Monday, November 11, 2013

The Shadow Lamp by Stephen Lawhead - CSFF Blog Tour

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!

Julie Bihn
Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Thomas Fletcher Booher
Beckie Burnham
Jeff Chapman
Karri Compton
Theresa Dunlap
April Erwin
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Becky Jesse
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Rebekah Loper
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirriam Neal
Writer Rani
Nathan Reimer
Chawna Schroeder
Jojo Sutis
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Rachel Wyant
Phyllis Wheeler
Deborah Wilson

*In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book.


  1. These books are more like one very long novel in five volumes than five related but separate books. I've been reading these as they come out every year. I wonder how much different the experience will be for someone reading them one after another without the 12 month waiting period? Will they find parts of the story tedious and repetitive?

    1. Good point. I assume the point isn't to repeat TOO much--surely author and editor both realize that people will be reading the entire series straight through in the future--but you're probably right that there is some extra repetition by design.

  2. These books remind me of certain Sci-fi shows where they keep jumping back and forth through time (especially Star Trek and the first 2 Stargate series) and they'd get caught up in alternate time-line/dimensions where they spilled into one. Always a big mess, but so much fun trying to figure out.

    Thanks for sharing.


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