Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christian World of the Hobbit - A Review

A Review

Devin Brown argues that The Hobbit is not a Christian book, per se; but, rather, it weaves a Christian worldview into the plot, themes, and characters of the book.  As the book progresses, the characters increasing learn the very lessons that are part of the  believer’s life.

Unlike other authors, Brown does not draw direct parallels between the characters in the Hobbit and God and his foes revealed in Scripture.  Neither does Brown see references to Tolkien’s current world, being written at the end of the Second World War. For Brown, Sauron is not Satan, neither is he Hitler.  Gandalf is not God, nor is he Churchill or Eisenhower. Brown does see God (an “unseen hand”, though never explicitly named) active through the life of Bilbo and all the other characters.  Brown spends most of the first third of the book arguing that the “luck” that the main characters experience is truly the hand of God working in their lives.  

Once that point is made, the author begins to establish parallels, as noted above, between the world of the Hobbit and the world the Christian lives in.  Whether it be Christian growth, the value of wealth, or the struggle choices or temptation, Brown argues that we are presented with a set of Christian values that will speak to both the believer and to the unbeliever.

Brown, as one would expect of a scholar, weaves in the thoughts of other writers as well.  The most well-known of these is C S Lewis, a contemporary and friend of Tolkien.  It would be interesting to have observed a conversations between these to great writers - the one a catholic, the other a protestant.  But both deeply committed to their faith.

This overview of The Hobbit provides a very readable view of one scholars look at the book and its sequels.  It is recommended for anyone who wants to take a second and deeper look at Tolkien’s The Hobbit.
This review is based on a free electronic copy of this book provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.  

Monday, November 26, 2012

Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi - A Review


A Review

I have been enamored with the Star Wars saga since the release of the original movie in 1977.  It was the last movie I remember seeing in a drive-in theater with my wife in a suburb North of Chicago.  Since then, I have each movie exactly once, I have read a number of the books, and, now, I have read two graphic novels based on the epic film series.  

The previous comic, Star Wars: Agent of the Empire - Iron Eclipse, also by John Ostrander, was well done and held my interest.  Sadly, the current book did not do so.  It left me wishing it was over - not because I was enthralled, but because it lacked the holding power of a well-written story.  Even the end of the story left me disappointed - though it did provide a lead in to the next novel in the series.  

The only tie-in to the original movies was a gathering of individuals to a common place in the universe to be trained as a Jedi.  As each individual trained - training that allowed them to find a balance within the force - they moved from “Youngling to Apprentice, from Journeyer to Ranger, and finally to Ranger”.  And as they did, the “Je’daii” grew. That part of the story took about 15% of the books total page count.  The remainder of the book followed a number of trainees as they sought to understand a disturbance in the force.

There seemed to be a disconnect, for this reader, between these distinct parts of the book.  However, this is the first book of a series being planned by Dark Horse Comics.  The ongoing series may have potential as it is developed over time.  

The end of the book does include a one page summary of the Star Wars timeline - showing how other stories and events merge with the six movies that define the Star War universe.  This book takes place thousand of decades before the start of the timeline; with the exception of the Je’daii, there is little connection to the six movies.  Perhaps later stories in the series will make a stronger connection.  
This review is based on a free electronic copy of this book provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Review

This graphics novel involves two familiar characters from the Star War universe - Hans Solo and Chewbacca - and their transportation, the Millenium Falcon.  Realizing I am not an expert when it comes to the Star Wars canon, these were the few connections I saw to the original story line as presented by George Lucas.

However, without worrying about the canon, the comic is well done, the story is exciting, and held the interest of this reader.  The story with Jahan Cross being given an assignment by from the Empire - and an cyborg assistant.  Jahan Cross eventually discovers a devious plot intended to infect all cyborgs with a vicious digital virus that will have all cyborgs working for … well, that is the story, isn’t it.  

Though the cyborg assistant is less than useful, with the help of Hans Solo, Chewbacca, the Millenium Falcon, and his new human assistant, Jahan Cross visits The Eclipse (an exterrestrial spa) on the planet Reltooine.  There, Jahan Cross and his new assistant find the answers they were seeking - but not the ones they wanted to find.  

Though not an expert, I found the story believable and fun.  It would make a great Birthday or Christmas present for a Star Wars fan, young or old.

This review is based on a free electronic copy of this book provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.  

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Reason - A Review

There are some people who touch the lives of others wherever they go. Kenneth was just a construction worker, a carpenter, really. But people changed when he came into their lives. Alex, too, would have an impression on everyone who met this five year old.

Charlie, the gentle giant, Pastor Jim and Shirley Lindys, Zach, Kaitlyn, Massie, Carla, Brook, and Ian, each were touched by Kenneth and Alex. Each would have their faith challenged – if they would “only believe” - when Alex is diagnosed with leukemia. The days he spends in the hospital will tear at their hearts bring emotions that only God can address.

But the book is not about emotions, it focuses on God's presence on both good days and bad days, it focuses on the need to trust Him whatever may come our way. But the book is also a reminder that our best is not always good enough – we cannot do it all.

What we can do is what God has called us to do – that is all that is expected of us. It was a lesson I needed to learn, others will as well.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.