The Song of Albion: A Pleasant Surprise!

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsbook review Stephen Lawhead Song of AlbionTHE SONG OF ALBION  by Stephen Lawhead

My husband bought me the The Song of Albion trilogy because Lawhead is a Christian and he thought I should try some “Christian” fantasy. I’m a Christian, but I was reluctant. I tend to avoid Christian fantasy and, until recently, Christian music. If Christians are going to contribute to the arts (or science, or anything else), we need to make sure that our contributions are excellent. We can’t sacrifice the quality of the work just to promote a message. Christian music used to be just awful, but now there is plenty of good stuff out there! (Although I admit that I still prefer Nine Inch Nails.)

But, the books were a loving gift, so I read them, and I was very pleasantly surprised! This is one of those time/place-traveling fantasies — a couple of Oxford grad students stumble upon a door into a time and place that is steeped in Celtic mythology (I learned a lot about that).

The writing is excellent. The story is interesting, meaningful, and epic in scope while still progressing rapidly enough to finish in three books. The story contains all of the elements I look for in a fantasy: vivid description, many interesting and well-developed characters, problems to solve, quests, romance, war, tension, and intrigue. The ending was surprising and satisfying and made clear the overarching Christian theme. That’s an interesting parallel to C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia: modern English folks travel to a different world and we end up with Christian allegory. But, The Song of Albion isn’t for kids.

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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