Official Review: Lies in the Shadows by Jessica Schaub

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Haute_Coffee
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Official Review: Lies in the Shadows by Jessica Schaub

Post by Haute_Coffee » 23 Apr 2018, 13:20

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Lies in the Shadows" by Jessica Schaub.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Lies in the Shadows is a Christian fantasy novel by Jessica Schaub. Set in the kingdom of Evania, it tells the story of King Julius, who must protect his kingdom during a series of heinous attacks in the surrounding lands. Terrified that his people will be next, King Julius must discover who is behind the onslaught and how to stop them, all while concealing a secret that could mean the end of his crown.

I know seeing “Christian” in the book description will make some people shy away from this book. Don’t. There are many examples of truly excellent fantasy out there (Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings) that have Christian themes but can still be enjoyed by any audience. This is one of them. Whittled down to its bare bones, it is a story about good versus evil. It also explored themes such as the roles of men and women, fate versus free will, and sacrificing your personal gain for the greater good. In other words, don’t judge a book by its religion.

Upon finding out that nearby settlers are being terrorized and kidnapped, King Julius of Evania becomes determined to stop the attacks. Working with other neighboring lands, he soon comes to the conclusion that it is the work of evil shapeshifters called Leviathans. The Leviathans take the form of large animals to defeat their human victims and they are defined by a lot of classic monster tropes- they require blood, they turn their victims by biting them, and they can only be defeated by pure silver. Many of the inhabitants of this world believe Leviathans to be only folklore (and who can blame them), but King Julius has heard the stories of his ancestor defeating them. He believes the attacks on his neighbors are the work of these evil creatures, and trusting in the True One will help him defeat them.

As if things weren’t difficult enough, King Julius soon discovers that the heavy secret he carries with him is not the only one in his family. When the family history that has been hidden from him is finally revealed, he learns more about evil than he bargained for. The Christian themes come in to play here as the evil “Woman of the Gate” joins the cast of characters and the assistance of the pure White Dove is necessary for King Julius to overcome her.

I enjoyed this story a great deal, especially after the exposition was finished. One problem that I find is common to fantasy stories is that there is a lot of necessary world-building, especially if the author is introducing their own types of creatures such as here. There needs to be enough description so the reader isn’t lost, but I find it usually slows the pace of the story. Lies in the Shadows was no exception, but once the story hit its stride, it was hard to put it down.

One surprise was that there was a bit of feminism included in this book. When I hear “Christian,” I automatically think traditional, but a theme of this story was women in leadership. A large part of this story explored whether a woman needs to give up her femininity to be a good leader and the differences in how women and men show strength. It was a very interesting thread to explore and the author draws her own conclusions at the end.

I gave Lies in the Shadows three out of four stars. It was a bit slow to start but once the pace improved, it became riveting. I enjoyed the character development of King Julius and the growth he showed by the end of the novel. Lies in the Shadows is a great choice for lovers of the fantasy genre.

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Lies in the Shadows
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Post by stacie k » 23 Apr 2018, 23:45

I love your reference to the Chronicles of Narnia, and your point to not judge a book by its religion. I’m definitely interested in reading this book after your introduction. Thanks for a great review!
“The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable.” Proverbs 15:2a

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Post by MsTri » 24 Apr 2018, 00:27

"Don't judge a book by its religion!" I LOVE it, ha-ha-ha! If you've ever scrolled through my list of reviews, you know that I actually adore spiritually-based book, whether fiction or non-, so that's definitely not an issue with me... I especially like books that seem secular, but have a definite underlying, "religious" slant to them; in addition to the books you mentioned (and The Chronicles of Narnia is def a fave!), I also want to toss out the Matrix movie trilogy...but I digress.

This truly does sound like one heck of a book. I no longer read fantasy books, but this sounds like it would definitely be an exception. Shapeshifter characters are some of my faves, as are vampires... Thanks SO much for the wonderful review and introduction to a book that will surely go down as one of my favorites.

