Friday, June 10, 2016

Friday Fiction Fix: "The Book of Names"

The Short:

The Book of Names
Legends of Karac Tor, Book 1

By: D. Barkley Briggs

5/5 Stars (And on the favorite series shelf)

What: Two brothers are sucked into a strange world where good and evil are tangible and old legends find new life.

Recommended to those who like: Christian, Fantasy, Teen and up, Sword Fights

The (Really) Long:

This series is partially responsible for the creation of this blog. I was so excited when I found this book in the Christian book section at the store. It had some good characters, great action, interesting world building, mentioned King Arthur, and was like a teenage-geared Chronicles of Narnia (sort of).

It was everything I had been looking for. Granted, my teen self didn't have as much of a problem with occasional head-hopping or a few line-editing errors, so I didn't really notice that. What I saw was a story that spoke to me.

The release date on the next book was approaching rapidly and I looked for the next book every time I went to the store.

Only to find out that the series had been discontinued by the publisher.

How could they do this? Why? How could anyone not like this story? It was one of the few times I came close to being "angsty" in my teenage years. (Another publisher that was a better fit for the story picked it up relatively recently, which resolved the angst).

Thus, the idea that more people should like Christian fantasy so that I could read more of it. (Mwahaha, now you see that my evil plan is working!)

*Ahem*. Enough with the long monologue there.

Natural disasters, demonic forces, and disappearing teenagers threaten to tear Karac Tor apart at the seams, especially without a king.

The Barlows' world has been turned upside down over the last few months after the death of their mother and a cross-country move. The last thing they expected was to be sucked into the politics of a dying kingdom.

This is a loose, somewhat gritty allegory that still makes me think when I read it. The writing alternates between poetic and clunky, but the story still makes it up for me, personally. The worldbuilding is fantastic. It took me a few books to really like the characters, but I love them now (I'm on book 4 of 5).

The Bottom Line: I would recommend this book to those looking for an epic fantasy read with strong good vs. evil themes and who are willing to overlook the occasional passage of less-than-ideal writing.

Do you have any books that you adore in spite of the writing style? 

Have any of your favorite series been cancelled?


  1. Agh, I can't stand when they cancel a series like that. And we're all left hanging off a cliff edge. BUT that's awesome that another publisher picked it up. It does sound like a great book!

    I also really like Lawhead's The Raven King. I've not read the last book yet though because they are sooo long. That's the qualm I have with Lawhead's writing. It's good and even beautiful, but he's not known for brevity. XD Also, I still love The Trophy Chase Trilogy although I recognize that it does have head hopping.

    Awesome post! This sounds like a really good series.

    1. I think I saw that series in the library, but I was looking for a shorter read at the time. It looks really good! (Adds to TBR list).

      Let me know what you think if you ever get around to the series! Thanks for the comment!

  2. None of the book series I like have ever been cancelled, but I am sad about the discontinuation of the TV series Firefly, which was cancelled after the first season. And (I'm answering your questions in reverse order...) when I re-read The Hunger Games last year, I realized that the writing actually isn't all that great, but I still love the story.

    I might have to check out The Book of Names since you recommend it so highly! I'm always on the lookout for good Christian fantasy.

    1. As mentioned, take my recommendation with a grain of salt--this is one of those books I do have a bit of an emotional attachment to, so some of that leaks through in my review. Also, it does "feel" dark, so I don't know how you feel about that. It's quite similar to The Last Battle in some ways.

      Ah, Firefly. I just started watching it a while back, but I'm only about halfway through it because I'm afraid I'll like it too much and then it's going to end. So I'm procrastinating the inevitable, if that makes sense.

      Hunger Games is such a fast read! The writing might not be "spectacular" by conventional standards, but it does have the ability to suck you right in. In some ways, I think that's just as important.

      Thanks for the comment! (And we'll just pretend that it was secretly reverse order day).


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