Friday, August 17, 2007

The Spectrum Chronicles, Part III

Title: Path Finder

Series: The Spectrum Chronicles #3

Author: Thomas Locke

Genre: YA (13-16) Sci-fi Alternate Reality

Excerpt from Chapter One of Path Finder:

Counsuela did not have much time.

The realization struck her as soon as she stepped into her living room. She could not say how she knew, but the certainty was there, and it sped her actions. Not to mention attaching wings to her heart.

The entire time she tried to talk through her mother’s alcoholic fog, part of her mind remained fastened upon the thought that she would soon be back with Wander. The surging thrill lifted her beyond her mother’s muddled bewilderment, beyond her own pain of loss and departure. For this time there was a sense of belonging elsewhere, tied to this new mysterious place by her love for a man. A sensitive, openhearted, talented young man. One who truly cared for her…

(Paragraphs omitted to preserve the ending of the previous book.)

… “Mama, are you listening to me?”

“Of course I am. Don’t ask silly questions.” Here mother’s words were slurred, and her eyes remained glued to the television.

The bland voices of soap-opera stars mouthed lines that made no sense whatsoever to Consuela. She resisted the urge to walk over and turn off the set, knowing from experience that it would only start an argument. “I’m going away for a while. I have to. There’s something important I need to do.”

A young woman tries to locate a friend kidnapped by the empire he served.

The Writing: Much of what I could say here echoes what I wrote concerning the previous book, Dream Voyager. The characters are not very complex, but retain enough depth and humor to connect with the reader. The points of views are carefully contained—no head-hopping—which allows for a deeper connection to the characters.

Likewise, the plot has enough tension and suspense to keep you reading, while the humor of book one resurfaces in this third book. A smile can cover many flaws.

There is some minimal back story (telling you what happened in previous books) crammed into the first couple chapters. Mr. Locke tries to keep it to the background, but isn’t quite successful (such as in the omitted paragraphs from the excerpt above). However by chapter three, most of that’s done, and the story takes off from there.

The Content: The spiritual themes become more prominent in Path Finder. Salvation and surrender are the main topics—logical themes considering the plot. However, their integration seems a bit haphazard and strained. This results in preachiness and drawn-out discussions/explanations, as if the reader isn’t smart enough to figure out it himself. On the positive side, it never returns to the heavy allegorical style of book one.

Summary: If you can overlook the preachiness and lack of depth, some nice spiritual threads weave through a straight forward but interesting plot, with a delightful sprinkling of humor. Not bestseller material, but an enjoyable read for a couple hours.

Rating: 2.9 out of 5 stars

Still interested in Path Finder? Click here to order.

(Click to see reviews for Book 1, Book 2, and Book 4.)

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