I thought this book was amazing! Maybe because I don't have a lot of experience in the fantasy realm, but I thought the plot was wonderful and I enjoyed the characters. Because it's set in "our" future, the best part for me was the characters finding bits and pieces of our civilization. A blacktop road, a building, a car. Each time they find something there is wondering what it was and how it was used. I can't wait to get into the next book.
Anastasia and Teo live in Chiveis, a pastoral, Alpen-like realm where the people live simple lives - the majority engaged in Medieval-like occupations. There is however a striking difference between this setting and the one we are used to reading. Chiveis - as the novel progresses - reveals itself to be held under the rule of dark spiritual powers working to keep its people in ignorance and bondage.
First, I have to say that Crossway is one of my favorite publishers; they publish some very doctrinally sound, excellent titles for both children and adults. They don't publish much fiction though, so when I saw that they were publishing a post-apocalyptic novel that takes place in a future world (similar to our own) in which the scriptures had been suppressed and lost, I couldn't wait to read it. I absolutely adore dystopian fiction, and post-apocalyptic Christian fiction where the Bible is rediscovered? How good can it get?
Well, I have to say that despite my initial enthusiasm I was disappointed in the quality of this novel. The storyline is interesting and strong, but the execution is only mediocre at best. I hate to say that - really I do, but it's obvious that Litfin has a story to tell but just doesn't have the craft know-how to pull it off well.
The characters are at times inconsistent with the setting and world they are placed in. Anastasia for instance is virtually a paragon of virtue despite being raised in a pagan culture that celebrates debauchery. What ground is her morality built upon when there is no Christian virtues at place in her culture? Her parents also seem to celebrate her purity, and I am at a loss to explain why, as it doesn't seem to be valued in Chiveis.
Another unbelievable point for me is how quickly the small group of believers in search of the newly revealed God Deu (as discovered in the Sacred Writings found by Anastasia and Teo - translated by the later) transforms itself into a type of New Testament church despite having read only fractions of the Old Testament.
Now, after all of that, the story is still interesting, and the series does improve in The Gift - the second novel in The Chiveis Trilogy. I'm just a bit disappointed in the execution of what could have been an incredible novel.
I received an electronic copy of this title in exchange for this review. All opinions are genuine and entirely my own.
When I started reading "The Sword" by Bryan Litfin, I didn't realize that this would be a trilogy. (Alas...I guess I have two more books I'll be reading! I always do this to myself - case in point...The Hunger Games, Blackout...)Overall I found the novel to be an enjoyable read. The characters are fantastic and the kingdom and land described create for an epic setting. I found myself trying to determine where in the world the story is unfolding as there are small clues left throughout the book. The villain of the book is larger than life - she is truly one scary woman! I kept envisioning a Angelia Jolie-type actress every time I read a scene with the High Priestess of Astrebril in it.The story has adventure, revenge, romance, grief, hope, evil, friendship, etc. Nearly everything you'd expect in an epic-like book. My only criticism is that it probably could have been about fifty pages shorter. There were a few scenes that slowed things down a bit, but nothing that would prevent me from recommending the book or reading the next installments.One of the huge takeaways I have from reading "The Sword" is an admiration for the sheer amount of faith the two main characters - Ana and Teo - have to not back down and deny their faith in "Deu" (God as we know him in Judeo-Christian circles.) I found it inspiring that a future people could feel so drawn to an unknown God simply by the words found in Holy scripture. Really convicting for me to keep up with my daily reading in scripture.
"The Sword" was an entertaining Christian fantasy set in our future after modern civilization has fallen. The target audience appeared to be Christian adults (both women and men), but some teens might like it. The characters were varied, complex, and interesting, and I was curious about what would happen to them. The story was fast-paced and exciting with the action rarely slowing. The suspense was created by the physical danger to the characters and the attraction between the two main characters even though they were divided in their beliefs. (And I thought the resolution of this difference was handled in a nice and convincing manner.) The story was frequently unrealistic and inconsistent, and the characters acted in illogical ways. For example, two characters have a letter they desperately need to get to the prince and they know they can't get to him, yet they don't give it to a character that can and will see the prince. In the prologue, the author has a super-virus that--following his parameters and taking into account only the mail system--would have killed everyone in the world who received mail in less than four weeks, but he has it last for decades.Also, taking into consideration the only religions they knew, it seemed like the characters were a little quick to follow this new god and trust that he was good. Their firm belief was based solely on the first few chapters of Genesis and some Psalms. While God's guiding hand can be seen by the reader, it looked to them like God repeatedly failed to come through for them, yet they still believed.There was no bad language. There were several seduction scenes, but the sex was implied rather than explicit. There were a couple explicit torture scenes, but they weren't gory, just violent. Overall, I'd still recommend this novel as entertaining, clean reading. I received this book as a review copy from the publisher.
In this ancient-future world, one particular people united themselves under a king and called their realm Chivels. The Chieisis also had their own religion: they worshiped four main gods under the guidance of a high priestess. Bryan M. Litfin creates a world four hundred years after a virus and nuclear war destroy it. Its a fascinating look at a what if scenario - what if life as weve come to know it ends? Bryans characters gripped my heart and definitely made me think about Gods word in a whole new way. I was quickly drawn into this suspenseful narrative filled with action, adventure and a compelling storyline that kept me engaged and caring for the characters and their situation until the end. Teo and Ana find a treasure, called the Sacred Writings. Teo has heard of these ancient writings and knows how to translate them into his tongue. These writings become a light that shines into the hearts and minds of the people he reads them to. God starts His work where two or more are gathered in His name. This is powerful stuff. God (who they call Deu) becomes more real to them than any of the four Gods theyve grown up with. It's amazing and scary to them.Maurice Teos mentor says, 'Deu is the all-creator. Hes not a God to be manipulated by rituals and good deeds and token offerings. He makes the plans; your place is to heed themTeo, I think you have to let Deu be the God He is, not the God you want Him to be.'Bryan shows the dark side of the high priestess, religion and how people get caught in the powers of darkness. The Sword is the first in a trilogy. Bryan concludes his book with you wanting to learn more about this colorful cast of characters and wondering about their next adventure. The sequel is scheduled to be released April 2011.