Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Trophy Chase Trilogy

Title: Legend of the Firefish

Series: The Trophy chase Trilogy #1

Author: George Bryan Polivka

Genre: Adult High-Seas Adventure

Excerpt from The Chase, Chapter 1 of The Legend of the Firefish:

“You deaf, boy?”

Packer Throme didn’t answer. The last thing he wanted now was a fight. Dog Blestoe was a big man, bigger than Packer by three inches and thirty pounds, and Packer’s elder by thirty years. Leathery, gray-headed, lean, and muscular from a lifetime of hard labor, Dog stood across the table with his hands knotted into fists.

Packer stayed seated and silent.

Dog snorted. He had made sure Packer had left town humiliated four years ago. He would make sure the boy returned the same way. He rammed the table with his thigh, sloshing the mug of ale sitting on it. Packer caught it before it tipped.

“Say something!”

Packer didn’t look up.

Dog grabbed the back of a wooden chair and tossed it aside, clattering it across the plank flooring, where it nearly shinned one of the regulars. “Disrespect!” he seethed, nodding around the pub at the undeniable proof Packer had just offered them all.

They did not nod back. These fishermen had come with their usual intentions, to talk and drink and smoke their pipes and do some modest complaining after a hard day of sea. Not to witness this. Not again.

“Stand up, boy!”

Packer studied his ale.

A failed-pastor-turned-swordsman steals away on a pirate ship to hunt the legendary Firefish.

The Writing: The Legend of the Firefish is a mixed bag when it comes to the writing. The premise is compelling—who can resist pirates, swordfights, and political intrigue?—and the plot executes that premise in a well-paced manner.

But I had problems with the numerous points of view (POVs). On one hand the omniscient narrator is reminiscent of the old storyteller style—complete with ramblings—and is part of the charm of this story. But on the other hand, the numerous POVs and head-hopping within a scene distances me from the story.

Sometimes exceptionally delightful characters can reach across that gap to connect with the reader. But although protagonists Panna and Packer are likeable and the secondary characters are colorfully drawn, I personally struggled to care about what happened to them.

Nonetheless, the details and descriptions are excellent, if long-winded for my taste. You can almost hear, feel, smell, and taste, as well as see, this world that resembles the one of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century seafarers.

The Story: The strongest part of The Legend of the Firefish may very well be the deep thread of theology weaving through the story. Well-intertwined with the characters’ personalities and decisions, it directly impacts the climax, as any good spiritual thread should, and provides both a challenge and encouragement to believers on topics such as complete surrender, God’s sovereignty, and how His power is perfected in weakness.

My single complaint about this aspect of Firefish is that long theological musings (at least a half-page long) frequently show up right in the midst of the highest tension. This drains the tension and halts my forward progress, so that in the end I skim over rather than ruminate on (my preference) the truth being imparted.

Summary: The Legend of the Firefish isn’t my favorite book of the summer. However, I largely contribute this to my personality, reading preferences, and current stage of life. (For more specifics, see my standards for reviews.) At a different time, I might have thoroughly enjoyed the story.

Therefore, if you’re a lover of high-seas adventures or just enjoy descriptive writing with a historical flair, The Legend of the Firefish may be well worth your time to check out.

Rating: 3.5 of 5

Interested in The Legend of the Firefish? Order it here.

1 comment:

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

Chawna, another excellent, well-thought out post. You've done a great job supporting your opinions, and in many cases I agreed with you, pros and cons. I think overall I liked it maybe a little more than you did. If I used numbers, I'd probably give it a 4.

One of my favorite parts is the fact that reviewers are actually talking about what the book was saying. That shows there was some depth, and I think thats something that is too often missing in much of contemporary fiction.

But, yeah, maybe the good thought stuff could come after the action rather than during!