Shade – November CSFF Tour, Day 2

john-b-olson-tinyThe CSFF Blog Tour feature, Shade (B&H Publishing), “isn’t your grandma’s prairie romance,” according to author John Olson in an interview over at Title Trakk earlier this year.

Dr. Olson goes on to say:

There’s more going on beneath the surface than even the most brilliant reader will be able to pick up on, and it could very well be frustrating to readers who are used to having their stories served to them in nice bite-sized chunks. I’m not just nervous about it’s release; I’m chew-my-fingernails-up-to-my-elbows terrified.

So what, I can’t help wondering, did I miss? I surmise that there are undercurrents swirling around the villain—called Mulo (vampire) yet taking the form of a man named Sabazios Vladu. The first name is the same as a Phrygian sky father god.

That would tie in with one of the other characters who goes by Athena, though her real name is Athalia, closely related to Athaliah, an exceedingly wicked queen of Judah (daughter of Ahab, she had all of her grandsons killed so she could take the throne—except one escaped, a boy named Joash).

Then we have Melchi, short for Melchizedek, a type of Christ because he was the prophet/priest/king Abraham encountered, which the writer of the book of Hebrews explained. Or what about Hailey Maniates? Her last name is the same as a group of Greeks known as fearless warriors. A number of historical and mythical stories are connected to them.

And that’s just the names of the main players. There are some occasional characters that have obvious import that has yet to be developed such as Blaise (a reference to Saint Blaise?) with the rainbow mohawk hair (rainbow hair? The John 3:16 guy who used to hold up signs at football games?)

There are also the intriguing epigraphs from Milton and Bram Stoker, the passages from Paradise Lost with Melchi’s notes, and the list of authors Sabazios revered.

Tip of the iceberg, I suspect, given what Dr. Olson said about the work. I can’t help but wonder if having so many subtle or obscure references adds to a work. Some, to be sure, made me wonder. Why, for instance, was the main character named after a figure who was a type of Christ? It was interesting that he seemed to have an Old Testament faith until near the end and that he was willing to make a sacrifice for someone he loved.

But do those things cause me to care about the character more? And isn’t that essential for a story to really grab a reader and stay with him?

OK, tomorrow my review. But what did everyone else think? Check out the posts by these CSFF participants:

Brandon Barr
Jennifer Bogart
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
√√ Kathy Brasby
√√ Valerie Comer
Karri Compton (not on the original list posted at CSFF)
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson (not on the original list posted at CSFF)
Janey DeMeo
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Todd Michael Greene
Katie Hart
Joleen Howell
Jason Isbell
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen (not on the original list posted at CSFF)
Rachel Marks
Shannon McNear (not on the original list posted at CSFF)
Melissa Meeks
Pam Morrisson (not on the original list posted at CSFF)
Eve Nielsen
√√ John W. Otte
Steve Rice
√√ Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespac
Laura Williams
Timothy Wise

“√” indicates I know a blog post is up.

Published in: on November 18, 2008 at 2:26 pm  Comments (4)  
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