Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Skin Map by Stephen Lawhead- An Honest Review

Two negative reviews in a row is rather discouraging, and I apologize. Please understand that no matter how scathing this review, I am not attacking the author in any way. I'm not attacking anything, simply writing about my observations and opinions of this book. Opinions are just that, opinions. Check out this book for yourself if you want to form your own.

  • Summary: 'The Skin Map' is the first fictional novel in the new 'Bright Empires' series. Kit Livingstone finds himself caught up in a life-threatening adventure involving his missing great-grandfather and a lost map of pathways to other times, and other worlds.
  • Storyline and Characters: The story was a very imaginative idea. I like a bit of originality in a book, and that is hard to find nowadays. I must admit, most of the characters that mattered to the story, annoyed me. Kit, the main character, was quite the paper cut out, with about three different emotions: shock, worry, and virtually no emotion, as well as having three strains of thought: worry, complaining, and stupidity. As you can see, we did not get along. Cosimo was rather like an over-done steak, this case being, an over-done stuffy British man. His conversation consists of "Old boy", "Old chap", "Dear boy", "Young man", and the like. No other characters really stood out to me at all. In fact, I've forgotten most of them by now.
  • Writing Style: This is truly where it all came down to it. I hate to say it, but the writing itself struck me as...immature. I'm sorry. I kept plowing through the book, telling myself it would get better, but it didn't. In regard to Cosimo's language, the rest of the novel was just as bad, or worse. Descriptions popped in at the worst possible times, with the most awful and ludicrous comparisons. Kit and Cosimo stop to admire the sky- in a life-threatening chase. Kit muses on an old poem while gazing at the beauty. A couple lines later, they are running again. What?! These recurring scenes are jarring and break up the story. Certain words and descriptions are used too often and far too close together, such as the depiction of Cosimo- 'the old man'. Perhaps the worst part of the book for writing quality is this example (you really do need to see for yourself,)
' "Stay right where you are!" shouted one of the men behind them.
"You know what we want," came the voice beyond the flashlight.
"Give it to us," added the voice at the end of the chained cat.
"You can walk free- you and your little friend there. No harm done." '

Now I'm not a great writer, but I know when something needs a re-write. This book does.
  • All in all, this book was boring, and that was disappointing due to the fact that the idea was a good idea. It could have been better. The language made it difficult for me to complete, and I found myself putting it off and picking up something better. I've not read this author's numerous other works, but if they are anything like this one, I won't.