(Book review) Guardian of Ajalon


Reviewed by: G. Connor Salter, Professional Writing student at Taylor University, Upland, IN


Introduction

Title: Guardian of Ajalon (Poison Tree Path Chronicles, Number 3)

Author: Joan Campbell

Publisher: Enclave Publishing (an imprint of Gilead Publishing)

Publication Date: 2018

Format: paperback

Length: 332 pages

OVERVIEW

Time is running out for Shara and her friends. After many travels, she and her friends are close to reaching the kingdom of Ajalon, but the only way is through a dark path in the Rif’twine Forest, a path known only as the poison tree path. Meanwhile, her friends in the Guardian Grotto, the last refuge of those who stand against Lord Lucian and his pawns, are preparing for a moment they never thought would come.

Like many post-C.S. Lewis writers who are Christian and write fantasy, Campbell creates a pseudo-allegory world in this book. The basic plot doesn’t seem to be a grand metaphor, but it’s filled with moments and characters that are clearly intended to represent certain theological ideas. For example, one character functions as a Christ figure and his name is “E’shua,” similar to Jesus’ Hebrew name “Yeshua.” It takes a lot of careful work to write this kind of story, to represent theology in new ways but not making the ideas so subtle that readers miss the point. Campbell handles this balance very well, treading that fine line between cleverness and clearness. Readers who don’t naturally care for pseudo-allegorical stories may still find the book too overt, but that’s a question of taste, not style. Everyone else will find the book entertaining and a solid addition to Narnia-style fantasy fiction.

ASSESSMENT

Rating (1 to 5)

4 stars

Suggested Audience

Readers interested in Christian fantasy, particularly ones who enjoyed the Chronicles of Narnia

Christian Impact

This book will entertain readers while also making them think about various theological ideas in new ways.

Note

This is the final book in the Poison Tree Path Chronicles. Book 1 is Chains of Gwyndorr and  Book 2 is Heirs of Tirragyl.


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About Evangelical Church Library Association

The Evangelical Church Library Association, founded in 1970, is a fellowship of Christian churches, schools, and individuals.

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