Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"Paradox" by Brian McBride {book review}

| Music listened to while writing this post:
Bullet Soul - Switchfoot
Under My Thumb - La Roux
Hurricane - Natalie Grant
Stompa - Serena Ryder
Brave - Sara Bareilles | 
So, I was given the privilege of getting to read and review an awesome Christian fantasy volume, created by a teen writer friend of mine, Brian McBride.
First of all, let me give you a little snippet of what this thing is about.
Paradox is a self-published Christian fantasy novel aimed at the young adult audience (14-18).
    Here is the premise/back cover description: Four troubled teens, two worlds, one God, one goal: to defeat the Darkness before it's too late. When David, his twin sister Alicia, and their two best friends, Jake and Hannah, stumble through a portal and into another world, Paragon, they discover that they are not who they thought they were... they are descendants of an ancient race known as Starcrafters, and they've been endowed with God-given abilities - impossible abilities.
    They train and learn to harness their abilities. Now, they are ready to take on the Dark Prince.
    Their attack on the prince is interrupted, however, when they are taken by a group known as the Renegades who are after universal domination by means of an artifact known as the Paradox Stone.
    They must escape the Renegades, retrieve the stone, and defeat the Darkness; all while learning to trust one another and work as a team, and to put their faith in the one true God.

Okay. So let's get something straight before we go any further.
I. adore. the. title. of. this.
Isn't that just the most epic title you've ever seen?
I'm totally serious. Paradox is one of my most utter favorite words ever and so therefore you can imagine my ecstasy to see it being utilized as the title of an awesome YA fantasy novel!
 I haven't read a whole lot of fantasy lately, and in general, my reading list stays pretty much to the bare essentials - school-related stuff, Bible, etc. I just don't generally have much time for anything else these days.
So therefore Paradox was probably the first full-fledged fantasy that I have read for a while. And let me say, I will never ever tire of fantasy. Ever. As much as I love historical fiction, and reality-based stuff, there is nothing like stories involving griffins, dragons and knights in shining armor!
If you're in the mood for a read like this, then you won't be disappointed with Paradox.
While I was unable to devote an entire day to reading it, like I would've liked to, (once I get going on a good book I just can't put it down!) it definitely held my attention.
As I've said before, I am always really interested to read the works of other teen authors - especially when they're Christians! So, from the beginning, I was anticipating this read even for that reason alone.
Now, unto the review!
I liked it. Sometimes it was a little hard to follow, but overall it was good. Definitely a strong, medieval-fantasy plot and nothing short of a thriller!
As stated previously, it's a Christian medieval-fantasy. I mean, are any words further necessary?
I think that's just about as epic a genre as they come. In Paradox, you get all the details about medieval fantasy which make it so fun, and at the same time it is all tied together by solid Biblical foundations and allegorical references to Scriptural truths.
My favorite character in Paradox was Jarush. I loved his strong, leader-like position in the story and group of other characters. Being random here, I'll also note Shael - simply because, being obsessed with cool names and such, well, I love his name.
As for the four teens, the main characters, I had some trouble relating to them and therefore found their emotions hard to empathize with. It was slightly difficult to follow their inner conflicts and thoughts since the story flitted back and forth from their perspectives so frequently.
However, it was refreshing to see their characters develop as the story progressed. Especially with David and Alicia, who had a terrible relationship in the beginning of the book. I was really touched by how they grew in maturity and even a relationship with God as time went on.
 I was hardly left to my own imagination when it came to picturing the setting in which the story took place. Brian has painted a very detailed, vivid picture of the world which Paradox unfolds in. I'll add, since we're already on the topic, that detail was one of the greatest strong points in this book. Excellent mental imagery and exposition, all around.
Underlying theme(s):
This is one of my favorite things about Paradox. The underlying theme. As said previously, Paradox is full-to-the-brim with Scriptural references and analogies, very blatantly so.
I love this. It's great to read a fantasy novel so unabashedly promoting the truths of God's Word.
Of the different allegories and references, my favorite was the continuing theme of humility and complete, 100% giving-yourself-to-God and being willing to do whatever He wills. Even if it means jumping off a cliff into a seemingly endless abyss. The emphasis on totally-devoted faith was excellent.
Overall? It was a great volume! I enjoyed reading it, and it certainly had me flying through the pages! I loved the bright contrast of good and evil. When I finished, it made me want to write in my own medieval novel, honestly. There is just so much in this book. So many immensely creative characters, places and concepts - It's inspiring!
Yes, I would definitely recommend it. It's an awesome book, I lie not.
{Get your own copy of Paradox here here.}


(Come on, you know you wanna check them out!)


Note: I was provided an E-copy of Paradox in exchange for my honest review. All opinions remain mine and mine alone and I never employ flattery or falsehood in my reviews.

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