Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"The Thorn" by Daron Fraley

I recently finished The Thorn by Daron Fraley. This book was very thought provoking for me and made me realize a whole new angle to fantasy.

Now, I don't know if Daron would consider it fantasy or not. This book is a little tricky to classify. "Speculative fiction" may work the best. I view it as a fantasy with a "magic" system based on spirituality and faith. What made it so intriguing to me is that, as a spiritual person myself, I believe in that form of "magic" in the real world. For instance, instead of a character trying to get direction from a crystal ball or consulting with a mystical oracle, they would get down on their knees and pray. To me, that's a real world power that all of us can access. I thought it super cool to read about people with powers that we can use in our real daily lives.

In a lot of ways, The Thorn seemed like an Old Testament story expanded into a narrative. Even though the story takes place on a planet named Gan, the culture felt like it came right out of the time of Moses. This is also a nice break from a lot of fantasy that puts the setting in a medieval European feel.

There are a couple of cool "magic" items: a crystal sword (found from a vision) and a thorn encased in glass. The Thorn was reminiscent of some of the relic stories from after the New Testament times. It could also be analogous to the Arc of the Covenant from the Old Testament.

The story itself involves a young man from an enemy tribe who is befriended by two of his "enemies". They build a strong friendship of brotherhood and faith as they seek to find a way to stop a war between the tribes.

There are a few places where the tension lets up a bit. The tension does return, so don't give up on it. You'll be pleased. There were plenty of good action scenes and battle scenes for the combat junkie like me.

I guess, so that I can sleep at night, I'll make my own classification for this book: a spiritual fantasy. I enjoyed this book a lot and highly recommend it.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Review: The A-Team

I caught the matinee of The A-Team with Howard Tayler (of Schlock Mercenary fame) and Dan Wells (author of I Am Not a Serial Killer) on Friday. It was nice to go to a movie with some people I know instead of just sitting in a corner by myself. My schedule finally coincided to be able to attend with them.

Anyway, here is my take on the movie: it was okay. There were some funny moments and good action scenes. My biggest complaint was the language. I really hate it when they take something that used to be clean and kid-friendly and make it more "gritty" for the modern audience. That's what brought my enjoyment level down from "good" to "okay" because I don't like cringing through the whole movie.

Some of it stretched reality, but so did the original TV series. Also, some plot elements were pretty predictable, which took my enjoyment down another notch.

For fans of the original series, you will want to hang out until after the credits; there are a couple of enjoyable cameos there.

My favorite scene was when Murdock was looking out the window of the Hummer and wearing 3D glasses. I probably will get the movie on DVD when it comes out so that I can put it through my Clearplay machine. That way, I might be able to enjoy it more without all the foul language.

Recent Links

Things have been busy, especially since I set a goal to write a book in a month. In two weeks, I have half a book, so I think I'll make it.

Meanwhile, some great things have been happening with The Dragon War Relic. I thought I'd put here some of the links that have recently mentioned my book:

For starters, the Alaska Star at Of course, this is my hometown where I lived for over thirty years. Also, my grandfather homesteaded there in the 1940's, so that is where my roots run deep. I miss the area horribly: you can take the boy out of Chugiak but you can't take Chugiak out of the boy. So, a hearty hello to all my friends and relatives in Chugiak/Eagle River.

Michael Young, author of The Canticle Kingdom, did a review and an interview of me. You can find it here: You should check out his book, too. I did a review of it earlier, but if you are looking for a fantasy that is out of the ordinary, it's a great book to check out.

A place called "The Jacket Flap" has reviewed my book and is giving it away in a contest (cool). You can find it here:

My book is in another contest on Sheralyn Pratt's website here:

SherMeree's Musings also did a review of it here:

I've been mentioned on a few other blogs, like M.R. Bunderson's and Frank Cole's. Frank's book Hashbrown Winters is a great read, by the way.

Of course, we can't forget the great review from Jennie Hansen, even though it's been a while.

Lastly, there are a few nice reviews on the Amazon sales page.