How in the world do I tell you what this novel is like? I know...
It's Narnia, meets Lord of the Rings, meets the Book of Judges, meets Becky Miller!
Naw, that doesn't cut it...how about this..."The Restorer" is the most amazing piece of fiction I've ever had the pleasure of reading--and I read A LOT!
I must admit, I was a bit miffed when I learned there would be no more Becky Miller. I loved the Becky books, and I became one of Sharon's biggest supporters. Those books were like having Sharon read my journals and then write stories about my life, disguised as Becky Miller.
But I love Sharon, and I've found a kindred spirit in her, so I decided to hang in there and give "The Restorer" a try. The more I heard about the story, the more my anticipation built and the harder I searched for the book.
Finally, it came in the mail! I was holding it in my hands...just the cover alone sent a shiver of anticipation through me! I quickly flipped through the pages, and discovered a map of the region, a song, and a glossary...this woman means business!! So I got down to business and got to reading the story.
"The Restorer" is an amazing fantasy journey into a world that needs someone to help...someone to restore the people back to their faith in the One and to remind them of the Verses. This is the world of Lyric.
While Susan feels like an ordinary, burned out soccer mom, she finds that God has much more in mind for her. In seeking her own restoration as a believer, she is plunged into a world where everything God has planted in her now comes to fruition...every hymn, every chorus, every Bible passage, every Sunday school lesson...everything that is of Him is of use to her in this strange new world.
This story is for anyone who finds himself or herself feeling insignificant in the Kingdom scheme of things. A story for any believer on the edge of burnout and wondering if it is all worth it, and what's the real point anyway. A tale for the yearning adventurer inside each of us, wanting desperately to do great things for our great God.
This is a story for this generation of Christians.
What I found so refreshing about this tale is Susan herself. Oh, the world that Sharon has created is fascinating, and so real that you get sucked into this universe and find yourself blinking when you come up for air, not sure where you really are. This new world is believable, and a little piece of you wishes you could go there.
But Susan is...well, she's just Susan. It isn't her new abilities in this new world that enable her to be The Restorer. It's the very same things she could do in her own world that come to play in this one...caring, praying, knowing Scripture, turning her face like flint toward her Heavenly Father...and never losing heart.
Sharon has a way of surprising me as well. Right when I found my rhythm in this world of Lyric, she would throw me a curve ball that totally floored me, made me gasp and laugh, and then nod my head, saying "That makes sense." It was fun, it was enlightening, and "The Restorer" is a story I will read again and again.
In my estimation, it is totally on par with C.S. Lewis' Narnia, and destined to become a classic (if people will take my word for it and go out and buy this book!).
I just can't say enough about this story...this is serious fantasy fiction that is a joy to read, and has an important message for us in our day and age...with multiple layers of meaning that I've just begun to explore. But I'll end this majorly long review with this:
If you only read one novel this year, make it "The Last Jihad" by Joel C. Rosenberg...that message of who we are facing in this post-modern world is desperately needed and well portrayed in his novel.
And then, make room for the second most important novel in the life of a believer, and pick up a copy of "The Restorer"...because it will teach you how to combat the enemy we face, and how to make a difference--Susan style! But, if you truly can only read one...read "The Restorer"!!
"The Restorer" gets six bookmarks out of five, with a Sword of Lyric charm from me...now, I gotta go and move some of Dave's stuff around, just to see what happens (Sharon knows what I'm talking about, don't you, Sharon?? :-)
Happy Reading, and run, don't walk, to your local Christian bookstore and ask them for "The Restorer"...you won't regret it! Oh, and Sharon, if you're reading this...how about writing the other two novels in Lyric...with the time difference, I figure it'll only be about a month or two before we get the rest of the trilogy!!
I'm voting "The Restorer" as the best fantasy fiction of 2007!!
P.S. For my in depth, one of a kind interview with Sharon Hinck, click here.