CSFF Blog Tour – Beckon by Tom Pawlik, Day 2

Stephen King lite? Creepy suspense thriller? A story in the tradition of Tuck Everlasting? These and more are the things CSFF Blog Tour participants are saying about Beckon by Tom Pawlik.

But those aren’t quite all the same, are they. So who is right? Is the book too violent or only mildly gruesome?

This book offers a perfect example of how an author and his readers are working in tandem. The author has the responsibility of “speaking” clearly, and the reader then hears what he wants to hear.

Not that the reader intentionally distorts the author’s ideas or vision for his story, but each reader brings his own reading history, his own personal history, and his own set of beliefs to every piece of literature.

As a Christian who believes discernment involves seeing how things in our culture measure against Scripture, I approach what I read with an eye to truth, including spiritual truth. Someone else can pick up the same story with the intent to lose himself for a few hours in the adrenaline pumping thrills of a fast-paced adventure. What each of us “gets out” of the story, then, is bound to be affected by the expectations we brought with us when we turned to page one.

Someone who thinks that Beckon is a mild form of heavy-duty fear-inducing stories most likely has read a good number of Stephen King books, with perhaps a dose of Dean Koontz thrown in for good measure.

On the other hand, another reader more accustom to fairytale style fantasy might find Beckon a dark story filled with tension and suspense that never lets up.

For someone like me who doesn’t enjoy being scared, and thus who rarely reads stories with a high element of fright connected to them, Beckon pushes the envelop of the tolerable.

The point is this. When readers look for recommendations about books, it’s important for them to learn the bent of the individuals passing along their opinions. That’s not to say reviewers can’t be fair. But what frightens one may not frighten another. What touches one may repulse another. What keeps one turning pages as fast as can be might bore another.

It’s the rare book that can bridge the gap of people’s expectations and experiences and find a wide range of readers.

I commented in yesterday’s post that I wouldn’t call Beckon a horror story but that it had horrific moments which I was willing to tolerate. Someone else who loves fast action might tolerate the slower moments that established character. A third someone not interested in faith elements might tolerate the scenes that explore death and the morality of life everlasting.

A book like Beckon seems to be one of those bridge books–one that readers with varied expectations can enjoy. But don’t take my word for it. Read what others on the tour are saying. You can find links to specific articles at the bottom of the Day 1 post.

Before you go, though, take a moment if you would, to participate in a poll about the change in reading habits in the last few years: “Change and the Books You Read.”

Thanks bunches.

Published in: on May 22, 2012 at 5:39 pm  Comments (4)  
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  1. I think Stephen King lite is a good way to put it. Beckon didn’t give me the creeps so much because the evil/antagonist was fairly easy to pin down. No demons swirling around whispering in peoples’ ears or anything. That’s when I tend to get freaked out.


  2. “On the other hand, another reader more accustom to fairytale style fantasy might find Beckon a dark story filled with tension and suspense that never lets up.” –I thought Blogger didn’t publish my review until I got home and saw it hadn’t published? LOL. That’s pretty much me. (Though I like tension and suspense. It’s body counts that I don’t like.)


  3. I thought it was a good old-fashioned science fiction adventure tale. I didn’t find it ‘too creepy’ and I didn’t take offense at the body count, since I didn’t find the deaths emotionally wrenching as I did some of those at the end of the Harry Potter series.

    (I’m going through the list of fellow blog tourers and commenting on each blog today, just to see if I can do it…)


  4. Ha! Julie, Jessica, Nissa, I think your three comments illustrate the point of this post. Each of you has a little different take based on what your reading experience/preferences are. And yet it appears all three of you liked this book. That says a lot, I think.

    Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment.



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