Wednesday, November 13, 2013
This month, the CSFF Blog Tour is featuring The Shadow Lamp by Stephen R. Lawhead. The Shadow Lamp is the fourth book in the Bright Empires series. You can read my reviews of the three previous books by following these links: The Skin Map, The Bone House, and The Spirit Well.
The books in the Bright Empires series center around the themes of ley lines, travel across space and time, and a search for a legendary map that leads to a great, mysterious treasure. The Shadow Lamp adds to these the race to save reality, giving even more epic proportions to the entire story.
The Shadow Lamp is my favorite book in the series so far. Everything's gaining momentum as the series nears its end, and all of the characters are deepening with their newest experiences or with revelations about their past. I like the new characters that have been introduced or expanded upon, especially Cass. I also appreciate that Lawhead is not afraid to have his characters talk about huge, philosophical and scientific ideas without dumbing it down. I enjoyed reading those sections.
What has always excited me most about this series is how many historical places it explores. I love history, so it's fun to get to visit so many different times and places in one book. Lawhead brings each one to life with his vivid descriptions. I recently saw a picture of Old Town Square in Prague and discovered that it looked very close to how I'd pictured it while reading these books. I get excited every time the characters travel to a new place because I can't wait to be transported to yet another beautiful, fascinating time or world.
The only complaint I can make about the book is that sometimes there'd be a recap of information that I'd just read a chapter or two before. The time this most stood out to me was near the end of the book, where a chapter in Kit's perspective spent at least a page reviewing what had happened and been discovered very recently. There hadn't been enough time between the sections of that thread of the story to forget what had last happened, so I found the recap tedious. That was the only thing that bothered me in the book, though, and thankfully it only happened a handful of times.
Lawhead's treatment of time travel has given me a lot of respect for him. He has been careful to make sure that all the events in the story work together and that there are no weird, circular timelines. I'd normally be apprehensive about the resolution of what has been revealed to be a big problem near the end of The Shadow Lamp, but Lawhead has earned my trust. I think he has the ability to bring the series to a satisfying end that makes sense in the next book, The Fatal Tree, and I can't wait to see how he does it.
In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
If you're interested in reading more about The Shadow Lamp, please visit these other blogs featuring the book:
Thomas Clayton Booher
Thomas Fletcher Booher
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Rachel Starr Thomson