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What Are You Reading?

What are you reading? What Christian speculative titles have you read in the last year or two? Have you written a review of those books, either here at Spec Faith as a comment to the title in our library or for one of the online outlets?

More and more Christian speculative fiction is available. If in doubt about this statement, check out the Spec Faith library.

Last week I had occasion to put together a list of recently published books, primarily released from 2010 to the present. I focused on books put out by royalty paying houses. The list that I compiled was over four pages long. Single-spaced. Yet I realize I’ve left off books that should be added.

The titles on the list included fantasy, science fantasy, dystopian, science fiction, supernatural, young adult, even a middle grade title or two, as I recall. In other words, a smattering of everything.

Because of my position as an administrator with the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour, I probably have the opportunity to read more books in the genre than the average person. Currently I am reading the book that CSFF will feature in May, Beckon by Tom Pawlik. But I’m also reading Noah Primeval by Bridan Godawa — a direct result of his guest blog here at Spec Faith. I also started a free Kindle download by Travis Thrasher, Solitary, which will have to go on the back burner because I have two other books in the waiting — Daughter of Light by Morgan Busse (another guest blogger here at Spec Faith) and Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore (who we’ll be hearing from later this month).

I have to admit, I’m ecstatic that there are so many titles coming out from traditional publishers and independents alike. I’m ecstatic that a growing number of books are available on e-readers from previously unpublished writers. We have reading options at long last.

Are we capitalizing?

What are you reading?

What Christian speculative titles have you read in the last year or two?

In that regard, have you written a review of those books, either here at Spec Faith as a comment to the title in our library or for one of the online outlets such as Amazon, B&N, or Christianbooks.com?

My point is simple. If we want to see Christian speculative fiction grow as a genre, we need to read the books that are out there and we need to talk about them with our friends — real life ones and online ones. We need to help create buzz — Tweet when we download a book for free, or when we buy one; share reviews we read (or posts like this); “like” Facebook pages of authors we read; pin our own reviews at Pinterest; track our progress through a book on Goodreads; or whatever else you can do to let other readers know about the Christian speculative titles available. People can’t buy what they aren’t aware of.

So along with the titles you’re reading, the Christian speculative fiction you’ve read in the last year, tell me about your share method of choice. This should be fun! ūüėÄ

Best known for her aspirations as an epic fantasy author, Becky is the sole remaining founding member of Speculative Faith. Besides contributing weekly articles here, she blogs Monday through Friday at A Christian Worldview of Fiction. She works as a freelance writer and editor and posts writing tips as well as information about her editing services at Rewrite, Reword, Rework.

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Kaci Hill
Member

 

What are you reading?
 
I can’t read more than one novel at a time, but it’s not uncommon for me to crack open several non-fiction books at a time.¬† Currently, I’m working through book two of the Outlander series.¬† Next up will be the Mistborn Trilogy. I also have books I need to tackle for review: Temptation, The Judas Gospel (Bill Myers), Collision of Evil, and Collision of Lies.¬† It’s a bit of a toss-up. I also have a Liparulo, two Tim Downs, two Wayne Thomas Batsons, a Jonathon Rogers, two Bryan Davis books, 13th Demon, and a bunch more in the queue.

In-progress non-fiction: The Illustrated Atlas of the Himalayas, The Bible for Blockheads, The Holman’s Illustrated Pocket Bible Handbook, The Power of Words. Next up….probably Early Judaism, the Ramayana, and the Book of Werewolves.

What Christian speculative titles have you read in the last year or two?
Oh, let me think: Wayne Thomas Batson, Bryan Davis, Amy Rose Davis, Sarah Witenhafer (and I hope I spelled that right), Merrie Destefano…and probably a couple others that currently escape me.
In that regard, have you written a review of those books, either here at Spec Faith as a comment to the title in our library or for one of the online outlets such as Amazon, B&N, or Christianbooks.com?
Merrie and Bryan both got reviews from me; I actually owe Sarah still – all on the Fiction Addict site.¬† On SpecFaith, I think I’ve mentioned easily a dozen authors, and as many speculative as not. I know I’ve mentioned Donita Paul, Karen Hancock, Tim Downs, Liparulo, Stephen Lawhead, Steven James, Tosca Lee, Ted Dekker, Eric Wilson, Sharon Hinck, and Eric Reinhold.
That’s all offhand. I could sit here all day and keep adding names.
 
