Month: February 2017

Outlaws of Time

“If you could stand still in time, you would feel it hissing around you like wind made of sand. If you had wings made for that wind, you could soar above the swirl of history as easily as a crow circles a hayfield. You could float just beyond the edge of every now; you could spread your time-gliding wings like two cold shadows over always. Priests would shiver when you passed. Dreams would scatter. Dogs would howl. Slow ghosts would trail behind as you peered down into moment after moment, searching for your prey, searching for the one boy you had lost, for the boy who had been hidden in sometime.

If you had those wings, if you did those things, you would have a name to match your evil.

Are you the Vulture? El Buitre?

No. Nor am I. But I have seen him. Seeking.” *

Snakes, priests, gardens, Youth Ranches, dreams, cowboys, and two kids; a disabled boy and an adventurous girl. How do these seemingly unrelated things fit together to make an epic, time-jumping escapade that could determine the fate of all the people of the world… and of time? Find out in N.D. Wilson’s latest novel, Outlaws of Time: The Legend of Sam Miracle. It was published in 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books-which is an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers- and would fall under the time-travel or fantasy genres.

Outlaws of Time follows the story of a young boy named Samuel (Sam) Miracle. He is an orphan who lives at SADDYR (St. Anthony of the Desert Destitute Youth Ranch). His arms are disabled-he can’t bend either of his elbows-and he has dreams. Not ordinary dreams-like you dream when you’re asleep in bed-, but dreams that come to him when he’s awake. And they feel real. Like he’s seen them before, a long time ago, back in time. What’s more, no one seems to know, or remember where he came from. He just appeared. In time.

Some of Sam’s friends include Gloria Spaulding, a spunky, audacious girl determined to see everything she has a hand in to fulfillment; all his Ranch Brothers (boys who were sent to SADDYR to improve their behavior); and Father Tiempo, a priest who takes on many ages as he jumps back and forth from century to century in order to save Sam from El Buitre, the Vulture. The Vulture is a man who has collected almost all the world’s wealth; a man who controls-or thinks he controls-the people’s destinies; and a man who for hundreds of years has killed over and over again the one boy who can defeat him-and save everything treasured by mankind; wealth, peace, freedom, life…and time Itself-Sam Miracle. Sam’s friends must put themselves in danger in order to save this boy- and everything they love- from the evil El Buitre. But will they be too late?

N.D. Wilson’s books are written in a style very similar to the style favored by E. Nesbitt and C.S. Lewis, a style that speaks to you as an individual, not as just an anonymous reader. However, Wilson’s books are meant for a wider and older audience than Nesbitt’s and Lewis’ children’s books were. His use of detail is excellent; he uses quite a bit of it, and you can see the objects and people he is writing about just as he saw them. The dialogue in the book is quite good, he uses modern-day words and writes them with incomplete sentences just as if someone was actually talking nowadays. The story flowed well and you will never be bored while you are reading it. Outlaws of Time is written with easy to read language, but the concepts are hard to grasp, therefore I would rate it a medium read.

I highly recommend this book for 12+! It is intense, but not graphic. Some people may have a hard time getting the timelines and concepts straight, but you just have to let your imagination run free in order to fully understand and comprehend this impressive time-traveling tale, with its gripping storylines, characters, and phraseology. 4 out of 5 stars.

*Excerpt taken from Outlaws of Time: The Legend of Sam Miracle Prologue by N.D. Wilson; published by Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2016

Gathering Blue

The threads began to sing to her. Not a song of words or tones, but a pulsing, a quivering in her hands as if they had life. For the first time, her fingers did not direct the threads, but followed where they led. She was able to close her eyes and simply feel the needle move through the fabric, pulled by the urgent, vibrating threads.

It was radiant. *

 

Lois Lowry’s Gathering Blue is a well written and fascinating book. Set in a dystopian time frame, it sends its readers on a journey that causes them to reflect on their life and community, as well as what may happen in the future if they follow the values they have learned. This book was written in published in 2000 by Lois Lowry.

This story follows the life of a young girl named Kira who was born with a crooked leg in a village where the physically unfit are usually left to die. Orphaned and alone, she attempts to procure a living using the only thing she can do: weaving. Her weaving is extraordinary, and her mother used to say that even at a very young age Kira’s skill was far greater than her own. When her neighbors demand her to be cast out into the field to die because of her disability, the Guardians of the village summon her before them for judgement. Kira prepares to defend her life, but the Guardians, surprisingly, have other plans for her than death.

Matt, a mischievous nine-year-old boy, and his dog Branch are some of Kira’s only friends. Another of her friends is Thomas, who also has a gift similar to Kira’s weaving. His is carving, and he can create some of the most beautiful carvings that anyone had ever seen in the village- or out of it. Some other characters are Jamison, Kira’s supporter and her defender before the Guardians; Annabella, Kira’s trainer in plant dyes; Vandara, Kira’s hostile neighbor; and Jo, a little girl with a big heart and a heavy destiny.

Lois Lowry’s style of writing is unusual. She uses very little detail of the objects and people, and mostly uses some dialogue here and there as well as the main character’s thoughts. The story flows very well, and there are no dull or slow spots. This book is not easy to read, and I would place it at the difficult level. Although the words she uses are not hard to understand, the concepts and the way she writes are tough to comprehend and weighty.

I highly recommend this book for ages 13+! This book is actually the second in a dystopian series, of which the first is The Giver. There are some adult themes in it, but nothing graphic. It is amazingly well-written, with good imagery, and excellent values. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

 

What secrets do a staff, a robe, and a song have buried in their depths that could change Kira’s life and that of her friends…forever?

*Excerpt taken from Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry, published in 2000 by Lois Lowry; chapter 4, page 45