Reviews have been increasing on Amazon for my novel The Light of Eidon ever since the Kindle version came out for free, and last week I found a really cool one, though it’s not at all what you might think. For one thing the reviewer gave it only one star (and probably would’ve given it a zero were that possible):
I hate being tricked into reading about Jesus, June 3, 2010
By M. S. “M.S.” – See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase This review is from: Light of Eidon (Legends of the Guardian-King, Book 1) (Paperback)
This book started out as a decent fantasy novel that dealt with an interesting premise–What if you were a good guy who had been raised by the bad guys? How would you know? If you discovered it were true, how would you move forward? It’s a really cool idea, but the author ruined her own novel by the end.
Pros: The plot was fun and the characters were likable and showed enough development.
Ok Cons: There was a thread of deep sex negativity that ran through the whole book, but it seemed consistent within the universe. A minor point, but many of the character names were so similar that it was difficult to keep them straight. Also, there was a theme of anti-Middle Eastern racism that seemed misinformed rather than malicious, but still made me uncomfortable.
The Bad Con: What completely killed this book for me was getting slammed with Jesus right at the end. I find religion interesting and I’m always pleased when authors think seriously about it in scifi/fantasy novels set in other universes. However, because this book is marketed as fantasy and NOT as Christian literature, I was offended when all of a sudden the main character was converted by a mythical savior who was the only one in the whole universe that could pay the debt of humanity and was killed in order to absolve them of their wretchedness. Seriously? The Bible was already written once. Leave us happily-secular fantasy readers alone. Also, the proselytizing felt forced and jarring and it completely wrecked the otherwise easily flowing plot line.
One of the most offensive parts of the whole thing was the ending discussion, which claimed that those people who resist conversion the hardest are the ones who are somehow the most fated to have religious conversion experiences. It totally disregards the major break the main character made with his family and his culture. His insistence on trying to convert his sister drives the wedge between them deeper. I think destroying a family, whatever its shape, is one of the world’s greatest evils and I will never condone a story that prioritizes selfishness (even religious selfishness) above family. Why should the main character insist that his sister abandon her support network just because he chooses to abandon it himself?
Anyway, to summarize: This is a book about Jesus. If you’re looking for a genuine fantasy novel, look elsewhere. (Emphasis mine)
Awesome! I am so jazzed by this review, first because she got it! With some readers I’m not always so sure. One lady, who was a personal acquaintance, was all excited about Abramm’s journey, but didn’t really seem to understand it was Christian. This reviewer, however, got it without question. Not only that, she more or less put the gospel message into her review!
I was also intrigued by her claim that she had no idea the book was Christian. I could maybe understand if she had read the Kindle version — though even a cursory glance through the information regarding the book on the Amazon page shows that it’s Christian allegory. But she’s reviewing the paperback, one she bought through Amazon. Granted the back cover blurb and the first two endorsements don’t clearly state the story is Christian allegory either, but endorsement number 4 does and is offered by Christianity Today, no less. Those that follow are also clear. Finally the second line of the acknowledgements right before the map leaps into the issue of my faith, so it’s really odd she wouldn’t have seen anything that might have tipped her off. But not an accident.
I am sure that she was indeed “tricked” — by God the Holy Spirit.
Because from what I read of her “other reviews” she doesn’t seem much of a match for the book, and I could not imagine why she’d choose to read it in the first place.
List of other items reviewed by M.S. (with my commentary):
–4 books on learning Arabic, all “excellent”
–a CD supplement to the above, also “excellent and very useful”
–high thread count Egyptian cotton duvet and sheets set, both “excellent”
–a pair of purple pumps, which are “adorable,” but not of made quality materials, and itchy around the trim but still two stars better than reading about Jesus
–a pair of black, 4″ heeled, ultrawide shaft thigh boots, which are a bit wide at the top and too stiff, but “decent boots” nonetheless, and also two stars better than reading about Jesus
–a “wonderful” ergonomic kneeling posture chair
–two different types of perfume, both “fabulous”
–a four-star tabletop, magnifying make-up mirror
–An absolutely wonderful book (five stars) about “the Iranian side of the Iran-Iraq war and the martyrdom culture in Iran. [One which is highly recommended] to anyone who is interested in learning more about the day-to-day reality of Iran”
–some dark brownish red nail polish, and some bluish purple nail polish, both of which are also significantly (4 stars) better than reading about Jesus…
LOL. The most ironic part of all is that she seems to be on a very similar story arc to the one Abramm took in LOE. At least in the sense that she is fighting the truth every bit as fiercely as he did, and yet, clearly being drawn as inexorably as he was. I am praying for this person. I invite my readers to do likewise.
I found this review very funny and interesting. Interesting because she gets the book, and funny because when she did, she was angry with herself for reading it and you for writing it. And just awesome proof that God is the one who brings the truth to people in ways they might never otherwise be willing to hear it. Oh and how the truth offends…
Speaking of how the truth offends, I was particularly amused by this part:
“One of the most offensive parts of the whole thing was the ending discussion, which claimed that those people who resist conversion the hardest are the ones who are somehow the most fated to have religious conversion experiences.”
He does love to confound the wise… 🙂
That was interesting that you snagged some of the other reviews and what she purchased. Makes us shudder to think what info is REALLY out there if people want to use it. Interesting way to paint a picture of a life though… Hmmm…
Today, check out http://seekerville.blogspot.com/2010/06/faith-half-naked-men-and-contest.html
Some of the same subject matter. 🙂
Glad to hear your Mom is progressing!!! Keep the faith, KC
Exactly what I thought, which is why I included that list. It kind of blew me away how much was revealed, just from the purchases and what she said about them. I don’t do reviews on Amazon, myself, but if I did, this might make me stop. Then again, I do have a blog, so if anyone wanted to know about me, all they’d have to do is read it, and they’d get waay more than a purchase list! So I guess I can’t make too big of a fuss about it. 😉
Outstanding!!! I love watching God in action! I also love how you pretty much delighted in this “bad” review. Oh, how God’s perspective differs SO greatly from the world’s. I love your books and always look forward to the next one! Oh and I know that you bless God’s heart by using the gift He gave you for Him.
To God be all glory, honor and praise!
Thanks, Shelly. I appreciate your encouraging words.
This isn’t the first time Christian fiction has received these kinds of reviews, claiming the reviewer felt “tricked.” I was a little amazed at how offended this person was since she had to surmise everything she said. “Jesus” never entered the story, nor did the Middle East.
That she so clearly understood the allegory makes me think she has a working knowledge of Christianity. I think it’s awesome that she now has you praying for her on top of the story rolling around in her head. 😀
I think she saw all that stuff because God is drawing her. It’s all become for her an Issue. One of my Bible teachers long ago said often the people who seem the most reactive and antagonistic are actually very close to believing. Rather than apathy they are grappling with the truths that God the Holy Spirit is bringing to them — truths which often violate all they’ve ever believed and all that the world has so far told them. I recall my own salvation moment clearly and it was not a result of persuasion with words and facts and verses, though all those were present. It was a moment of spiritual clarity, a realization that Jesus was real and present and the birth of a sudden, strong desire to know Him. Volition. The greatest mystery of life.
What an interesting reviewer? Reckon she may care even less for the United States of America than she does for our Lord and Savior. You have to love God’s sense of humor. He puts her in this nation of freedom so she can have her boots and nail polish and embrace Iran. Then for good measure He throws in the prefect book for her to read and complain about. Yes, volition is a great mystery of life. She did read the whole book. Go, Holy Spirit, go!!!
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