 

Sarah Witenhafer
Guest

What an honor to be mentioned with all these great authors! There’s my thrill of the week. Thank you, Kaci. ūüôā

Kaci Hill
Member

Anytime, sweetie.

Kaci Hill
Member

Heh. I forgot to mention the first three Dresden Files I read last year. ūüėõ

Kaci Hill
Member

And Dean Briggs. I reviewed Corus the Champion and everything.  Told you I can keep going.

Galadriel
Guest

I read three Dresiden books last fall…they were so creepy I had to put them down. Like, spiritually creepy.

Kaci Hill
Member

There was one guy in the third one who¬† kinda gave me the heebie jeebies. He’s why I haven’t read book four yet. I love Michael Carpenter, though.

Galadriel
Guest

I don’t quite remember which ones I did, but if I ever go back, it’ll be because of Michael Carpenter.

Kessie Carroll
Member

I just won a copy of Reality’s Dawn by R.L. Copple in a blog giveaway, so I have that queued up. I also have Winter Rose by Rachel Marks, Crafting Novels and Short Stories from Reader’s Digest, and the hilarious Force of Habit from James Scott Bell (about the martial artist ex-actress vigilante nun).
 
Also a bunch of George McDonald. Also Leviathan by Scott Westerfield, because I’m curious to see what a steampunk book is actually like. Also Dracula. Because it’s a great book.
 
I’m trying to write reviews of the new books I do read. Classics, not so much. Everybody’s read those anyway. I even try to cross post them here, when it happens to be a Christian title.

Julius
Guest
Julius

 
What are you reading?
Just finished the first of the Dark Tower by Stephen King, and I think I’m moving on to Ivanhoe if nothing catches my eye… I check the Christian section…er, I mean, the bonnet section, to see if anything new that I haven’t read is there… but nothing really calls out to me. Except the new Ted Dekker book that’s the sequel to Forbidden, and they sorta don’t have it.

 
What Christian speculative titles have you read in the last year or two?
Hm… It is sort of difficult to *find* much without having to wander the internets. Lots of Bryan Davis (Last of the Nephilim, Enoch’s Ghost, Song of the Ovulum), some Dekker (Green, Red, Black, White, Sinner, Saint, Forbidden) and Lawhead (The Paradise War books, and Skin Map) and The Sword By… Litfin? I forget his name.¬† Summa Elvetica is sitting on my desk, but I haven’t read it yet.

 
In that regard, have you written a review of those books, either here at Spec Faith as a comment to the title in our library or for one of the online outlets such as Amazon, B&N, or Christianbooks.com?


Nope! I never really though about it. Christianbooks.com? That’s a thing? Now that I know it exists… I might.

Morgan Busse
Member

What fun!
Oh boy, I’ve read a ton. In fact, ever since my husband gave me a kindle a year ago, I read at least a book a week (I read 5 books in one week the last week of March, been a while since I did that ;).
I just finished Kathy Tyer’s Firebird Triology. Good stuff. Reminded me of the older and better (IMHO) Star Wars stuff. I have also read I am Ocilla,, Heartless, Waterfall, and The Windrider Saga.¬†
I review about half the time. Book reviews intimidate me (weird, huh?) so if I love you a lot, I give you a review (and blog time). Otherwise, I mainly do word of mouth, facebook, and just star ratings.
 

Paul Lee
Member

What are you reading?

As of this moment, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. ¬†I’ve also been reading a lot of interactive fiction works these past weeks. ¬†It bears mentioning that I usually treat Christian fiction exactly the same as secular fiction for my reading purposes. ¬†Daughter of Light¬†will probably be next on my list of stuff to read, but I also want to read The Face of the Deep¬†by Steve Rzasa, as well as Brandon Sanderson and George R.R. Martin.

What Christian speculative titles have you read in the last year or two?

The Dark Man by Marc Schooley
Summa Elvetica by Theodore Beale
Hero, Second Class by Mitchell Bonds
By Darkness Hid and To Darkness Fled by Jill Williamson
The first two Dragons in Our Midst books by Bryan Davis
The two Windrider compilations by Rebecca Minor, Divine Summons and A Greater Strength
The Earth Painter by Melissa Turner Lee

I was reading From Darkness Won, but I stopped about a quarter of the way through to start reading the Harry Potter¬†series. ¬†I don’t necessarily like Harry Potter¬†better; I just wanted to read it and get it under my belt as quickly as possible.

In that regard, have you written a review of those books, either here at Spec Faith as a comment to the title in our library or for one of the online outlets such as Amazon, B&N, or Christianbooks.com?

