Monday, February 18, 2008

The Shadow & Night

The Shadow & Night is a futuristic space-world fantasy which begins in the year 13851—an era resembling a sort of peace reign when sin is curiously almost non-existent. That is, until something evil yet nebulous, creeps in and puts the dampers on the whole planet (or Made World) called Farholme.

Farholme is home to Merral, our key character who finds himself caught up in a great drama—trying to discover what this evil presence is that causes people to do such terrible things such as lying. (As I mentioned before, we find ourselves in an almost sinless world where Christ’s Spirit rules and people willingly yield to Him in worshipful surrender.)

The book projects us into the future with a curious perfume of the past—of old noble times when friendship courting replaced dating. For example, courting takes place in a controlled framework. Merral is “courting” Isabel, but needs his parents’ permission to commit to her. Meanwhile, their relationship is more like a close brother and sister (something which I personally advocate in preference to today’s relationship madness, but that’s another story). I’m tempted to divulge what happens with this pair, and where it leads but I don’t want to spoil your fun. Suffice it to say that the romantic element is pleasantly suspenseful.

The characters are colorfully portrayed, although their minimal struggle with sin renders them a tad bland at times. Still we recognize stereotype penchants which bring the personalities alive. Anya, for example, bubbles with life, wit and intelligence. Vero—whose name I find curious since Vero means “truth” in Italian—is a sentinel from Old Earth and seems to reflect that genteel, noble-type of temperament, which is not what I’d expect for someone whose job a sort of spy to find out what’s going wrong on Farholme.

The backdrop for the story is a universe of many Made Worlds formed by seeding ships and terraforming with Space Gates separating them from other planets, and all connected by the Assembly of Worlds, an organization which has ruled the galaxy in perfect peace since the early 22nd Century.

This book is the first in the trilogy The Lamb Among The Stars series. (Curiously this first book of some 600 pages is actually two books combined. Still there are two more volumes that follow this.)

Get your copy of The Shadow and Night here: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1414313276 .
Or, check out the author’s site here: http://www.chriswalley.net/

Check out some of my fellow bloggers to read their review of this book:
Brandon Barr
Jim Black
Justin Boyer
Grace Bridges
Jackie Castle
Carol Bruce Collett
Valerie Comer
CSFF Blog Tour
Gene Curtis
D. G. D. Davidson
Chris Deanne
Janey DeMeo
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Marcus Goodyear
Rebecca Grabill
Jill Hart
Katie Hart
Michael Heald
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Heather R. Hunt
Jason Joyner
Kait
Carol Keen
Mike Lynch
Margaret
Rachel Marks
Shannon McNear
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirtika or Mir's Here
Pamela Morrisson
Eve Nielsen
John W. Otte
John Ottinger
Deena Peterson
Rachelle
Steve Rice
Ashley Rutherford
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Rachelle Sperling
Donna Swanson
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Robert Treskillard
Jason Waguespac
Laura Williams
Timothy Wise

Would I recommend The Shadow & Night? Certainly, to all who enjoy fantasy and space worlds with defined characters. Criticism? Well, although I’m not a plot-oriented reader and enjoy description, I found the overall momentum of the book a little slow. But perhaps you won’t. Other than that, I had a grammatical peeve. I kept coming across the word “round” in places where I think it should be “around”. But again, perhaps that’s me, the Brit in me!

Janey L. DeMeo M.A.
Copyright©February 2008

8 comments:

LoonyMom said...

It seems you and I had a similar response to the book. It was a fun read, wasn't it?

I have to say, while I found Anya bubbly and full of life, I mostly wanted to smack her upside the head. I don't know what Merral saw in her, but I sure wasn't seeing it! (I guess that proves I was interacting with the characters, yes?)

Did you find the dialog odd in places? At some points it clipped along nicely; at others it sounded like androids had overtaken the character's bodies. Contractions dropped out and their individual voices were lost. Strange, that.

My own comments can be found here.
Dratted blogger unwilling to let me comment via wordpress. ;)

Janey DeMeo said...

I agree with your comment, loonymom. I'll hop over and read more of your riview.

Christopher Hopper said...

Well said, Janey.

I look forward to your comments, Loonymoon. In my "comments not worth noting because they're too nit-picky" section of my notes, I put that the dialog was sometimes devoid of heartfelt authenticity, like saying "Amen!" in places where I'm not sure I would (being too distraught). Perhaps they are better people than me. Or where things seemed to ramble on without much context as to why.

But loved this book and recommend it all around.

CH

Kait said...

CH, I tried to convince myself that the "amen"ing and such was to show how "pure" the society was, and to contrast it with the apathy that comes later.

Then again, I'm not an Amen kind of person, at all... so it all seemed awkward and forced to me.

John (Grasping for the Wind) said...

The first book is slow, I agree, but Walley promised me in our interview that the action picks up a great deal in the next two books. He was laying groundwork, I think.

Personally, I thought the dialogue wooden on occasion, but in a way it was more like how we as Christians should speak. You know, more carefully and with attention to what we are actually saying versus what we mean.

Janey DeMeo said...

Christopher, John, Kait. Yes, I agree with y'all on your comments. In my blog I mentioned that the book gives a feel of ye olde world. I think that's because of the way they speak -- very cautiously, not carelessly -- sort of reminiscent of Jane Eyre or such.

CH, hope you got my comment about France. Louis & I would love to connect with you about this. We'll be there again ourselves in April.

blessings fellow bloggers.
j

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

Janey, wonderful interaction with the book, as is evident with the comments. You've obviously hit on an issue others noticed. Interesting that these things--slow start, dialogue not always realistic--don't seem to hinder our enjoyment of the story. Hmmm. More to think about with that one.

Becky

pixydust said...

Seems like it's a consensus with this one. Slow start but well worth it.

Great interaction with the book!