Thursday, July 18, 2013

Blog Tour: King (Books of the Infinite #3) by R.J. Larson (Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway)

Published: 2013 (Bethany House)
Pages: 352
Rating: 4/5

Akabe of Siphra is certain his people are insane. 

Why have they made him a king? 
What, in the name of peacetime boredom do kings do?

Frustrated by a lengthy silence from his Creator, the Infinite, Akabe decides to prove himself as king by undertaking a monumental task, his own lifelong dream: Rebuild the Infinite’s temple in Siphra. 

But Akabe’s impulsive decision sweeps him into a storm of controversy. The Infinite’s enemies join forces in Siphra, and beyond, conspiring to destroy the emerging temple—and to kill their king and his mysterious new queen.

I don’t read much fantasy. That said, I’d never read any of the previous books in the Books of the Infinite series before (what is it with me reading the third books in series nowadays?! This has happened several times recently). In fact, I’d never even heard of any of the books. But when I heard about King and then got the chance to read it, I was definitely on board.

R.J. Larson did something that I don’t see done every often: She combined fantasy with Bible stories. And I absolutely loved it. At times the Biblical aspect was hard to make out, but at other parts the allegory was very clear. Aside from the Chronicles of Narnia (which, in my opinion, is more symbolic than allegorical), which other book series mixes Scripture with the fantasy genre? None that I can think of. I really enjoyed this aspect of King, and am eager to read the first two books (Prophet and Judge) to see how they follow this trend.

The entire story was very fast-paced. At times I even felt like it was too fast-paced. One page Akabe is looking for a wife, and the next page he’s married. Whoa! I would have liked to see some more character/relationship development happen, but it wasn’t crucial. I don’t really have the right to say anything about character development, as I picked up the third book without reading the first two. *sheepish grin*

Mentioning that, if you haven’t read the first two books, it’s very easy to pick up on what’s going on. I was confused at points, I will admit. But you can kind of figure out what’s happened before that led to the events that take place in this book. All in all, I really enjoyed King. It kept my attention and impressed me. I was very intrigued with the world in which Larson set her story (especially the mythical animals, like the destroyers and scalns!). I highly recommend this book to teen readers as well as mature middle grade readers (as long as they can handle some war action/violence).
Quick Content Review: *may contain spoilers*
Language: None
Violence: Moderate (battle action)
Sexual: None


A hired servant brought cups, then filled them with juice from a metal pitcher beaded with moisture. They all waited until the king lifted his cup. Following his lead, they drank.
        Ela couldn't help draining her juice, despite its tartness. Let Tamri and Prill frown at her appalling manners—she was thirsty. Finished, she looked for the servant, but he’d vanished.
Beside her, little Barth grumbled, “Mine tastes sour.”
        Akabe grimaced at the pitcher left in their midst. “True. The aftertaste is bitter.”
        Aware of an unpleasant icy burning around her lips and down her throat, Ela flung aside her cup. “Majesty…!”
        She wrenched Barth’s half-empty cup from his small hands. He already looked sick.
        Matron Prill threw down her own cup and said the word Ela feared to voice.

Guest Post with R.J. Larson:

What are the differences in the writing processes of devotionals and fantasy? Was it a hard transition to go from writing womens' devotionals to writing fast-paced, action-packed fantasy novels?

The best devotionals relate to the reader on a friend-meeting-friend basis, never lecturing or preaching. Ideally, devotionals are short single-themed insights into our spiritual walks as humans dealing with the Lord, and devotionals are often arranged by topics in collections written by multiple authors. Sometimes an entire volume of devotionals is dedicated to a single theme: Marriage, a deeper walk with the Lord, raising children, or individual topics, such as grief or relationships.

By design, devotionals minister to their readers with a brief, vivid story—often drawn from the author’s own experience—and one verse that will remain with the reader as a life-application. Devotionals also finish with a brief prayer.

Despite their simplicity, devotionals do require research, particularly with regard to the Scriptural application and with any fact-checking if the story is referenced from another source.

By contrast, novels of any genre, can deal with multiple themes, and many verses from the Scriptures. For me, the transition from writing single-themed devotionals to the multi-layered busyness of fantasy novels was easy. I love complexity on every level in writing!

Details delight me, and the research is a joy. I also love mentally walking into my characters’ world and staying there. People fascinate me and often, it was difficult to restrain myself while writing devotionals. Quite often, I had to cut most of what I wrote in order to remain within the 300 or so words designated for most devotionals, so the big sprawling storylines allowed by my 90,000 word novels was no problem.

Now that I’ve finished writing KING, and after three-plus years of writing Biblical fantasy, my question to me is… Can I ever return to writing devotionals?

Hmm… Perhaps a collection of Biblical fantasy devotions is in order!

About the Author…

R. J. Larson is the author of numerous devotionals featured in publications such as Women’s Devotional Bible and Seasons of a Woman’s Heart. She lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with her husband and their two sons. Prophet marks her debut in the fantasy genre.

1 comment :

  1. Thanks fro sharing the great excerpt. This book sounds great. Thanks for sharing he giveaway.


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