I started my own blog for this purpose.  I have reviewed Windrider and interviewed the author of The Earth Painter. 

Paul Lee
Member

I forgot to mention that I reviewed The Dark Man¬†on Amazon. ¬†That was before I started the blog. ¬†I think my reviewing style isn’t so appropriate for Amazon, because I’m not really reviewing the book as a consumer experience.

Bethany A. Jennings
Member

Aside from the classics like Tolkien and Lewis, I’m just discovering Christian speculative titles to read (mostly found through SpecFaith!), so these current reads are the first Christian specfic I’ve explored. ¬†Yay!

Currently reading:
Oxygen by Randy Ingermanson and John Olson
Firebird by Kathy Tyers

Share method of choice:
Currently word-of-mouth, but I will probably blog about books in the future. 

Galadriel
Guest

I read so many books, it’s hard to remember them all. And I tend to think in terms of school year, not calendar year, so that messes it up even more.¬† These are some of the newer ones that stand out in my mind

Fiction
Non-Christian
Thursday Next & Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde (the former is a GREAT meta-fictional narrative)
Doctor Who novels
Sherlock Holmes

Christian
Tales of Goldstone Wood
Bryan Davis–various series

Nonfiction
Chesterton
lots of stuff about ministry…

Honestly,¬† I might come back here after I’ve recovered from finals week. Sometimes I post reviews, espeically with the blog-for-books ones, but if I blogged every book I read…

Kerry Nietz
Member

First off…I love the collage.

Second off,¬†as the guy who has maintained the WhereTheMapEnds book list for the last couple years I can¬†say that yeah, there’s alot of possibilities out there for the Christian speculative reader. Last I remember there were over 600 titles on that list, and by no means was that all.

So get¬†reading people! ūüôā¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

Steve Rzasa
Editor

I finished Failstate by John Otte and Daughter of Light by Morgan Busse, as well as Wind and Shadow by Kathy Tyers (go, MLP!) Currently re-reading The Dark Foundations of Chris Walley’s Lamb Among the Stars Trilogy, which is the best Christian sci-fi series out there in my opinion. I gave up on a mainstream read, Carte Blanche, the 007 novel by Jeffrey Deaver. Boring, sorry to say.

But¬†Kerry’s right–check out that WhereTheMapEnds booklist for awesome stuff!¬†¬†¬†

sally apokedak
Guest

Christian spec fic in the last two years: 

The Charlatan’s Boy, by Jonathan Rogers
Replication, by Jill Williamson
Daughter of Light, by Morgan Busse
Solitary, Travis Thrasher 

I’ve reviewed the first two on my blog. Will review the next two as soon as I can get around to it. I only have one of those reviewed at Amazon. I’m trying to get in the habit of putting reviews up on Amazon. I really don’t like putting up Amazon reviews, because I hate giving stars. But I know authors need those reviews.¬†

Grace Bridges
Member

Wow. this could take a while – ready? ūüėČ

Reading now: K√∂nig’s Fire (Marc Schooley), and my TBR pile includes Jeremy Robinson’s Threshold and Instinct, Meredith Efken’s Lucky Baby, Kathy Tyers’ Wind and Shadow and Karina Fabian’s Live and Let Fly. Oh and H20 by Austin Boyd and Brannon Hollingworth.

Read recently: Beneath and Pulse – Jeremy Robinson; ¬†The Enclave – Karen Hancock; Ingathering – Zenna Henderson (a re-read, but always worth it); The Mirror of N’de – L.K. Malone; Noah Primeval – Brian Godawa; Replication – Jill Williamson; The Opposite of Art – Athol Dickson; The Unraveling of Wentwater – C.S. Lakin; and probably a few more.

Read in the last year or so (just ¬†a smattering, or we’d really be here all night!): everything by Kerry Nietz and Jeffrey Overstreet; Waymaker – Michael D. Warden; The Strange Man – Greg Mitchell; Phantastes – George McDonald; The Resurrection and Winterland – Mike Duran; Oxygen (re-read) and Double Vision – Randy Ingermanson; Rooms and Book of Days – Jim Rubart; Afterlife – Merrie Destefano; all C.S. Lakin’s fantasies; While the Morning Stars Sing – ResAliens Anthology; War of Attrition – Frank Creed; and I am certain there are more. As well as the 10 or so that I’ve published in that time, of course, and at least 80,000 words of Avenir Eclectia stories ūüėõ

 Most I review (Amazon/blog/TitleTrakk), and believe me I make a fuss when I find one I like!

