Friday, July 30, 2010

A Review of The Wolf of Tebron; Book 1 (The Gates of Heaven Series)

In "The Wolf of Tebron" the author, C. S. Lakin, seeks to impart a message of faith to the readers by weaving a tale that takes the hero of the story, Joran, on a journey to the four corners of the earth in an effort to rescue his lost love, Charris. Along the way Joran happens across a powerful wolf who joins him on his journey. 

"The Wolf of Tebron" seems to fall short on several key elements of good story telling. Though intended for teen audiences, the writing shifts uncomfortably from overly-simplistic to overly-intellectual, so much so that it will likely go beyond the grasp of an average reader. Combine that with weak character development and a shallow plot and "The Wolf of Tebron" makes for a tedious read. 

From the beginning the characters don't have enough substance to really form a connection with the reader. In his quest, Joran must find his missing wife and rescue her from the villain, the Moon. However, readers never meet the wife initially nor are they given enough information about her to make the readers connect with or feel concerned about her well-being. As a husband, Joran's character fails to give the appearance of being a mature adult with solid family responsibilities. 

After the wolf, Ruyah, formally joins the quest things don't improve much. As a companion, the wolf's dialogue is weak, especially when compared to the wolf's true nature as it is later revealed. The book is confusingly labeled as a fairy tale for teen readers. Most of the dialogue between Joran and his animal acquaintances, Ruyah and Byrp, is more suited for much younger readers while dialogue between Joran and Sola, the mother of the Sun, goes over even Joran's head. 

The story drags in places giving the reader plenty of time to wonder why they should care about Joran and his wife at all. When not conversing with Ruyah, Joran spends much of his time mentally torturing himself with second-guessing and regret. Although the story's message is clearly one of hope and forgiveness, the journey itself isn't as enjoyable. 

*Note: This reader was provided with an advanced copy. Read more reviews here.

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