Author: Thomas Locke
Series: Legends of the Realm #1
Audience: Young Adult
~ MY REIVEW ~
Emissary, book one in the LEGENDS OF THE REALM series, is one of those novels that is just hard to rate. Hard to know what you think of it. On one hand, it was quite superb storytelling. On the other hand, it had some issues that I'm not sure I can overlook.
So I've read some of Thomas Locke's (T. Davis Bunn's) other works, and have enjoyed them a lot. Mainly historicals co-written with Janette Oke. I suppose I assumed he is a Christian, especially since Revell is the publisher. Not that I'm saying he's not - far from it. But Emissary definitely lacks a Christian aspect.
Fantasy without a Christian allegory. It's a bit tricky. I understand that that would be what Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit would be classified as ... and I've been okay with them so far, knowing J.R.R. Tolkien was a Christian man. But Emissary was a little more uncertain for me.
One, was the violence. There were some violent scenes that were really unneeded in my opinion. (But I suppose you can only expect that with guys). However, some of the violent scenes seemed to focus on our main character, Hyam's, power, and how he is able to create havoc ... without really thinking about the consequences. Maybe that's not how the author meant it to come across; but I was uncomfortable with a few parts like that. Also, there were some other scenes that made me cringe. I can see the allegory within them, but the violence was just a bit much for me.
Two, the magic. Wizards, and orbs, and power currents running through the ground. Hmm ... it's a hard one. I guess its a fine line. Is the "magic", the "special abilities" a gift; or is it just some unknown power deep within a person or the earth that has to be tapped into? Emissary kind of came across as the latter, and it was weird. Didn't God make everything? Isn't He in control of everything? So if the power isn't coming from God, than who/what is it coming from? The earth holds no power of its own - it is creation. So is the power coming from Satan then? I don't know. That's just what runs through my head.
Thomas Locke mentioned on his blog that his inspiration for the power currents within the ground to be tapped into were from native American legends and such. (http://tlocke.com/blog/qa-with-thomas...) I'm inclined to believe that any supernatural kind of power not from God, must be from darker forces.
But yes, fantasy is different than real life. In a lot of ways. But the same in a lot of ways too. So I remain very uncertain.
Beyond my doubts, Emissary is quite the stunning novel. The beginning, I must say, was quite slow for me. And a bit confusing. But at about page 100 or so, it became quite captivating, and I was pulled into this fantastical tale. I very much enjoyed the elves, I must say! *smiles*
I think the deal with the crimson mage could have been expounded on a bit more. But I suppose that might come in the second book.
***SPOILER ALERT*** I did NOT like how Hyam's lady love orders, basically, that they get married, when he hasn't even spoken of the issue. It was strange to me. I believe the man should pursue the woman, you know. So, Emissary also kind of had that "women power" feel. I don't understand why. But it just did a little. ***SPOILER ALERT ENDS***
Despite my complaints, Emissary really was a fascinating novel once I got into it. A masterful story overall. I can't recommend it, because of the issues I touched on (mostly the strain of magic), but it was a well-written, very interesting tale.
I enjoy T. Davis Bunn's books, and question his decision to go into fantasy ... under a pen name, and without a Christian aspect. Does he want to write a best-selling fantasy? Or did he just desire to write fantasy with more subtle allegories. I don't know. Good, but not great for me. I have yet to decide if I will finish this series.
I received a free copy of Emissary from Revell publishers in exchange for my honest review.