CSFF Blog Tour – Eye Of The Sword, Day 1

Take a look at the cover of Eye of the Sword by Karyn Henley. To me it shouts FANTASY! I mean, eye of the sword? Swords don’t have eyes. And look at that character. Long hair, decked out in armor, leather gauntlets–all quite old world or other world.

On the inside, just behind the title page is a MAP! At once, I decided I was in love. I mean, what’s a fantasy without a good map. And this is a good one. But there’s more. Behind the map is a cast of characters. That says “EPIC” to me. I mean, any story that has enough characters to necessitate a list of them to remind you who’s who, in case you might accidentally lose track, has to have a fairly broad scope.

At this point I’ll admit I checked my enthusiasm. The book isn’t thick, so I did a quick check of the page length. Two hundred thirty-three. I’ve read fantasies that are more than twice that size. Was this book being pretentious? I mean, would such a slender volume really necessitate a glossary?

I glanced at the cover again. At the top: “Angeleon Circle, Book Two.” So the cast of characters encompasses an earlier book. Pretentious concern alleviated. But … larger concern, confirmed by another glance at the cast of characters. This book is about angels.

Generally speaking, I don’t like stories that feature angels. They so rarely live up to the Biblical record or else they are flat and unrealistic. Except, I read a terrific angel story earlier this year.

Besides, if I tell concerned readers that wizards such as those in Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are imaginative creatures, not the historical and very real beings the Bible warns against, shouldn’t I be willing to consider angels in the same vein? Must they be real in stories? Reluctantly, I set that concern aside and forged ahead.

How happy I am that I did so! A few pages in, and I was engrossed in this story. I’ll give my full review later in the tour, but for now, I wanted to elaborate a little on fantasy angels.

Granted, I haven’t talked to Ms. Henley about this. I should have taken up her offer to do an interview, but since I didn’t I’m left to surmise what she intended. (At her web site she has a page on Angelology which confirms my conclusions, however.) There is so much inventive material in this story, I have to believe the angels of the Angeleon Circle are equally inventive.

First, the map I mentioned shows readers a wholly other world made up of three kingdoms: Eldarra, The Dregmoors, and Camrithia. In this imaginative world, readers learn that a once-existent stairway to heaven has been closed, cutting off a group of angels from returning. Yes, there is a hint of Jacob’s dream of angels in that element, but in the Angeleon Circle, the stairway to heaven emanated from the Wisdom Tree which has been destroyed. This is not Biblical fiction! These angels–not fallen ones–live like men and intermarry with humans. They are trapped, after all, in the Three Kingdoms world.

At any rate, I treated the various types of angels in Eye of the Sword as purely pretend beings, not intended to show readers what real angels are like. As such, I enjoyed the story immensely and could focus on what was happening and what the theme was saying.

Mine is but one view. See what other participating members of the CSFF Blog Tour are saying. Note, the check marks below link to
articles that have been posted featuring Eye of the Sword.

8 Comments

  1. Very eloquent (and interesting) explanation of how you were able to enjoy this book. Definitely something to think about!

    • Thanks, Julie. That’s what I like about this tour–what others say about the book gets us to consider things we wouldn’t have by simply reading and writing a review.

      Becky

  2. This doesn’t really relate to this post, but you comment about wizards in Harry Potter and LOTR made me curious. I’m a teenage bookworm/writer, and my parents have always held a strong stand against magic, wizards, etc. in literature and movies. (Dragons, too, when I was a kid. I never understood that one, since even the Bible says fire-breathing dragons were real. Although I don’t think my parents knew that when I was younger.) The only exception I can think of is Narnia, which my family adores, but that was because it’s an allegory. Since I’ve gotten older, my parents have allowed me to make more personal decisions regarding what I read. (In other words, I’m allowed to read stuff I wasn’t used to, because they want me to use my own judgement with it.) However, LOTR was *just* allowed – for me and the oldest of my brothers only – and HP is still a no-no.

    All that to say, I’m curious about what you said regarding wizards as fictitious creatures vs. the real ones of the Bible (the Biblical stand against witchcraft is the basis for our family’s rules). Is there a post you’ve written on that which I could read?

  3. Emily, your parents sound like they are wise. They’ve obviously taught you their values. Now they are giving you the opportunity to exercise your discernment. Your question shows that you’re doing that, not just parroting what you’ve been taught.

    Just so you know, I was raised in a similar way, though several generations ago. ;-) As I came to consider what I believed and why, I realized I agreed with my parents’ worldview but not always their implementation of it.

    That being said, I do not want to undermine what your parents taught you about witchcraft. The Bible clearly stands against human activity that tries to draw power from the spirit world. This is the basis for many people opposing Harry Potter.

    As you suspected, I have addressed this subject here on several occasions. Here are two of the more detailed posts: “Harry, Harry, Harry,” and “Vampires and Angels – 2.” By the way, the link in that article to a post I wrote at Spec Faith is no longer viable. Spec Faith moved location. You can now find “C. S. Lewis and Sub-creation” at the new site.

    Hope this helps, and feel free to ask questions over anything if you’d like further clarification.

    Becky

    • Thanks for the links! I definitely understand what you’re saying now. I’d have to say that, while I’ve never been personally interested in HP or LOTR books, I no longer see a Biblical problem with reading them.

  4. Oh, this book looks and sounds great!

  5. I’m a little pickier about my high fantasy–as I mention in my first post, I have certain tropes I like, and certain tropes I dislike. This story didn’t feature any of my favorites aspects, and so I dubbed it a good read, but not a keeper. However, you do a great job of articulating the your opinion, and it gave me a fresh perspective on the book.

  6. [...] Eye of the Sword by Karyn Henley, is one of the more controversial ones in some time. How are we to understand angels? Is the book Christian? These are big questions for fantasy readers and Christians. In so many ways [...]


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