowly escape imprisonment, torture and death at every turn. The physical dangers aren't the only obstacles in their quest, they battle temptation to fit in to the spirit of the world they inhabit, too.
The book comes off feeling a bit like a fantasy work, yet there are no fantastic characters. It's actually more similar to a tale from a long lost medieval age, with the twist of people trying to search out the true meaning of Christianity. The character development is excellent even if the plot at times seems too good to be true. The quest to find the true nature of Christianity and to uncover the lost New Testament makes for a great story line, however. And the book moves along at a quick pace.
Without having read the first book, I was still able to enter the story easily: enough of the backstory was retold that I didn't feel lost. This book also comes with 15 study questions in the back which would allow it to serve as a class assignment for a study of literature, or equally well as a discussion guide for talking over the story and the moral dilemmas which faced its characters with your teen-age children.
This story was both unique and well-written. And what is vital for a fictional tale, it was ultimately satisfying. Yet the book offered even more, it was a work about our Christian faith and the struggle to live it out faithfully in whatever age we find ourselves in. I recommend the book highly. It would make for great summer reading. I'll be keeping my eye out for the conclusion of Litfin's Chiveis Trilogy, too.
Disclaimer: This book was provided by Crossway Books for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.