The Wolf of Tebron by C.S. Lakin (Book 1 Gates of Heaven Series)
Publisher: AMG Publishers/Living Ink Books
Genre: Youth fantsy fiction, Christian fiction (??)
Paperback, 248 pages
Book Source: Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists
My Rating: 85/100
About the book:
Following in the footsteps of fantasy greats like J. K. Rowling, C. S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lakin tackles the ancient struggle of good versus evil in her multi-part “Gates of Heaven” series. The first installment, The Wolf of Tebron, follows a young blacksmith’s journey to rescue his wife who is held captive by evil forces. During his travels, Joran befriends a powerful wolf who encourages, protects, and sacrifices his life to save his human friend. An allegory of God’s unconditional love, The Wolf of Tebron features quotes from the Bible and famous thinkers such as G. K. Chesterton, and relies on biblical messages of hope, faith, and redemption to drive the stories and characters.
Joran is a happy little blacksmith until one day he has an argument with his wife Charris, and subsequently kicks her out of the house, sending her to visit her family in another village over the mountains. Only Charris doesn't make it there. She disappears along the way, and it is up to Joran to figure out what happened. Joran begins to have dreams of Charris, being locked up in a castle, guarded by the Moon. Then an odd woman from the village speaks in riddles to Joran. Joran is thoroughly confused and missing Charris.
Joran sets out to travel the same route as Charris, and early on befriends a wolf, named Ruyah. Ruyah decides to accompany Joran on his journey to find his wife, wherever it may take him. The pair decide they must journey to the Moon for answers, followed shortly thereafter by journeys to the Sun and the Wind. Surely these powerful forces or beings can offer some assistance! Those riddles come back to haunt Joran, and he realizes he must solve them if he is ever to find Charris.
The story was interesting, but it soon became repetitive and boring. Joran complains like a child the whole time. He totally annoyed me and I honestly don't believe he deserves Charris. Ruyah, the wolf on the other hand was my favorite. Although some of his advice along the way required some thought, overall I enjoyed the wolf's character and his end of the conversations.
This title is considered Christian and youth fantasy fiction. The Christian themes I understood easily, but Joran's behavior seemed extremely childish and young, so I'm not sure what ages youth is supposed to encompass. For as childish as Joran's behavior was, again some of the advice dispensed by the wolf was on the adult side of things.
This book is compared to some quite prolific writers, like Rowling and Tolkien, but I would hesitate to put them in the same boat. I've read both and I don't believe this title is as well developed as the other two. The battle of good versus evil is present, but that's about it. Therefore, I am on the fence with this one. There is certainly something good here, but it needs some oomph. Although, could my feelings of meh be because the intended audience is much younger than me? Not sure.
So that's why I went with a middle B grade, because there were some aspects I enjoyed such as the characters of the Sun, Moon, and Wind, but the journey in between...not so much.
For more information about the author, please visit her main website and also the Gates of Heaven site.
Thanks to Lindsay from Phenix & Phenix for my ARC.
2010 Challenges Met: 100+
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