TOS Crew: Foundlings from Zoe and Sozo Publishing

This is one of those reviews that is difficult to write, because I really wanted to be wildly enthusiastic about this book. We are fans of fantasy, and it’s hard to find well-written books that suit our taste (meaning: good, clean, with a clear distinction between good and evil, and where evil is not graphically described but sensitively handled; you get the idea of the evil involved without glorifying that evil through gratuitous detail. I know. It’s a tall order).

We’ve found a few. I won’t detail them here, but if you really want to know, leave a comment and I’ll email you a list of some of our favorites.

Foundlings, Book One of The Peleg Chronicles shows promise. It meets most of our criteria in the “taste” department. The evil portrayed was occasionally a little too graphic for our (somewhat sheltered) taste. A lot of Scripture is quoted, to fit the context of the story. The hero is a follower of the God of Noah.

The book is set in the days after the division of the earth, following the Tower of Babel, which is why God of the Old and New Testaments is referred to as the God of Noah. After all, they didn’t have the New Testament back then, much less the Old. A bit of name-dropping goes on (for example, Job is mentioned as if he’s an acquaintance or something of a celebrity) but the main characters in the story come from the author’s imagination, so that he doesn’t have to deal with putting words in the mouths of Biblical figures.

The author tries to imagine what the world must have been like in those old days. It’s an interesting vision. Some of it works for us, and some of it stretches our credulity a little too far–every time I read a very Scottish name in the story, I mentally get thrown out of the plot and start looking around for William Wallace or Robert the Bruce. I can understand the author’s point, but it doesn’t help me to get comfortably immersed in the reading.

The last third or so of the book gallops to an exciting conclusion, ending in a cliffhanger that leaves you wanting to know what happens next. (Good thing there’s a sequel.) The first two-thirds of the book were hard to get through, even for our most avid reader.

As I said, the author shows promise. I really wish this could be a glowing review. I have read glowing reviews of this book, by people praising the exciting adventure with its upright hero and liberal use of Scripture, its basis in Genesis, its moral tone.

One of the first lessons I learned about writing is that you learn to write by writing. Consistent, regular writing teaches priceless lessons about character development, description, plot, dialogue, pace, timing, and more. I’ve heard that writing conferences, where you have a chance to discuss your work with an editor, are also wonderful learning experiences (I haven’t been to one, yet, so this is hearsay, and yet it makes sense). Meeting regularly with a group of fellow writers to critique each others’ work is invaluable, and if at least a few members of the group have a good grasp of their craft, the critique sessions will tighten and transform your writing into something that can amaze even you.

You can see the author’s skill progress as you work your way through Foundlings. There are flashes of brilliance from the start, and they come more often as you progress, until (as I mentioned) by the end the story is galloping along and pulling you with it. This bodes well for future books, though I have to warn you that you (or your avid reader-child) may have to work hard at reading, to get to the point in this book where it finally hooks you.

Foundlings: Book 1 of the Peleg Chronicles is available for $11.95 at the author’s website. You can also get it through Amazon.com and other booksellers.

Read more TOS Homeschool Crew opinions of this book here.

Disclaimer: Members of the TOS Homeschool Crew received a free copy of this book for review purposes. Opinions expressed here are those of our family. No monetary compensation was involved in the writing of this review.

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