Saturday, June 4, 2016

Book Review: The Word Changers by Ashlee Willis

Title: The Word Changers
Author: Ashlee Willis
Published by: Conquest Publishers (2014)

My Rating: ★★★★★

SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS

Escaping from the turmoil of her home, fifteen-year-old Posy finds herself at her usual haunt ... the library. When she chooses an unfamiliar book from the shelf, she does not devour its words as she usually does...

Its words devour her.

Posy is pulled into the pages of a fairy tale in turmoil. Characters whisper of rebellion against their Plot. And Posy must find a lost princess whose role in the story is crucial, before her own role in the book comes to a horrible end.

With the haughty Prince Kyran as a reluctant companion, Posy ventures past the Borders of the Plot, into the depths of the treacherous Wild Land forest that lie beyond. Secrets are buried there, dangerous and deadly.

Yet the darkest secret of all is the one Posy carries within herself.

Soon it's clear that finding the lost princess is the least of Posy's concerns. The Author of the book must be found. His Plot must be put to rights again, his characters reminded of who they were first created to be. Only then will the True Story be written, both for Posy, and for the tale she has now become a part of.



MY REVIEW

What an incredible story! This beautiful book was fully an allegory and fully its own tale at the same time. I was very impressed! I loved it, especially because I myself am an author, but anyone really could love this story!

First of all, the allegory. I’ve not read a Christian book as good as this in forever. It doesn’t read directly like an outreach, but the themes are right there. It doubtlessly will make the unbeliever think, and makes the believer grin at the amazing way such truth is portrayed. So simplistic. So cleverly. Readers will gawk at what they think is the character’s stupidity at not believing in an Author, while in reality they are doing the exact same thing that character is doing when they say there cannot be a God. I thought the allegorical themes were perfectly in tone with the story, flowed naturally, and captured wonderfully the essence of God’s love for us. So many quotes I felt derived directly from scripture, but not once did it sound preachy or cheesy; rather, like a part of a beautiful story. I thought the author captured perfectly the character’s rebellion and enhanced it to compare to the sins of humankind, all while retaining true to the plot—no pun intended—of the story. While some may argue that there is too much fantasy and magic in this story for it to be truly Christian, I’d say it’s because the author was truly trying to paint the absolute fairy tale example. The premise of this book—the allegory—would not make sense if it were simply a real life story. It has to be a fantasy, a magical world, a different world, an obvious “fictional” world  in order for the premise to make sense. 

The one thing that doesn’t fit into the allegory was the idea of the Reader, granted, but I don’t necessarily think it’s revelent, rather I think it could just simply be an aspect of the story to enhance the idea they are in a book, essentially to just have fun with that idea. I could very well be missing something, however.

One other thing I’ve seen mentioned in reviews is the romance, but I’ll say, it was all sweet and completely appropriate. There was some sweet love scenes, but nothing intense or unclean. And yes, the characters are young, but they’re in a fairy tale and all fairy tale characters fall in love young. The author of this story was simply trying to elaborate on the fairy tale world, to make the world as fictional, so to speak, as possible. You can’t put modern life into a fairy tale and still have the story make sense and seem like a fairy tale, and well, if the story doesn’t seem like a fairy tale, then the premise the author is trying to reach becomes weak—again, the story wouldn’t have the effect it did with the Plot and the Author if the story had been a “real-life” modern story. It just wouldn’t. 

Characters: The characters were well done for the most part. I had a bit trouble connecting with some of them, and on the same note as my paragraph above, while I did like the romance between Kyran and Posy I felt in a way it came out of nowhere and was kind of forced at the beginning. By the end, however, I had come to love them; the beginning was just a little rocky.

Writing: The writing was good enough, a little amatuar maybe but still done skillfully enough for me to feel hooked. The plot of the story—not the Plot, but the plot—was well structured, thought out, and without flaws. Everything tied together well. There were a few scenes that seemed to drag, but for the most part, the scenes and chapters were concise and to the point, moving the story forward well.

I thought Posy’s flashbacks to her real life were awesome, and I loved the way it tied into the story without seeming—to me anyway—cheesy or unrealistic. While to an extent I suppose I wish we had seen more of Posy’s real life, I absolutely LOVED the way the story ended and wrapped up. It was beautiful.

Themes: I loved the themes. The allegory obviously, but that was more the storyline than the theme. There were so many themes hidden in the words of this novel that I don’t know where to start. Forgiveness was a prominent one which I felt was portrayed perfectly. Faith was another, which I loved the way it translated back into Posy’s real world. It incorporated the truths of Christianity without directly saying so, things that believers won’t be able to overlook and things that will have non-believers thinking, really thinking. 


Sum it up, this book was amazing. I’d highly, highly recommend it for probably ages 13 and over. 5.0 stars. :)

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