Shannon McDermott
Guest

In the past year or so, the majority of the Christian SF I read was CSFF blog tour books. One novel – The Book of Names – I read because its sequel was the next book to be featured in the tour.
 
I also discovered the Wingfeather Saga last summer; that the third Wingfeather book was toured directly afterward was an uncommonly happy coincidence. And I began the Saga because I had won North! Or Be Eaten in a book drawing. Oh, I had heard of On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness before, but I was not interested. When even the title needs a content editor, I have low hopes for the book.
 
I recently finished Enemies of the Cross, by Greg Mitchell – the sequel to a novel CSFF toured a year ago. Last December I read At the Back of the North Wind, because I had finally decided to try George MacDonald out and, being charmed by some fairy tales he wrote, moved on to a book. I also read Worlds Unseen, by Rachel Starr Thomson, after being invited to review it.
 
A couple months ago I read The Napoleon of Notting Hill, because it was in a collection of Chesterton novels I had bought a year previous. This book has not often been called Christian SF – certainly never by Chesterton – but I am justified in including it. Chesterton set it eighty years into the future from the year it was published (which was 1904 …). It then took¬† two time jumps, so that the end of the novel actually takes place in 2014.¬†
 
I also read Ice, because I saw it in the library’s Christian fiction section, and then another book by the same author – A Form of Godliness.
 
I believe that’s all. At any rate, it’s all I can recall at the moment.

sally apokedak
Guest

You thought On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness needed a copy editor? I can’t believe that. I thought the title was brilliant.¬†

Shannon McDermott
Guest

I thought it was awkward. On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness is clumsily long for a book title; worse, “Dark Sea of Darkness” is redundant in a very bad way. And, as a place-name, it’s ridiculous. If Tolkien had, say, called Gondor the White City of Whiteness, Lord of the Rings would have been a completely different story.
 
I know now that the “Dark Sea of Darkness” was part of the humor that permeated the book – the often absurd, sometimes satirical humor. But I didn’t understand that until I actually read the book. Well – began to read the book. The realization hit me on the first page.

Patrick J. Moore
Guest

What are you reading?
Currently reading Dragon’s Tooth by N.D. Wilson. I thought I had heard somewhere that it was Speculative Christian.¬†Definitely¬†speculative, but like so much speculative I’m not sure why there is any distinction between “Christian” and “Secular” unless the author really wants to limit their readership to only Christians. I don’t see writers of any other faith putting their faith label on their works.¬†
 
What Christian speculative titles have you read in the last year or two?
I don’t pick books based on the¬†professed¬†faith of the author. I seek out well written good stories that are¬†recommended¬†to me by others. As with the N.D. Wilson book, any number of the books I’ve read could have been written by Christians or not and I wouldn’t know the difference. Of the books I’ve read in the past 2 years these are the ones that I’m pretty sure the author was Christian: The¬†Chronicles¬†of Narnia, Out of the Silent Planet, ¬†The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic, The¬†Charlatan’s¬†Boy, The Hobbit, Fellowship of the Ring, The Princess & The Goblin,¬†Hairy Potter (yes, I’m just reading most of these in the past year or two- I’m a late reader), & Divergent. All of these were either¬†categorized¬†as Christian, or I have read¬†statements¬†of faith by the author… Other than the Narnia books with an overt representation of Jesus in the character of Aslan, I don’t understand why they need to be in a Christian¬†category- and many of the ones I listed seem to be loved by the general population and not just Christians- even Narnia.

 In that regard, have you written a review of those books, either here at Spec Faith as a comment to the title in our library or for one of the online outlets such as Amazon, B&N, or Christianbooks.com?
No. I don’t believe I’ve written reviews of any of these books. I do rate all the books I read and¬†occasionally¬†review books on GoodReads.com, but my reviews have tended to be reactive to my impression of the book when I finish it… and once it’s not so fresh I tend to realize I liked a book more than I thought I did. So, I think I want to come up with a system to be more objective in my reviewing- and possibly try to review from my somewhat unique perspective as a Christian who is a counselor for abused children and a writer. Maybe if I can find a happy consistency I’ll share my reviews across more of the web.

sally apokedak
Guest

OH…I didn’t list books by Christian authors that were published in the general market. I’ve read several general market spec books by Christian authors in the last couple of years.¬†

Do you like Dragon’s Tooth, Patrick? I loved it. What about Mount Majestic? Did you like it? I haven’t read it.¬†

Patrick J. Moore
Guest

The Mount Majestic story was a very fun read. I’d¬†recommend¬†it to anyone. My overly¬†literate 8 year old ranks it as one of the best stories she’s ever read. Though I tend to like YA stories generally, it is not often a story so¬†completely¬†appropriate and entertaining to my¬†daughter is also one of my favorite stories too.

