Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Legend of the Firefish - The Goods

Again, this month's CSFF blog tour is for Legend of the Firefish. If you are looking for a unique book in Christian fiction, if you are looking for a adventurous tale to end the summer with, or if you are wondering whether to name your next child Jack Sparrow (the last one I hope is a little too out there...), then this is a book you should check out.

George Bryan Polivka has begun an ambitious and admirable tale with The Trophy Chase Trilogy, of which LotF is the first book. He has several strengths as a writer which made the book quite enjoyable.

The first thing I noticed about the book is the great description that he uses. He has a way with words that sets the atmosphere and tone for the situations in the book. Whether it is a poor village tavern, a ship fighting a gale, or a character wrestling with heart issues, Polivka has a gift for word craft and painting a visual picture with the language he chooses.

The mythology of the story's world is strong as well. He skillfully builds the setting of sea craft. His characterization of the titular Firefish is a masterful touch, making the wily prey more than just a prize for a fisherman's net. I really enjoyed these sections in the book.

The heroes of the story, Packer and Panna, have faith yet are flawed. They do not have all the answers, and they end up in some desperate situations. Their faith does not come across as a tack-on just for the CBA, but it is a real part of their character, and their responses are mostly very much in line with this.

The antagonist Talon is a delicious literary creation. Her palpable evil makes her a very strong opponent, one that seems impossible for the heroes to overcome. This always makes for a good obstacle for the protagonists, but there is a depth to her that is revealed throughout the story that makes her character all the richer. The pirate captain Scat Wilkins is also a very well thought out character in the story. He doesn't become one dimensional (like Cap'n Sparrow in the last 2 Pirates movies), but confounds the reader through the book.

One final thought is that this is a very strong Christian novel. In that I mean that God and faith features very prominently. A lot of the conflict is internal conflict of God vs. man - trying to live to the ideals of a faith and not always succeeding. It seems that the world of Christian fiction is shifting. It used to be a critique that Christian fiction was "preachy," and that this stigma kept people from enjoying these novels. I've noticed a backlash, in that books have been published lately without a lot of overt mention of God or the type of spiritual wrestling that is shown in Firefish. This is not necessarily a bad thing. The last CSFF book, Fearless, has no overt Christianity, and the author Robin Parrish admits that he is not writing to the standard CBA reader and has different goals with his writing. Polivka obviously has his own goals, and I applaud him. He does not hold back - he writes it as he sees it and I think it is in service to the story, not tacked on as preaching (for the most part). I was encouraged by his bold declarations of faith, and found it totally appropriate for this story.

Again, my opinion is that this is an enjoyable read, an unique book in the CBA currently, and well worth the time and investment. Yet there were a couple of things in the book that I wrestled with, and I want to discuss tomorrow. These issues play into some writing blog conversations from the last week, so come back tomorrow and I'll tie these together and we can work out together whether these "weaknesses" of LotF really are such.

Trish Anderson Brandon Barr Wayne Thomas Batson Jim Black Justin Boyer Grace Bridges Amy Browning Jackie Castle Valerie Comer Karri Compton Frank Creed Lisa Cromwell CSFF Blog Tour Gene Curtis D. G. D. Davidson Merrie Destefano Jeff Draper April Erwin Beth Goddard Marcus Goodyear Russell Griffith Jill Hart Katie Hart Sherrie Hibbs Christopher Hopper Kait Karen Dawn King Tina Kulesa Lost Genre Guild Terri Main Rachel Marks Karen McSpadden Rebecca LuElla Miller Eve Nielsen John W. Otte John Ottinger Lyn Perry Deena Peterson Rachelle Cheryl Russel Hanna Sandvig Chawna Schroeder Mirtika Schultz James Somers Steve Trower Speculative Faith Jason Waguespac Daniel I. Weaver


  1. It was a great read! And please people do not name your child Jack Sparrow!

  2. Jason, good, good stuff. I'll be interested in what you have to say about the weaknesses.

    I have to admit, after The Restorer tour, I wasn't sure if I was doing a good job of judging what the tour folks would like. I thought that book would be wildly popular.

    This one, too. It is definitely more a "guy" book, but even women who went into reading it thinking they wouldn't like a pirate story, said they loved it.

    Though I call it a "guy" book, it is more character driven than a fast paced kind of book like Fearless. Thus, my uncertainty. What would the guys on the tour think???