Thursday, April 7, 2011

Review: The Map Across Time

The Map Across Time (The Gates of Heaven - Book 2) by C.S. Lakin


PubBoldlication Date: March 2011
Publisher: Living Ink Books
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy-Tale, Christian Fiction
Pages: Paperback, 432pp
ISBN-13: 9780899578897
ISBN: 0899578896

(Received for review from Phenix & Phenix Publicity)


C.S. Lakin on the WEB: Website, Blog, Facebook, Twitter

Excerpt from The Map Across Time

Synopsis (Book Blurb):

"Heaven is not impressed with power and strength, but favors those with a true heart. Let your heart lead you, Adin, for love is what will drive you and protect you. The solution to all of your troubles lies in your past."

An ancient curse plagues the kingdom of Sherbourne, and unless it is stopped, all will fall to ruin. The king, obsessed with greed, cannot see the danger. His teenage twin children, Aletha and Adin, know the must act. A hermit leads Adin to a magical map that will send him back in time to discover the origin of the curse. Once back, Adin must find the keeper, who protects the gate of heaven, but all he has is a symbol as a clue to guide him. Unbeknown to Adin, Aletha follows her brother, but they both arrive in Sherbourne's past at the precipice of a great war, and there is little time to discover how to counteract the curse.

One unexpected disaster after another forces the twins to make difficult choices. Adin's only hope for saving his kingdom is to return to the future to manipulate events so his quest can succeed. Through his trials and failures, Adin learns that nothing can stop heaven from accomplishing it's goal, and that all events work together for the good of those who trust in heaven. An epic fairy-tale with surprising twists, embracing the enduring power of love and faith.

Thoughts:

Author C.S. Lakin has crafted an undated version of the classic fairy-tale with her new book, The Map Across Time. The second book in The Gates of Heaven series, once again offers readers a blend of fantasy and allegory, focusing on building character and moral fiber. Readers will fall in love with Lakin's smooth style and spiritual insight. This is a tale that transcends time and takes the reader along for the ride.

Twin siblings Aletha and Adin are the Prince and Princess of Sherbourne a kingdom on the brink of destruction due to an ancient curse. With their mother recently dead and their father consumed with greed and paranoia, it's up to the twins to save the kingdom. But they will have to travel across time and defy the odds to reach their goal. Adin, handicapped from birth is hindered but not defeated by his limitations and he quickly learns that he can accomplish anything with faith and love as his guides. Aletha journeys with Adin into the past to see what caused the curse and how they can undo it. They meet many friends along the way, who teach them about what it truly means to believe in something greater than themselves.

The Map Across Time is not only entertaining but filled with wisdom and understanding. Author C.S. Lakin once again gives readers a book that will feed the spirit as well as engage the mind. Fairy-tales have long been used to teach lessons, from the consequences of telling lies (Pinocchio) to not judging a book by it's cover (Beauty & the Beast). Lakin uses this classic format to teach readers that even the least of us can accomplish great things and that every situation has a purpose. Blending fantasy with the real and spiritual worlds seems to be second nature to Lakin. Her use of scripture, allegory and other life lessons lends a sense of honesty and authenticity to her books.

There were many things about this book that I really enjoyed. After reviewing Lakin's first book in the series, The Wolf of Tebron I was excited to receive the latest in the series, The Map Across Time. Lakin once again has created a fictitious world that readers will fall in love with. This book doesn't lack for adventure or intrigue as the twins use a magical map to journey back to Sherbourne in the past to try to figure out the mystery of what's going on in the present world.

I liked the fact that Lakin chose to use a character that had obvious deformities as a main character. Adin doesn't let his limitations limit him and that was very inspiring. I think the author was trying to show that sometimes the weak can confound the strong and the least of these can become the greatest. She also conveyed that everything doesn't always go the way we think it will, but there is always a reason for everything that happens. There were so many things to learn from this book and I thought the author did a great job of bringing it all together.

I was also touched by the fact that Aletha is her brother's strongest supporter. The bond between the two twins is even stronger than the usual twin bonding that we hear so much about. Aletha is Adin's champion, the one who looks out for him but never makes him feel like he is any less of a person because he can't do everything the same way someone else can. I also enjoyed the people and animals they met along the way that helped them complete this quest. There were so many interesting characters that will sure to be one that every reader will enjoy and identify with, for me it was Winston the talking pig.

Lakin has a great affinity for knowing when to and how to use scripture to enhance the story, but not overpower it. Yes, this book has a spiritual basis. Yes, it is meant to teach readers a lesson but it is definitely not preachy. This book in the vein of C.S. Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkein. It's ultimately a tale of fantasy as well as a work of Christian Fiction. The blending of the two is done flawlessly by Lakin and I believe readers will really appreciate the fact that she isn't beating them over the head with it.

I recommend this one to Christian Fiction readers, Fantasy readers, those love fairy-tales and those who are looking for a story that has a little more substance than the average tale.

The Map Across Time is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one a resounding 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!




C.S. Lakin lives in the otherworldly kingdom of California, where she works professionally as a book copy-editor and writing coach (when she is not writing novels). She has two amazing daughters, a dedicated and encouraging husband, a demanding but lovable black lab pup, and three persnickety but irresistible cats. Whenever possible, she disappears for days atop mountain peaks or explores the ocean sixty-feet above the surface. The rest of her life is spent between sea and sky waiting for a city not made by human hands.

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