This is day 2 in a 3 day review of the novel THE SHADOW LAMP by Stephen Lawhead. The fourth book in Stephen’s mind-bending, time-blending, and space-rending five part series which will conclude next year with THE FATAL TREE. I’m not sure anyone can wait!
MY THOUGHTS ON THE PLOT AND CHARACTERS
This books plot advanced the story in many different ways …
First, each of our supposed villains (Lord Burleigh and Douglas Flinders-Petrie) receive proper come-uppances … one of them more than once! This was not only informative, but fun to watch.
It also raises a fascinating question … are these two redeemable? Is it even remotely possible that they could join forces with Kit, Mina, and the others to solve the immense threat facing the universe?
For me, one of the fun things was to see Kit coming into his own as he begins a romance with Cass, the American. This was a long-hoped for part of the plot since his relationship with Mina fell apart in book 1.
Also, Kit is the one who makes a critical discovery at the end of this book. What it means, I can only guess (the key to interpreting the Skin Map? A way to unlock the Bone House? Lots of possibilities here…)
Thus Kit’s continued role as the one who “figures it all out” justifies his choice as the primary character in book 1 and throughout the series. He may have been clueless at the beginning, but he is swiftly becoming the one who may just solve all the riddles, with the help of the others, of course.
I also find significance, not in the name “Kit”, but in his full first name—Christopher—which means “Christ Bearer”. Did Lawhead choose this on purpose.
On the philosophical side, I did have a possible issue with the science behind the discovery by the Zetetic Society. (***SPOILERS IN NEXT PARAGRAPH***)
If indeed people on Earth have just now observed that the universe is now contracting … doesn’t the laws of the speed of light dictate that this phenomena happened a long time ago? And if so, it’s probably too late to do anything about it. Or am I missing something?
But even this is a minor quibble, and didn’t subtract from the enjoyment of the novel.
The only other thing I could think of is that a little more foreshadowing of this issue in the first three books would have helped. Again, a minor point.
As with the other books, I really like Lawhead’s modern emulation of an older style of writing. That along with the “torn page” look makes these novels quite the classics.
Also, I wanted to point out one VERY masterful piece of writing. I won’t say where this occurs in the novel, and I’m going to cut it off early, not only because its a long passage, but so as not to give anything away. I found this to be amazing prose. Even then this is a spoiler of sorts, so if you haven’t read the novel, you may want to skip it. Also, there may be typos below … I’m retyping this rather fast!
As she spoke these words, time seemed to pause. Its relentless headlong race slowed, the brief duration of a moment lengthened and protracted to a leisurely, lingering dawdle. Kit watched the colour slowly ebb from Mrs. Peelstick’s face, ruddy flesh bleaching bydegrees to the pallor of old parchment. Her eyes grew round and wide in apprehension, and the tray in her hands wavered, wobbled, and at last began to unbalance.
The glasses on the board jiggled and, as the tray tilted from horizontal, the large flowered teapot began to slide—slowly at first, but as friction gave way the heavy container slewed sideways across the surface of the board, contacting the glasses in its path, knocking them down, scattering them like bowling pins. The rolling glasses reached the edge, slammed into the shallow side rail, bounced against it and, driven by the oncoming mass of the teapot, were forced over the side, first one and then another until all were spinning through the air in free fall.
The passage goes on in splendiferous detail for another two pages of destruction. Wow! And if you’ve read the novel … did you catch the metaphor here? The similarity between what has just happened and what the Zetetic Society has discovered? Very, very cool!
What am I giving away? A FREE COPY of THE SHADOW LAMP. Not only that, but I have requested a signed book-plate that I will attach to the novel before I send it out. (The only gotcha is that you have to wait for the book-plate to arrive from Stephen.)
To be entered into this give-away, you must solve THREE RIDDLES! One on this blog post, one on yesterday’s, and one more on the final one!
Today’s riddle is to convert the following QR-Code to text and then finish the sentence.
Note: If you don’t have a QR Code Reader on your cell phone, you might be able to find a “QR CODE READER ONLINE”. Hint-hint! If you need the URL to the QR Code image, here it is:
Your answer will be an eleven word phrase, the last word of which you must provide by finishing the sentence.
Once you have the phrase, email it to me through the following contact form.
Once all the entries are in I will hold a random drawing for the winner, so stay tuned!
THE OTHER TOUR MEMBERS
Make sure you visit the other tour members’ websits to read more reviews of THE SHADOW LAMP!