Throne of Bones (Vox Day)

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I had several “hooks” by which I wanted to introduce this review.  As I couldn’t decide on one, I decided in good Michael Scott fashion to use all of them.  What does this book evoke?

  • Imagine if Warcraft II were actually a good novel?
  • Imagine Game of Thrones without the nihilism and torture porn.

It is modeled after A Song of Fire and Ice in several ways.  There is the theme of civil war.  Further, each chapter is from a character’s point of view.   It even has the “medieval” overlay to it.  But whereas  GoT uses medievalism to show how ugly it is (and how ugly life is), Vox Day uses it to tell a story.  What a novel (no pun intended) idea.

I’ll avoid all the mindless platitudes with which new fantasy novelists are showered.  No, he isn’t the next Tolkien.  Tolkien’s females don’t exist below the next.  That brings up the sex element.  On one hand he avoids the pornography that characterizes GoT. That’s good.  On the other hand, his characters, especially the married ones, have sex.  It’s not pornographic, but it is a bit more than simply implied.

While there is a Christian overlay to the novel, it isn’t a perfectly moral society.  The legions have their “camp followers,” with all of the (literal and metaphorical) baggage they bring. Other characters are either pagan or becoming so.  All of these point to something that transcends GoT: you can illustrate the sin in the world without becoming nihilistic. Redemption is still possible.

There were also some neat moments.  Readers of my blog will know exactly what Vox is getting at by his reference to the “Watchers.”

Is the book perfect?  No.  I will use Vox Day’s own rubrics in a final analysis. A novel has four aspects. Let’s see how Vox holds up:

Prose: it’s pretty good. I didn’t catch any real howlers.  It moved the story without distracting from it.  There was only one part where the pronouns could have been replaced by the characters. It was a sword fight and I had no idea who was fighting whom.  8/10.

Plot: I now see the strength in making each chapter focus on a character.  It forces numerous story-arcs, carrying with it a natural suspense.10/10.

Characters: None of them are perfect, but all of them are compelling–even the “bad” guys are compelling (and this lets him steal back one of GoT‘s strengths).  The only one that perhaps stretches it is Marcus.  He talks like an encyclopedia or a seminary student. I know, I know.  He was a seminary student.  I get it.  9/10.

Ideas: These are big ideas.  You have a world of multiple races: elves, dwarves, orcs, humans.  He’s not simply ripping off Warcraft, though.  He only hints at the dark magic of the Witchkings in this novel.

Enoch Primordial

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The second book in the Nephilim Chronicles is a sort of prequel.  Here are my thoughts, both what is good about the book and what needs to be developed.

The Good

His scope and vision is awe-inspiring.   He has laid the foundation for a biblical epic.  Granted, I don’t think it will get there, but still.  It’s a start.

He does a decent job in character development.  Not quite as sharp and profound as how he treated Noah in the previous novel, but still decent and better than most.

The novel moves at a sharp pace, and he does a good job of building suspense.

Needs to be developed

The dialogue between Methuselah and Edna grated somewhat.  The rest of the dialogue was okay.

The novel also risked “preaching” a bit. I have as militant a hatred of socialism and big, yet there were passages that seemed plucked from Milton Friedman.

The series is still worth reading, aside from these points.

 

Review: The Fall of Lucifer

The good:

A beautiful description of heaven. Sure, there is a lot of poetic license, but it stirs up godly and reverent thoughts in the reader (Revelation 4:1ff). When it comes to contemplating the glories of heaven, it’s best to err on the side of excess.

Good emphasis on the legal binding nature of Adam’s covenant. I doubt Wendy Alec has ever heard of the covenant of works, but the essence of it is there.

The Strange:
+Shaitan is not identical with Lucifer (162ff), though the narrative does have Lucifer assuming the title of “Satan” later on (185).

Problems:

~The second person of the Trinity is called “Christos” with reference to eternity past. Christos (or ha-Meshiach) makes more sense as a title with regard to Israel’s salvation history. It would be better if Alec had named him Logos or Debar. This isn’t a huge problem, but it is annoying.

~~There is the repeated them that angels have to prove their loyalty every season. I don’t see the biblical evidence for this. In fact, given the certainty of angelic warfare in Revelation, which is the end of history, it would appear that this loyalty is a given.  I also think there are metaphysical reasons why she is wrong on this point.  As angels do not exist in time (except in appearing in earth), they don’t have to develop habits, so they are “locked in.”

~~~The author has confused the “First” and “Third” heavens. She sees the “First” heaven as God’s dimension of reality and the “Third” heaven as the atmosphere. This is backwards. The “Third” heaven is the paradisal home. The first heaven is the atmosphere. The Second is Lucifer’s kingdom (“prince of the power of the air”).

~~~~ The author rightly affirms the Trinity, yet doesn’t have the best doctrine of God. She speaks of “Yehovah grieving,” which, admittedly, matches up with a number of biblical texts, yet no one really wants to assign perturbations to the Divine Essence.

The writing is choppy at times (though I think it gets better in the following volumes) and the plot is somewhat predictable, yet it was a fun read.