Dragon’s Tooth is… interesting. I’m a little over 1/2 way into the book, and I love the¬†protagonists and some of the supporting characters… but the¬†villains¬†are seeming very¬†cartoonish, and several characters just seem overly mean spirited. I am also really enjoying the creativity so far. Almost has the feel of an Indiana Jones version of Hogwarts. ¬†I’ll let you know my final impression after I finish it.¬†

sally apokedak
Guest

Yes, I would agree with the Indiana Jones/Hogwarts idea. I think I said it was Treasure Island meets Harry Potter. 

Thanks for telling me about Mount Majestic. I’ll have to give it a shot.¬†

Nissa Annakindt
Guest

I’m currently reading Karina Fabian’s Live and Let Fly, a fantasy featuring Vern the Dragon and Sister Grace of the Faerie Catholic Church…. A very funny book and from a Christian (Catholic) worldview.
 

trackback

[…] Yesterday over at Spec Faith, I did a “What Are You Reading” post, in part asking what Christian speculative fiction readers had enjoyed this past year. […]

Jill Williamson
Guest

I just finished Temptation by Travis Thrasher. I love those books.

Right now I’m reading Bill Myers’ Forbidden Doors re-release. I bought all four of the 3-volume sets and I’m on the second book right now. ¬†I recently read the Heart Reader of Franklin High by Terri Blackstock, which I’d classify as a YA with a supernatural thread. I also read Morgan Busse’s Daughter of Light. The Peculiars by Maureen McQuerry is a YA steampunk for the general market, though Maureen is a Christian and that comes though a bit in the book. I’ll be interested to see where she takes it in book two.

Next on my list to read is The Bone House, the second Hunter Brown book, Angel Eyes, Patrick Carr’s A Cast of Stones, then The Seer by Fred Warren. Then on the the MLP backlist that I’m way behind on. I’m dying to read Kerry’s Freeheads and Steve Rzasa’s last two and ¬†I’ve got the Firebird Trilogy on my bedside table. And I do believe that the middle grade Swipe and Spirit Fighter are on the way to my house. Yay!

Thanks for putting my book in the picture, Becky! What is that book called Tolling? I can see the author’s name and I Googled it and tried Amazon and… nothing. The suspense is killing me! LOL

Jill 

Fred Warren
Member

Although marketing is obviously important to a book gaining wider readership, I think it’s important to note that patience is more important than ever. The advent of e-books has changed the whole “marketing blitz” paradigm, in which¬†a book is quickly pulled from the shelves to die if nobody hears about it and sales aren’t immediate, brisk, and in large numbers—the public’s short attention span must be countered with ad saturation within a very brief window of opportunity.

E-books, however,¬†don’t have a shelf life, and many¬†stories aren’t taking off until several years after their initial publication. It can take that long for momentum to accumulate. I think the true impact of the Christian Spec Fic Indie Revolution is yet to be realized.

Morgan Busse
Member

Fred, I think you are right on. We need to be patient. I think also we need to remember that God has a much bigger plan for our books than we do. And that plan may not include massive sales, but reaching certain people He has been preparing for weeks, months, even years.

Marion
Guest

Becky,
In the past couple years, I’ve read the Trophy Chase Trilogy by Polivka and the prequel, Beggars Moon.¬† Those were well-written and enjoyable to read.
I have also read Lost Mission by Athol Dickson which was the best novels I’ve read in the past 5 years.¬†¬†
I read Mike Duran’s Resurrection and I thought it was a solid first novel.¬† Looking forward to reading his latest novel, The Telling.
I wrote reviews on my blog for both Polivka’s series and Dickson’s Lost Mission.
Also, I read S. by John Updike and found his take on spirituality interesting with an unlikeable protagonist.
However, I have realized to do need to read more Christian Fiction and Christian Speculative Fiction as well since I have read mostly secular fiction.
As a result, I bought Peretti’s This Present Darkness and Lisa Mckay’s My Hands Came Away Red this past weekend.
I’m realizing I have to read more in this genre in order where it’s going and growing.
Marion