Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Skin Map - Day 3

All good things, as they say, must come to an end. Why, I don't know. It's just what "they" say. So, alas, this marks the final day of the CSFF Blog Tour for Stephen R. Lawhead's new novel, The Skin Map, first in the Bright Empires series.

Sometimes, the final day of a tour is for discussing the things I didn't like about a particular book. Well, just doing that would make this a very short post indeed.

The one thing that dampened the reading experience was the mention, by Cosimo, of evolution as if it were fact. This occurred early on in the book, when he was telling Kit about cave lions, the creatures used by the Burley Men. I am one of those Christians who doesn't believe that the theory of evolution can coexist with biblical Christianity. It's not considered intelligent to reject evolutionary theory as valid science, but I'm not interested in other people's opinions of my intelligence, and I might question whether or not they remember some of their basic school science i.e. the laws of thermodynamics, which present obstacles to the theory. (Just a reminder: laws trump theories.)

A literary aside: The word evolution means change, and is generally used to denote change for the better, just as progress is also often used as a positive word, even though progress is really just movement forward along a particular line, whether going in such a direction is good or bad. While writing or reading, we take the word out of its neutral state and assign it positive or negative connotations. That's what I love about language, how symbols (letters) are assigned sounds, how those sounds are strung into words, and how words can express ideas, those speechless things that dwell in our minds. How cool is that?

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

The Skin Map is an enjoyable read, easy to follow, intriguing, humorous, and just downright fun.

My intelligence wasn't insulted by over-explaining; ever read those books where you're talking to the page, "Yeah, yeah, I get it. Move on"? This is not one of those.

Some readers have found the storyline hard to comprehend, because it moves from one time to another and there is more than one set of characters to follow, but that was not a problem for me. The characters may end up in various places in time, but their story is always moving forward. As Kit says early in the book, easy peasy.

As for the issue of messing with history by changing it, well, that is addressed, too, as is the idea of whether or not it's possible for the characters to move forward in time. Although the intellectual side of me is interested in those questions, the little-kid-dreaming-of-adventure side of me doesn't really care. Remember those halcyon days of youth when anything was possible, and the more outlandish the tale, the better you liked it? The Skin Map works, I think, because Lawhead handles the wildly impossible as if it were absolutely possible, and he does it with excellent craft. Readers can trust the storyteller to not only tell a great tale, but tell it well.

I highly recommend this book. For other reviews, click here to access a list of more stops on the tour.

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


Toyin O. said...

Sounds like a great book, thansk for sharing.

Keanan Brand said...

Toyin: Thanks for stopping by!