Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Blog Tour - A Pagan's Nightmare

This week's blog tour is on the book, A Pagan's Nightmare by author Ray Blackston.

This will be the first time I've give a negative recommendation as part of the CFBA Tour. I have enjoyed each book that I've read so far (I haven't read all the books on the tour). I want my blog to be a reliable place for people to come on reviews about Christian fiction. I know it is just my opinion, and everyone has different tastes in books. However, I do try to give an analysis of what makes a book good, weak points, and hope that the info I give helps people decide whether to spend their money on the featured project.

I was intrigued by the premise of APN. The cover is delightful and grabbed my eye right away. (Tried to upload a picture of the cover, but Blogger doesn't like pictures lately. Anyone else have the problem?) It is written as a story within a story. An author conceives of a religious parody and pitches it to his agent, who loves it. The agent's Southern Baptist wife doesn't find it amusing. We follow the story of the author and agent interspersed with the novel in question: a world where almost the whole world has been "converted", and a few unlucky pagans deal with the new world. Gas for believers is 12 cents a gallon, while the pagans pay $6.66. McDonalds serves McScriptures fries. The holiest around speak in King James English.

Unfortunately, the book doesn't work. The parody story is just not very funny. I am all for tipping over the church's sacred cows. Evangelicals in particular are ripe for the picking as far as poking fun at their antics. The jokes just fall flat. Popular songs have their lyrics rewritten, such as the Beatles "I Wanna Hold Your Tithe", but they're not very creative. The pagans in the story's "novel" are looking for a girlfriend of one of them, but there is no tension in it. Similarly, the conflict between the agent, his wife, and the author also disappoints.

I normally don't think I should review a work if I haven't finished it. I made it over half way through, but I couldn't ever get into the book. Since it was a struggle to get that far, I thought I ought to offer my opinion so people don't end up with something they don't like. Take what I post with a grain of salt. I do encourage you to go to the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance website and see the reviews and comments of other members to make an informed decision. I thought the idea was clever - just the execution of it doesn't make it a worthwhile read.

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