The Curse Of The Spider King — Day 1

THE BOOK: Seven teenagers. Portals to another world. Ghoulish assassins.

ITS CREATION: Two co-authors. Virtual collaboration through the internet. Devilishly difficult plot lines.

MY REACTION: Two Thumbs up. A book that opens up a make-believe world. Skin crawling on my back.

curse-of-the-spider-king[1]

That about sums up THE CURSE OF THE SPIDER KING (COTSK), a new novel written by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper. COTSK is the November book for the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour.

But before I get into the guts of my review, I have two confessions.

CONFESSION #1: Out of fairness, I am supposed to notify you, my loyal blog readers, that I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers so that I can review it on my blog.

But I REALLY don’t NEED to tell you this, because the actual copy that I read was not given free. My son had lent out that copy to a friend, and I read the copy that he had purchased. Yes, that’s right … this book is so good we purchased another copy, which my son is planning on giving away to earn points for his tribe, which leads me to…

CONFESSION #2: The “tribe” that my son and daughter are on is part of Wayne and Christopher’s “get the word out genius marketing campaign”, and I have to admit … I’m in the same tribe too! Yes, yours truly is part of the NightWing Tribe that Jacob Parker started.

We believe so strongly in this book (and the AUTHORS!) that we are helping put together a book trailer to promote it, as well as programming a flash-based web advertisement/game for the book. Okay, so there you have it: I’m not impartial! HAH!

WHAT’S THE PLOT OF COTSK?

The seven Elf-Lords of the world of Allyra are dead at the hands of the Spider King. But their seven children still live … on earth, hidden amongst adopted families. Protected by an ancient curse that would befall any who slay them, assassins are standing ready to kill them on their thirteenth birthday when the curse ends.

But elven guardians are waiting in the wings to swoop in, protect them, and take them back to Allyra where they can help defeat the Spider King.

This is a classic struggle between good and evil, with the odds seemingly stacked in evil’s favor, which makes for an exciting read.

SO HOW WELL IS COTSK WRITTEN?

One of the great things about this book—and I know it’s been said elsewhere—is that it turns the typical “portal fantasy” on its head. Instead of having children from this world visit another world, here the fantasy world invades our world.

This is incredibly creative! It makes the story very immediate, very relatable, and, I would say, scarier.

Before I became a Christian at age 15, I used to play many different “role playing games”, which I quickly, and wisely, rejected as I clung to Christ and he began his work of sanctification in me.

The freakiest and scariest one I ever played was “Call of Cthulu” (no recommendation here, folks!) based on H. P. Lovecraft’s writings. I realized later that the reason this game was so scary is that it was so close to “real life”. The monsters were here, in our world. When the game ended, the feelings didn’t go away because I was “still” in that world.

This was the same feeling I had while reading COTSK.

The monsters are here. One scene in particular scared me incredibly (the first time that a teenager Elven-Lord and his guardians attempt to go through a portal back to Allyra) Why? Because it was set in one of the scariest places you can place ANY scene in the modern world—an abandoned, decrepit insane asylum. Wow did my skin crawl. Wayne and Christopher wrote this scene masterfully.

Also, I must say that the authors attempted—and succeeded at—a very challenging plot. To write from the perspectives of seven different characters and their guardians was incredibly difficult, but they did it successfully. No, we don’t get into any of their worlds enough to *really* know them deeply, but I do feel like I cared for what happened to them, and that is the main goal of characterization. Way to go, guys!

WHO WILL LIKE COTSK?

This is one of the more excellent young adult novels that I have ever read. Not only do the dynamic duo of Wayne “Batman” and Christopher “Robin” ** pull this book off with flying colors, but they have laid the groundwork for a series of novels that promises to be a set of classics.

** (okay, I had to add that, you Winnie-The-Pooh and Batman fans)

So young adults from say, nine on up, will absolutely rave about this book. And adults will as well. I can’t imagine an adult reading this book and not liking it immensely. That may be my bias, but if you take it for what it is, there is a lot to like here.

WHERE CAN YOU BUY COTSK?

Amazon, of course! I’m sure ChristianBook.com has it as well. And word has it that you’ll probably be able to find it in your local Borders and Barnes & Noble bookstores. Oh, and the Christian bookstores will probably have it, too. Okay, so you can probably purchase it anywhere—so just go and get it!

And if you like it as much as I do, you may just want to join one of the tribes to help promote it. Go to Heed The Prophecies to find out more.

TOMORROW

Come back tomorrow for Day 2, where I cover a few nit-picks I have about the book. Yes, despite my glowing review here, even COTSK can be improved upon. Just don’t expect tomorrow’s post to be very long. So there.

On day three, I’m going to cover the spiritual content of the book, so come on back, you hear!

Endurance and Victory!

CSFF Blog Tour

OH!, and check out the other tour members blogs:

Brandon Barr
Justin Boyer
Amy Browning
Valerie Comer
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Shane Deal
Jeff Draper
Emmalyn Edwards
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Todd Michael Greene
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Tina Kulesa
Melissa Lockcuff
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirtika
Nissa
John W. Otte
Cara Powers
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Speculative Faith
Robert Treskillard
Fred Warren
Jason Waguespac
Phyllis Wheeler
Jill Williamson
KM Wilsher
JOIN THE BATTLE!
Keep informed about the latest news and events for The Merlin Spiral and the upcoming Pendragon Spiral!

8 thoughts on “The Curse Of The Spider King — Day 1

  • Wayne — Glad you stopped by! That is amazing you actually visited an abandoned insane asylum. Wow. Nothing like a real life “haunted house” to scare the Jesus into you!

    Jason — Keep reading … hopefully I didn’t spoil anything for you. I thought I had another week, but I remembered just in time to cram it in. That pun was originally unintentional. When I saw “Chris Robin” on the page, I realized I could improve it!

    Shane — Thanks for visiting! Hopefully I’ll get time tomorrow or Wednesday to cruise around the other blogs in the tour, and if so, I’ll stop by yours.

    OH!!! I just realized that Batman’s real name is “Bruce Wayne” — yet another connection!

  • Wow! Excellent review. Very exciting.

    It’s funny because I too thought we had another week until last week. Oops.

    I’ll definitely be coming back for tomorrow and Wednesday. And probably outside the tour too.

  • Thanks Robert! I got so excited reading your intro, I actually forgot it was my book! That, or I’m just delirious from pushing myself to meet our Wednesday deadline for book 2 of the series. Is it warm in here? I didn’t ask for cantaloupe. Where’s who’s cousin? ch:

  • Amy — I think Thanksgiving pushed it a week earlier than normal. A good reason, that! Thanks for stopping by.

    Chris — I’ve never written a novel under a deadline, so I’m not sue what that’s like, although I have been up all night doing research papers. I’ll pray for you!

    -Robert

  • Hey, Robert, great review. I did the strengths today and will do the lesser lights tomorrow, but I realized I have more strengths to talk about. This is one good start to a series that promises to be as deep as it is entertaining.

    As to the tour date–we tour the third full week of the month. Since November 1 fell on a Sunday, the tour was as early as it will ever be. But if it had not been so, we probably would have moved it because of Thanksgiving here in the US.

    Becky

  • Rebecca — I agree that the strong points outweigh the holes. Do you know how many books they are planning on writing for this series? And thanks for the clarification on the tour date.

    Jill — Thanks for stopping by!

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