by John White
Conditional Recommendation: Three Canadian children fall through television sets to land in a world where they have to escape captivity, help free a king, and defeat the powers of evil.
Genre: Christian Fantasy/Allegory
The words that came to mind when I was reading this book were “enchanting,” “charming,” and “fun.” Young readers who like The Chronicles of Narnia would like this book because it’s the same kind of fantasy as Narnia—easy to fall into and enjoy. This book, the author admits, is a rip off of The Chronicles of Narnia. Although he wrote for adults, when his kids came to him begging that he write stories for them like Narnia because they loved them so much, he delved into children’s literature, leaning heavily on Narnia for inspiration. There are so many scenes practically identical to those in Narnia that I can’t list them all: magical portal to another world in the uncle’s attic where the kids aren’t supposed to be in The Magician’s Nephew, the deceptive snake in The Silver Chair, the evil dwarf in Prince Caspian, a brother being led astray in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and more. Even with all the similarities, this book is still enchanting in its own right and I’m told that the other books in the series become their own.
The Canadian kids enter the world through television sets—certainly not as enchanting at going through a wardrobe (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe), but not as ridiculous as going through a hippo (A World Without Heroes).
Much like the Narnia books, these books may be best read in publication order (in which The Tower of Geburah would be first) rather than internal-world order (in which The Tower of Geburah would be third).
Many of the names in this book are difficult to pronounce because they are Hebrew words with meanings that are significant. There’s a pronunciation guide at the back of the book.
While investigating in Uncle John’s attic, Wesley, Kurt and Lisa mysteriously find themselves transported to Anthropos, a land of dwarfs, goblins and jinns. There they are unexpectedly given a mission to save a king and a country. The key to their adventure seems to lie in the remote and ancient tower on the Island of Geburah and discover, however, is more than mere treasures. They find a power that could destroy all of Anthropos.
It’s such thinly veiled Christian allegory that I don’t think I can even call it veiled. Not that I mind, because the truths, stories, and themes of the Bible are timeless and written by God—therefore, good! Take note: this book seemed to have more truths relating to the Old Testament while Narnia was more New Testament. Take the Christ-figure: Aslan sacrificed himself in Edmund’s place like Christ did on the cross for us, while in this book there’s no substitutionary sacrifice but instead the Shepherd comes to claim his kingdom like what was preached for the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. There’s also the pigeon, representing the Holy Spirit, that would give aid, direction and provide strength but would come and go like the Holy Spirit does in the Old Testament.
Interesting, with just the right amount of action to keep you going.
Many readers say that this was a favorite childhood series for them in addition to Narnia. I can’t personally attest to this claim since I didn’t read them as a kid.
Magic, a sorcerer, fantastical beings and happenings, curses, potions, spells, goblins, dwarfs, jinns, magical objects, etc.
Moments of severe peril, deaths of evil creatures, battles fought with arrows and swords with subsequent wounds, and one character is almost sacrificed on an altar and realizes its covered in other people’s blood.
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