The argument raged—symbolism or substance. Should we use allusions to familiar Biblical and theological truths, or should we be overt and forthright to avoid any chance that someone might miss an important lesson?
How do people learn best?
In my usual fence-sitting style, I agreed with both. I said, “I think it depends on who is reading. Some people don’t respond well to being preached at all the time. Others almost feel deceived when truths are disguised and left for us to dig out of the ore of our words.”
I often say that I don’t like preachiness in fiction. By that, I mean that I don’t enjoy sermonizing. Fantasy can be phenomenal about doing that—taking an entire sermon and dressing it in costume, putting it on the stage of the pages, and allowing it to act out truth without shouting it into your head.
It’s why I requested several fantasy books this year. When The Arrow Bringer came up and it, too was described as Narniaesque, I had to give it a shot. So, I requested a review copy. I just didn’t realize it would come due at approximately the same time as two others.
Is Symbolic Fantasy the Best Way to Captivate Readers
The Arrow Bringer is classic in the sense of being symbolic fantasy. You easily see the parallels of people in the Bible, of events in Scripture, and even of themes and attitudes. In a world where reading the Bible itself tends to be seen as boring or confusing, showing the truths of Scripture through almost allegorical scenes helps clarify and enlighten—not to mention, entertain.
Written for a YA audience, the book unfolds, written in first-person/present-tense. My very least favorite style. I want to say that it didn’t bother me, but it did. In fact, the further into the book I got, the harder it became to ignore it.
Look, the story was absolutely awesome.
The characters were equally engaging and interesting. I loved every bit of those things. My favorite bits were when Evie spent time with the Arrow Bringer and Justus. Somehow the preachiness that I expected in those scenes didn’t show up. Instead, they were just enjoyable imaginings of what it would be like to walk physically with Jesus. Who wouldn’t love that?
However, there were things I did not enjoy. Aside from the aforementioned writing POV/tense, I found much of the story too “on the nose” for me. I’d really be enjoying things, and then something would be put there in glaring black and white—almost as if the author didn’t trust me as the reader to “get” what she meant. Add to that the occasional stilted conversation—also often too “on the nose”—and there were definitely problems.
There weren’t, however, serious editing/typo issues.
All in all, I’d considered this an “okay” book right up until this moment. But then I realized that I want to read the next one. I’m actually pretty eager to. So that tells me I liked it a whole lot more than I thought.
Recommended for lovers of fantasy, Narnia, and other books woven together with symbolism and spiritual truth.
This book is on tour with Celebrate Lit.
Links on this post may be affiliate links for which I receive compensation from the owner of the website.
About the Book
Book: The Arrow Bringer
Author: Lisa Mayer
Genre: Allegorical Fantasy
Release Date: March 19, 2019
Evie could’ve saved Aletheia. Now it might be too late.
Evie Lewis has just been diagnosed with leukemia at sixteen. Then, a powerful being called the Arrow Bringer offers her a choice: spend her last days in peace or save Aletheia. She stays.
But then Shawn Lawrence—the closest person she has to a friend—goes in her place. Now Evie must save Shawn and race to fix her mistake as a shadow falls over Aletheia. Even as leukemia consumes her body, a new enemy and more imminent perils pursue her. And she must endure all and save Aletheia while keeping her darkest secret: that it’s all her fault.
About the Author
Lisa Mayer recognizes, far better than most, the power of words. She also understands that what people need to know about Jesus is that His love is unconditional, His mercy is unending… and that there are no lengths to how far He’ll go to save His people.
Jesus melted Lisa’s hard heart through words. Now, she hopes to use her words to do the same for others. She loves Jesus and His people, and you won’t find a judgmental bone in her body. She lives in Indiana with her husband, Rich, and her furbaby, Scooby, loves writing, and in her free time, you’ll find her curled up in her superhero pajamas binge-watching her favorite movies and TV shows.
More from Lisa
The Lamp Post
The inspiration to write a book often starts with a dream. Mine started with a lamp post.
I had no idea that after watching The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in December 2005 my life would never be the same. From that moment, I read every Narnia and C.S. Lewis book I could get my hands on. I searched for Narnia in every wardrobe and ended up finding it deep within my heart… and that’s when I knew I wanted to write a modern Christian-fantasy series inspired by Narnia. And the first book of The Aletheian Journeys came to life—The Arrow Bringer.
I’d like to say that my first draft was pure magic.
But my journey was only beginning, and I had a lot to learn. Writing is an art and requires the patience of a sculptor. I began with a large block of marble and a vision, and then sculpted away until I discovered the beauty underneath.
In truth, it wasn’t just the writing in and of itself that makes The Arrow Bringer special to me. It’s about what The Arrow Bringer reflects—that as I became a better writer, in a way I also became a better person. I learned who I am and accepted myself, my characters taught me to be strong, and I fell more in love with Jesus.
Don’t get me wrong. I want The Arrow Bringer (and the six following novels in The Aletheian Journeys) to make it—make an impact, make a difference, make straight His paths. C.S. Lewis changed the world with Narnia. Anyone who reads it knows what it is to love Aslan better here by knowing him first in Narnia. And yet all of us still hunger for something that we can’t explain—and that is Jesus Christ.
At its heart, The Arrow Bringer is a love story.
The story of the love of the Arrow Bringer for this people, for friends and family struggling to save Aletheia, and a story of love between us and Jesus. The story is meant to inspire, to bring hope, and to remind you of how much you matter. I sincerely hope, with all my heart, that you will find the Arrow Bringer not only in Aletheia… but in every chapter of your life.
It wasn’t just my writing journey that began with a lamp post… but my journey with Christ. By coming further up and further in, I found more than I ever could have dreamed. I hope the spark from that lamp post will fuel The Arrow Bringer, honoring the legacy of C.S. Lewis, and inspiring a new generation. Within The Arrow Bringer, I hope you’ll find joy, romance, friendship, and adventure. Most of all, I hope you discover that Jesus’ mercy has no end… and He loves you far more than you could ever imagine.
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 19
Stephanie’s Life of Determination, March 20
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 21
Multifarious, March 22
Texas Book-aholic, March 23
janicesbookreviews, March 24
A Reader’s Brain, March 25
Inklings and notions, March 26
Aryn The Libraryan, March 27
The Becca Files, March 28
Through the Fire Blogs, March 29
Artistic Nobody, March 30 (Spotlight)
Real World Bible Study, March 31
Just the Write Escape, April 1
To celebrate her tour, Lisa is giving away a grand prize of a Narnia gift basket that includes a signed copy of The Aletheian Journeys: The Arrow Bringer, the entire The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe on Blu-ray and a movie companion booklet, and two of Lisa R Mayer’s favorite Narnia reflection books in pristine condition from her personal collection: The Heart of the Chronicles of Narnia: Knowing God Here By Finding Him There by Thomas Williams and Believing in Narnia: A Kid’s Guide to Unlocking Secret Symbols of Faith in C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia by Natalie Gillespie!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/ddeb/the-arrow-bringer-celebration-tour-giveaway