So awhile ago (embarrassingly long ago, to be exactly exact), I volunteered to read and review Ashlee Willis‘ newest book, The Word Changers. I actually read it very quickly…but when I volunteered, I conveniently forgot how hard it is for me to review things, and thus I have been slowly trying to figure out what to say about it since. Emphasis on the “slowly.” (Sorry, Ashlee.)
Reviewing…stink it, it’s hard. It reminds me of my freshman year of college when I wrote a paper on the interpretations of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. I found at least five interpretations, and by the time I had researched all of them I was so confused that I just wrote a paper summarizing them all. My Mom proofread it and commented, “Well, it’s fine grammatically…but there’s no conclusion.” Also the paper I did on the identity of Melchizedek: no conclusion, just a summary of all the theories. (Yes, I go to Bible school. How’d you guess?)
Now, you’re probably thinking, “Betsy. You are not currently writing a review of The Word Changers. You are telling us boring stories about papers you wrote. The papers were also possibly boring. Please stahp.” My dear readers, be not so quick to judge. I’m merely using an illustrative anecdote to explain my hesitancy to review this book. I love learning about different interpretations of Scripture. I don’t always love taking a side on which one is right. I love to read. Offering my own analysis of what I’ve read? Not so much. I mean, what if I’m–heaven forbid–wrong?!
I know, I know. This is just a review. There is no right or wrong. Still. I struggle with a tendency to shy away from anything that remotely resembles failure. What if I say something and then change my mind later? What if other people don’t agree with my opinions? Isn’t that basically failing?
Maybe I should see someone for this whole fear-of-failure thing. My Dad’s a counselor, so it should be pretty easy to book an appointment.
But I digress. On to the review.
A PLACE WHERE WORDS CAN CHANGE ENTIRE WORLDS …
Escaping from the turmoil of a broken family, fifteen-year-old Posy finds herself at her usual haunt … the library. This time, though, when she chooses an unfamiliar book from the shelf, she does not devour its words and pages as she usually does.
Its words devour her.
Posy is pulled into the pages of a fairy tale, even mistaken for one of its characters. But all is far from perfect in this story’s Kingdom. Characters are whispering of rebellion against both their Plot and the cruel king who has seized control of it. And Posy must find a lost princess whose role in the story is crucial, before her own story comes to a horrible end …
With the proud and haughty Prince Kyran as a reluctant companion, Posy ventures past the Borders of the Plot, into the depths of the gloomy and treacherous Wild Land forest that lies beyond. Secrets are buried there. Dark mysteries and shadowy creatures, dangerous and deadly.
Yet the deadliest danger of all is the one that Posy carries within herself.
Soon it is 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 written to be. Only then will the True Story be written, both for Posy, and for the tale she has now become a part of.
Courage and forgiveness are needed for Posy to find her way home again. But bitterness and shadows haunt her every step of the way…
I’m going to rate The Word Changers 4 out of 5 stars. It was an enjoyable, fun story, with a good allegory. The premise was lovely: getting stuck inside a book! What bookworm hasn’t dreamt of that before? The characters had real flaws, and evidenced real growth. Good and evil were clearly delineated. The allegory was obvious enough to be understandable, yet deep enough to be thought-provoking. Overall, I enjoyed the read.
I’m not giving it a full 5 stars, however, because of the romance. It was fine in that it was clean, but it was so…fast. Plus, Posy’s pretty young. And as an ever-oldening single gal, sometimes it’s just difficult to believe in love stories that happen that fast, that young. Call me bitter. It just felt a tiny bit unrealistic. And its resolution…well, I’m still not completely sure if I liked it or not. I think it was good. I’m not going to give any spoilers, so you’ll have to go read it to figure out what I’m talking about. Another minor critique I had is that it was slightly difficult discerning what Posy’s real life was like, since nearly the entire book was set in her non-real, within-a-book life.
While it didn’t quite make it to my tippy-top favorites list, The Word Changers was a good read, and I’ll be on the lookout for more from Ashlee. If you’re wanting a thoughtful and fun Christian fantasy for your summer bookshelf, The Word Changers is probably right for you! But don’t take my word for it…go grab one on Amazon and tell me what you think!
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in return for my honest review.
Phew. [wipes brow] That’s just so difficult.
“Betsy,” I hear you saying. “That wasn’t that hard. Wimp.” Hey, this blog is a strict no-name-calling zone. Except on the designated days. Next Tuesday is one. Call me anything you like then.
Shoot, it’s late. I’m going to bed.