This month, the Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy blog tour took a look at George Bryan Polivka’s The Legend of the Firefish. I have very little brain power these days, so my synopsis comes straight from the back of the book:
Packer Throme longs to bring prosperity back to his poor fishing village by discovering the trade secrets of Scat Wilkins, a notorious pirate who now seeks to hunt the legendary Firefish and sell its rare meat.
Packer begins his quest by stowing away aboard Scat’s ship, the Trophy Chase, bound for the open sea. Though he is armed with a hard-won mastery of the sword and the love of Panna Seline, daughter of a priest of the kingdom of Nearing Vast, many tests of his courage and his resolve will follow – beginning when the young voyager is discovered by Scat himself.
Will belief and vision be enough for Packer Throme to survive? And will Talon, the Drammune warrior woman who serves as Scat’s security office, be Packer’s deliverance… or his death?
And what of the innocent young Panna Seline? In her determination not to lose Packer, she leaves home to follow the man she loves but is soon swept up in a perilous adventure of her own.
This heroic struggle of faith makes The Legend of the Firefish a compelling story that will be enjoyed the wolrd over by fans of adventure, fantasy and well-told tales of honor and sacrifice.
So, first things first: I’m not quite done the book (some how reading and a 3 week old don’t necessarily mix. Who knew?), but I’m probably 3/4 of the way through. So I can’t review the book as a whole piece, not yet… anyway. Also, this book doesn’t qualify as a fantasy book in my mind, but it’s still a good book, and it does have some interesting stuff in the world that Mr. Polivka invented. I think that the author said it best in his forward “This is not a ‘sword and sorcery tale, but one of ‘sword and spirit’. There is no magic… but there are miracles.”
My first impressions were ok – not fantastic, but not lacking, either. The storyline was interesting, although there was a fair amount of character building right off that bat. Not un-readable, but I know that some people wouldn’t enjoy that. I kind of liked getting to know Packer. The one thing that irritated me is that Packer attacked this priest, right? Well, the author keeps alluding to this horrible thing that the priest does, but never actually says what it was! For some reason, it’s really annoying me. I’m sure that he meant to keep it that way, so our minds could fill in the blanks, depending on what we wanted Packer to react so violently to. Me? I just want it all spelled out for me, so I don’t have to think about it! 😆
As the story develops, we see a fair amount of growth in a lot of the characters. Mr. Polivka has done an excellent job making his cast believable, human and utterly relatable. I found the book (in general, but especially of the characters) incredibly tactile – there was nothing that I couldn’t easily imagine and conjure up in my head. This pleases me because right now I’m a lazy reader… and when you’re reading in 5 – 10 minute chunks… you don’t have a lot of time for creative imagery. You just have to go with what is in the book.
Harvest House Publishers have done a more than excellent job with this book. The cover art is actually interesting, so much so that even my husband (who does not read) picked it up and said that it looked interesting. It’s not your typical photoshop job, which seams to be the ever increasing trend. Oh, I’m sure that it was created in some sort of photoshop type program… but at least it’s not “stick a guy on the cover with a sword and add noise”… because that’s utterly boring.
The publisher even went as far as to include graphics on the chapter start pages, and adding little curlicues on the top of the pages as well as small wheel graphics near the numbers. Sadly, there are no pictures to show you this, so you’ll have to take my word for it – it’s nice, and it doesn’t distract. It is just a nice, arty touch. The one thing that I don’t like is that the cover feels quite flimsy on my trade paperback copy. For those readers who like to curl their covers as they read (if any of you do that to my books… ::shakes fist:: ), you’ll like that it’s thin, but I’m more of a sturdy book lover, so it kind of seems cheap to me. The pages are a good weight, though. They’re not too flimsy or too firm, which is nice.
All right, enough about what I think about the book. Here are some links for you.
Talk Like a Pirate Contest from Harvest House (this looks great, but be warned, if you don’t live in the continental US, you don’t qualify… that includes us Canadians)
The other participants:
Trish Anderson Brandon Barr Wayne Thomas Batson Jim Black Justin Boyer Grace Bridges Amy Browning Jackie Castle Valerie Comer Karri Compton Frank Creed Lisa Cromwell CSFF Blog Tour Gene Curtis D. G. D. Davidson Merrie Destefano Jeff Draper April Erwin Linda Gilmore Beth Goddard Marcus Goodyear Russell Griffith Jill Hart Katie Hart Sherrie Hibbs Christopher Hopper Jason Joyner Kait Karen Dawn King Tina Kulesa Lost Genre Guild Terri Main Rachel Marks Karen McSpadden Rebecca LuElla Miller Eve Nielsen John W. Otte John Ottinger Robin Parrish Lyn Perry Deena Peterson Rachelle Cheryl Russel Chawna Schroeder Mirtika Schultz James Somers Steve Trower Speculative Faith Jason Waguespac Daniel I. Weaver Janey DeMeo Mike Lynch