Today I want to address three things in my post today, and while we’re still talking about Chris Walley’s The Shadow and Night, they’re kind of not all in one place, so I just thought I’d put that out there.
First – the letter. I know that in Walley’s letter to the reader, which I doubt will be distributed with the book from the store shelf (and truthfully, if it needs this much explaining, couldn’t the publisher have done a “Note from the Author” in the actual book? I mean, if I hadn’t received the letter with the book, I’d be a little confused, and that just doesn’t bode well) he does talk about the whole “CS Lewis and JRR Tolkein thing”. According to the letter, it was labeled that way to show that it was British fantasy NOT like Pullman or Rowling. I thought that this was a pretty confusing way to show it! Truth be told, I had no idea that it was of British origin, and wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t read the letter. I think that on subsequent printings of this book, they ought to drop the whole thing. Or to label it a literary work in the tradition of CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien, and avoided the “fantasy” label all together. I really think that they should include the letter that was written to us in the book. It really added a lot of information about the author and his intentions, and it does the book and the author a disservice not to include it.
Second – I think I’ve decided on my millennial view. I’m a Panmillenialist. You know, “it will all pan out however God chooses to do it…” Like I said before, I’m more concerned about Christ’s original trip to Earth, rather than his second (or third?) coming. I do have to say that the view that Walley took in the book worked wonderfully to allow him to write the book that he did. In the wake of the giant Left Behind series, it’s nice to see a work of fiction that explores other theories. Truthfully, I kind of resent that whole “left behind” idea. I have distinct memories of watching “A Theif in the Night” and A Distant Thunder and being petrified that I would be left behind, and have my head chopped off. I think I probably had nightmares about it. I don’t know what my father was thinking, allowing me to watch this movie series… but yeah. Since I’ve become an adult, it makes me angry to see people use such serious scare tactics to manipulate people into making a profession of faith. I think that people should be introduced to Christ in the most positive light possible, not in a “if you don’t become a Christian then you will go to Hell and burn”. Fire insurance shouldn’t be the main motivating factor for salvation.
Third – So we’ve decided there are a few things that we don’t like about the book. The cover isn’t great. We don’t like the reference to CS Lewis and JRR Tolkein. Some of the dialogue is so sweet it gives you cavities. The pick up is slow until over 100 pages in. And I’m sure there were other complaints. I do want to defend the book. It’s so nice to have a science fiction book that a non-rocket scientist can understand. I really liked this book for that reason. I also really like the premise and the writing, once the action began (I’m an action sort of girl, I apologize). I thought that the subtlety of the invading evil was ingenious, and that the enemies were chilling. I enjoyed the fact that we could understand that things were Evil and Depraved and Horrible, without having to go into scene after scene of gore or an incredible amount of description over all of the evil acts that were going on in the book. I appreciated the fact that I can lend this book out to any person I know, and not be concerned about whether I’m going to offend them (well, in a “wow, there’s a lot of sex and violence in this book” kind of way). I also think that even though the book isn’t marketed at young people, I would be upset if I found my 14 year old daughter reading it.
I just wanted to put it out there, that the book is really quite good. It has its faults, as all books do, but the good things about the book definitely outweigh all the bad stuff.
Please remember to visit the other participants on the blog tour, as well as Chris Walley’s official site and blog. All the links for this can be found on my sidebar.