Wednesday, January 5, 2011

CSFF Blog Tour: The Wolf of Tebron by C.S. Lakin- My Review

The CSFF Blog Tour is featuring The Wolf of Tebron by C.S. Lakin this month. On Monday, I posted a brief warning about where not to read the book’s description. Today, I’ll be posting my review of the book. I just finished reading it tonight, so everything is pretty fresh in my mind and I may still be mulling over how I feel about the story as I write this.

For those of you who missed my Monday post, here’s my favorite description of the book (taken from the back cover copy):

Joran dreams of living a simple life as a blacksmith in his forested village of Tebron. But when his wife, Charris, disappears in a whisk of magic, his dream shatters as he is forced to go on a perilous journey to the ends of the world to rescue her. The goose woman tells him he must solve the riddle of the three keys, and will wear out three pairs of shoes before he battles the Moon—who has trapped Charris in a sand castle perched above the sea.

Dismayed and fearful, Joran sets out alone, but along the way finds unlikely companionship in a wolf named Ruyah, who becomes his guide and trusted friend. In true fairy-tale tradition, Joran must face daunting challenges—within and without—in order to bring Charris safely home.

My favorite thing about this book is Ruyah, the wolf. I love wolves and I love loyal characters. Ruyah is both of these things, so I had a great time reading about him. He is a beautiful picture of patience, wisdom, protection, faithfulness, and love. Joran could not have asked for a better companion.

I also enjoyed the author’s descriptions of the fantastical places that Joran and Ruyah visited. I could feel the strangeness of one, the peace of another, the beauty and mystery of another, the oppressiveness of another, and the desperation and urgency of yet another. She did a great job of conveying each place’s flavor, and her descriptions seemed to fit perfectly. For example, I would picture the Moon’s house much like she described it. No detail seemed out of place or missing in the picture she wove.

There was one thing that bothered me while reading the book. Ruyah often quotes the sayings of wolves, but these sayings are actually taken from people like C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton. A few other characters also quote famous people. I wish that the author had written the ideas in her own words, or had even written them so that they were in terms that a wolf would use when Ruyah said them. I think that would have been a nice touch. For me, reading the quotes was occasionally frustrating because they sounded so familiar or because I could identify them immediately. Even if I didn't know where I knew them from, I knew that they were from somewhere else. It was like being repeatedly pulled out of the story and into our world. It might not be that way for people who wouldn't recognize the quotes, but it bothered me. One of the many reasons that I read is to find a new way of looking at something. I wish that the concepts in the quotes had been reworded so that I would have been forced to look at the familiar ones anew.

The book provided a clear picture of what things like anger can do to a person and to a life. I liked how it showed the spiritual side of that in a tangible way. It’s a very important warning to all of us about letting anger and other negative emotions take root in our lives. I also liked the way it showed what it required for Joran to overcome each of the negative influences in his life and to “loose the three keys.” Each of those moments was depicted in powerful, beautifully triumphant scenes.

I look forward to reading the next book in The Gates of Heavens series. It should be a wonderful read.

If you're interested in reading more about The Wolf of Tebron, you can check out C.S. Lakin's website or her blog. Also, please take a moment to visit the other blogs participating in the CSFF Blog Tour:

Noah Arsenault
Amy Bissell
Red Bissell
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Jeff Chapman
Christian Fiction Book Reviews
Carol Bruce Collett
Valerie Comer
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
April Erwin
Andrea Graham
Nikole Hahn
Katie Hart
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Dawn King
Shannon McDermott
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
John W. Otte
Chawna Schroeder
Tammy Shelnut
Kathleen Smith
James Somers
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler

Enjoy the adventure!

Becca Johnson


Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

It was like being repeatedly pulled out of the story and into our world.

That's how I felt, too, Becca. Same with the mention of music, science, lines of nursery rhymes, verses from the Bible. There was a lot that kept pulling me out of the world. At times I'd think, Is this supposed to be taking place in our world?


Becca Johnson said...

Exactly. I remember wondering several times where it all was supposed to be happening. I even went in search of a map at one point in the hope that one would clear things up. Alas, there was no map. :P

Julie J. said...

I enjoyed your review. I'm ready for March to have the next book as well! :)

Becca Johnson said...

Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)