Julie for the CSFF Blog Tour!
This week we're talking about The Shadow Lamp by Stephen R. Lawhead (Facebook). Time got away from me here (oh dear; that might be a pun!) so I haven't finished reading yet. God willing, review should be Tuesday (or worst case, Wednesday).
I'll say right now I found this book more difficult to get into than the others in the series. Likewise, a friend of mine is reading the first book in the series, The Skin Map, and is also having trouble getting into it. Her problems are with the point-of-view shifts, which I think are almost impossible to avoid in a series as complex as this one.
I'm not sure what my problem is, but I suspect some of the difficulty is actually in knowing TOO MUCH. I actually read the second book of the series, The Bone House, before I read Book 3 (The Spirit Well). Only then did I go I went back and read Book 1 (The Skin Map).
Though the first pages of each book have a brief explanation of what transpired before, it's generally recommended to read the books in order so you're not lost. But I suspect I found The Bone House so fascinating in part because I was being thrown into the middle of the action. Then belatedly reading The Skin Map was a treat, seeing in effect the "backstory" of these characters.
Unfortunately, in The Shadow Lamp, I feel like there are relatively long stretches where characters are meeting and introducing each other and sharing their backstories (for the benefit of the other characters, but just as much for the reader). So even though I admittedly could sorely use a refresher myself, the beginning was slow for me because there was a certain amount of explanation.
In other words, it's a saga about traveling through time and space, and I suspect I may have enjoyed it more because I read it out of order!
The story has definitely picked up for me (I'm on page 270 now), so we'll see what happens. I hope I walk away loving it as much as I loved the first three.
But anyway, from a writer's standpoint, I think it's key not to give away too much in your writing. Sometimes the most fun for a reader is to piece things together.
Here are the tour participants!
Thomas Clayton Booher
Thomas Fletcher Booher
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Rachel Starr Thomson
*In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book.