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Post by Libs_Books » 24 Apr 2018, 13:17

I like the sound of this book - you're dead right about the problems caused by the need to build a world, but I'm prepared to put up with a bit of that for a good story.

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Post by Kjb139 » 24 Apr 2018, 16:37

Great review!! I’ll be reading this book thanks to you and no doubt it will be one of my favorites!!!

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Post by Haute_Coffee » 25 Apr 2018, 06:58

Libs_Books wrote:
24 Apr 2018, 13:17
I like the sound of this book - you're dead right about the problems caused by the need to build a world, but I'm prepared to put up with a bit of that for a good story.
Yes, this book has a little twist at the start that got my attention and then slowed a little but there’s not much you can do about that! I think it’s fun when there are “new” creatures incorporated.

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Post by Haute_Coffee » 25 Apr 2018, 06:59

Kjb139 wrote:
24 Apr 2018, 16:37
Great review!! I’ll be reading this book thanks to you and no doubt it will be one of my favorites!!!
I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think!

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Post by Haute_Coffee » 25 Apr 2018, 07:00

MsTri wrote:
24 Apr 2018, 00:27
"Don't judge a book by its religion!" I LOVE it, ha-ha-ha! If you've ever scrolled through my list of reviews, you know that I actually adore spiritually-based book, whether fiction or non-, so that's definitely not an issue with me... I especially like books that seem secular, but have a definite underlying, "religious" slant to them; in addition to the books you mentioned (and The Chronicles of Narnia is def a fave!), I also want to toss out the Matrix movie trilogy...but I digress.

This truly does sound like one heck of a book. I no longer read fantasy books, but this sounds like it would definitely be an exception. Shapeshifter characters are some of my faves, as are vampires... Thanks SO much for the wonderful review and introduction to a book that will surely go down as one of my favorites.
I love shapeshifters too! And these things were like vampires and zombies too. Fun to read about a new kind of monster!

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Post by Haute_Coffee » 25 Apr 2018, 07:01

stacie k wrote:
23 Apr 2018, 23:45
I love your reference to the Chronicles of Narnia, and your point to not judge a book by its religion. I’m definitely interested in reading this book after your introduction. Thanks for a great review!
Thanks for reading!

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Post by mafel 246 » 27 Apr 2018, 02:40

I appreciated your reference to the Chronicles of Narnia, and your emphatic statement not to judge a book by its religion. I’m definitely interested in reading this book after your introduction

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Post by Sahani Nimandra » 27 Apr 2018, 04:30

The genre is not my most favourite but the synopsis sounds appealing. Worth the try. After all, lost in a world of fantasy is a far great spirit of the mind. Thank you!
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Post by kandscreeley » 27 Apr 2018, 08:29

This does sound like quite an interesting read. It's fascinating that you compare it to Lord of the Rings or Chronicles of Narnia! I did enjoy those stories, but not as much as pure science fiction. So, I'm unsure about whether I would enjoy this one especially with the slow start. Thanks for the information, though!
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Post by Haute_Coffee » 27 Apr 2018, 12:04

mafel 246 wrote:
27 Apr 2018, 02:40
I appreciated your reference to the Chronicles of Narnia, and your emphatic statement not to judge a book by its religion. I’m definitely interested in reading this book after your introduction
I loved Narnia so much! I hope you enjoy this one.

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Post by Haute_Coffee » 27 Apr 2018, 12:04

Sahani Nimandra wrote:
27 Apr 2018, 04:30
The genre is not my most favourite but the synopsis sounds appealing. Worth the try. After all, lost in a world of fantasy is a far great spirit of the mind. Thank you!
Let me know how you like it! I’d love to hear your opinion.

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Post by Kat Berg » 28 Apr 2018, 19:37

This actually sounds pretty interesting to me. I am so hesitant when it comes to "Christian" books, primarily because so very few are in the realm of LOR or Narnia. But this one sounds promising, and I love the questions it asks about women in leadership. At the very least it makes me want to read a sample to see if it grabs me. Thanks for the review.

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