October 24th, 2012
I just finished reading The Spirit Well – the third installment in The Bright Empires series, begun with The Skin Map and continued in The Bone House. I just found out that there will be FIVE installments in the series in total and the next isn’t due out until next fall. Sniff.
If you aren’t familiar with the series yet, it revolves around space-time travel through ley lines – forces of power that exist on the earth’s surface. The author is careful (thankfully) not to tie these ley lines with any occultic meaning however.
Kit Livingstone and his comrades are rather new to the cause, and while they’ve been bumbling around a bit trying to sort out the situation, nefarious forces have sought to oppose them. The key to the puzzle seems to be the Skin Map. Made from the skin of an accomplished, systematic ley-traveller, the map is marked with cryptic symbols that map this way-paths integral to this method of travel.
In any case, I have read the series to date so far, and it’s becoming quite promising. In the first two novels I wasn’t entirely sure what to think (as is often the case), and there are still some areas I’m still undecided on (like the author’s take on pre-historic peoples).
Still – this is an intriguing series nonetheless. While the action has moved away from the search for the Skin Map and the direct conflict between the various parties seeking to obtain it, the book focuses instead on a loose, ever-shifting revealing of back-story. As the characters jump to and fro through time and space, so do the threads that tie the story together, weaving it into a tighter and more connected whole.
We’re able to see the characters maturing and growing in self-confidence, fortitude, and intrepidness while we also see the author slowly and subtly weaving more faith-based threads into the story (though those remain loosely tied for now, and not at all directly related to the gospel and salvation to date).
As always, the writing style is engaging and varied between the different character’s voices (as they come from different locales and time periods). There’s still enough drive to discover the mysteries at the heart of the series that my reading didn’t stall out at all. I read solidly, even eagerly through the third novel (and was left hungry for more!)
There are still enough loose ends and undrawn conclusions that I’m not ready to whole-heartedly and unreservedly recommend the series until I’m sure I can see where it’s going. I will say however, that it’s a well-written fascinating read that I’m thoroughly enjoying.
Don’t forget to visit the other CSFF tour bloggers as well!
Thomas Clayton Booher
Thomas Fletcher Booher
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Rachel Starr Thomson