Author: C.S. Lakin
Published By: AMG Publishers
Date Published: October 27, 2011
Genre: Fantasy, Fable, Parable
Recommended Age: Older teens/adults
Reviewed By: Joanna Celeste, www.notionsofagirl.wordpress.com
Received Book Free for Review Thru NetGalley
Twelve-year-old Jadiel must venture forth to lands unknown in search of the elusive leaves of a mythical tree, returning home with a satchel’s worth before the moon is full again, or her father shall die.
Woodworking apprentice Callen (probably about eighteen) has set out to find a bridge that spans across a land where there is no visible water, a “suspension bridge” that is drawn on ancient scripts but that has not been seen by anyone alive. His curiosity about the design drives him to find out more, and he sets out on an adventure that becomes more than he bargained for.
Callen comes across Jadiel in his travels and—with help from many unexpected friends—they seek out the answers that will ultimately change their lives.
This is part of the “Gates of Heaven” series inspired by Scripture, and it includes a discussion guide and references to the specific quotes borrowed from Scripture.
Joanna Celeste's Thoughts:
I am not familiar with Scripture; I know common knowledge and stories only, so I am not familiar with the market this is geared towards (Christian fantasy). However, as I read, I sensed aspects of The Chronicles of Narnia with allusion to Scripture, aspects of Aesop’s fables in the personification of animals, and Snow White references with a beautiful stepdaughter hunted by a wicked witch of a stepmother, each with magical mirrors that illuminated truths. This story was steeped in allegory and sometimes I understood it, other times I didn’t (the appendix was helpful in that regard.)
In the style of the fantasy genre, The Land of Darkness is rich with sensory details (too much for me, at first, but then I also got impatient with The Lord of the Rings). A quarter of the way through the book, I fell into the rhythm of Lakin’s style and enjoyed the world she invoked with her vivid descriptions.
The characterization of the begger/prophet Ebed fascinated me. Lakin found aspects of Scripture that could be universal truths, potentially found in other religions and spiritual works, and couched them in familiar settings.
The Land of Darkness was sometimes hard to read (for someone like me, unfamiliar with Scripture) but I enjoyed it and am intrigued to read more of the series. It’s an interesting introduction to Scripture and would be great for Sunday school discussions.
Language: None that I recall.
Adult Content: Inspired by Scripture and involves a retelling of the Crucifixion. (The author wrote: “My fairy tales are for adults or older teens”.)
Violence: Fairy-tale/Biblical violence: Murder, pools of blood, bodies crumbling to dust, and graphic-but-brief description of men tortured and of the Crucifixion.