February CSFF Blog Tour, Day 2/3: The Realms Thereunder, by Ross Lawhead

Day Two Three of the February CSFF Blog Tour…yes, I missed Day Two. Broken promises are yet another item to roll into my list of Lenten repentances. Moving along… 

Let’s Do the Time Warp Again: The Realms Thereunder involves a lot of jumping back and forth in time. Several reviewers, such as Gillian Adams, found this disorienting and would have preferred a more linear approach to the storytelling. Others, particularly those well-acquainted with Stephen R. Lawhead’s tendency to do the same thing (like father, like son?) didn’t mind. Bruce Hennigan thought it worked pretty well, and even better as the story neared its climax. It’s just a jump to the left, and then a step to the right…

The Glories of the Queen’s English: Keenan Brand was nearly moved to tears by Mr. Lawhead’s ability to illuminate even the dreariest corners of the Scottish Highlands with his vibrantly embroidered prose and was inspired to revisit projects of his own that languish on dim, dusty shelves, the corners of their parchment brown and curling, forlorn of hope, bereft, orphaned…get thee to thy garret, sir!

That is, like, SO Deep: Many of our bloggers were impressed by the Big Ideas embedded in this story. Thomas Clayton Booher found a wealth of conversation starters about God, Life, the Universe, and Everything, and his posts cover that aspect of the story in detail.  

And Now For Something Completely Different: Nissa, at The Lina Lamont Fan Club (love that name), has turned our blog tour into a scavenger hunt. Brilliant! She also provides a brief introduction to the Rune Poem, and I, for one, will take all the higher education I can get. I must say I’ve been very impressed with the bounty of erudition (book-larnin’) displayed by our Tour bloggers this month.

Just in From the Twilit Lands: Reviews posted on Amazon.com, that bellwether of literary criticism, are mixed, currently running at about a 3.5 star average (cue screams of horror). The positive reviews are very positive, praising the story’s characterization (Janeen Ippolito digs into some character analysis in her Tour post), well-realized alternate reality (which Jeff Chapman also explored in his post), and effective blending of the rich store of British history and myth (there’s a nice example of this from our own Beckie Burnham, who provides a little historical background to one of the book’s poetic references in her post).

Most of the negative reviews focus on the jumping between times, which people seemed to find very annoying. A few were expecting a different kind of story, perhaps a suspense or mystery tale, and some were just expecting more, given the author’s impressive pedigree and all. Among our tour bloggers, Jason Joyner also noted the challenge of high expectations posed by Mr. Lawhead’s distinguished father, but beyond that, he simply didn’t like the book—the characterizations, narrative point-of-view, voice—nothing “clicked.” I’ve had similar experiences with other books riotously popular with my friends and acquaintances. It doesn’t make them bad stories, by any means, but sometimes a book just doesn’t work for me.

Ah, well, you can’t please everybody.

That’s all I’ve got for this month’s tour. There are many more cogent observations and profound insights to be gleaned from our Tour bloggers, so please do visit their sites (conveniently linked below) and leave a comment if you have the time. Don’t forget about Nissa’s scavenger hunt (she dropped an item here yesterday), and Sarah Sawyer is offering a free copy of The Realms Thereunder to one lucky commenter over the next two weeks.

6 thoughts on “February CSFF Blog Tour, Day 2/3: The Realms Thereunder, by Ross Lawhead

  1. I too found that the book was not quite what I was expecting, but that isn’t a bad thing. Perhaps it’s just a symptom of the way the book was marketed.

    I like your rundown of the various bloggers. Nice collection. 🙂

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Dona. I enjoyed your review. You’re probably right–I saw several reviews from folks who thought it was going to be an entirely different kind of story. Lots of odd things happen in the marketing process, not all of them positive. Sometimes the thread of a story gets lost in the effort to make back-cover copy punchy and exciting.

  2. Thanks for the mention, Fred! That was a great overview of the tour–certainly lots of varied opinions this time around, but that’s what makes the tour so entertaining. 🙂

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