Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Thorn: A Review

The Thorn, by Daron Fraley
I was able to read The Thorn last year but have had to wait until now to review it. Oh the pains of being an author with friends in high far-off places. Daron’s high and far-off place is the world of Gan.

Now Gan and The Thorn are Speculative writing at its best-why-because you can’t pigeonhole it as anything else and what he has in the book is so compelling.

Faith and a belief in Jesus Christ are paramount to characters motivations but this isn’t a Biblical tale, none of this takes place on Earth. Gan is aware of Earth, this is an important point, but the conflicts affecting the people of Gan are truly their own.

When I first heard about the story I thought it was the genre I call “Sword & Planet”. Gan is a planet with three moons and two blue sun’s, it has a very unusual sword, that is made of a bioluminescent crystal. There are epic struggles between the differing tribes of people jockeying for either power or freedom, but none of this quite makes it Sword & Planet. There are no monsters or magic or far-out gadgetry, and everything is run at roughly a Dark Ages level of technology.

The Thorn itself is the literal symbol of the right to rule and something I really liked about the novel were the roots and influences with classic material. The multiple viewpoints express how different people react to the same situation, in some ways it is a tragedy but there is hope. When things seem their grimmest, the light and guidance of the Other Side can come shining forth. The timeframe of The Thorn was a surprise and yet only gave the novel weight. If you can imagine a cross between Braveheart and the Chronicles of Narnia you may be on the right track, just don‘t expect any talking beavers.

Now this may seem a strange combination, but Daron makes it all work by peopling Gan with great characters, surprising twists and standout examples of courage and faith. No one has written anything quite like this before and that’s why Daron needs to keep doing it.

If you cannot find The Thorn in your local bookstore you can order it Here but check the bookstore first. FTC-Daron is a friend and I had a book before it was ever published.


Kimberly said...

In the short time I've known you I've come to really respect the authenticity of your reviews. So, even though you're friends with the author I'm adding this one to my must read list. Plus, it sounds fascinating and right up my alley.

David J. West said...

Thanks Kim, I still wonder if people like my reviews because I try to say how the book makes me feel without giving any of the story away.

Because to me-if I tell you all the story-why would you want to read it?

TerryLynnJohnson said...

This review makes me want to find the book, though I wouldn't normally read this genre.

David J. West said...

Thanks Terry-it is different.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Oh! I rmember reading about this book on his blog. I'll definitely have to add this one to my list!

P.S. My word verification is "reads."

David J. West said...

Hey Tamara, I'm sure Daron will appreciate that.

Daron D. Fraley said...


Thank you VERY much for this awesome review. You described the book very well, and I appreciate all of your great insights.

Braveheart and Narnia... Awesome! I think that fits quite well. Maybe that should be my new tagline. :)

My thanks to all of your blog readers who commented!

David J. West said...

You're very welcome Daron.

Deborah said...

I'm looking forward to reading it. It's definitely on my reading list.

So when do we get to see yours, David?

David J. West said...

2 Weeks, Deborah, its coming, I haven't forgotten you.

Voidwalker said...

Your description of the story would give me a push to read it... the cover, would not. :(

Am I allowed to be totally honest with you like that?

I hate to say it, but art is very important to me and sets the stage, so I often make my purchases with a very hefty influence from the cover art (Which sometimes sells me short)

It's not a bad picture, but it doesn't appeal to me visually. Does that make sense?

David J. West said...

Void-I hear you loud and clear, there are plenty of books that have awesome covers but are terrible inside.

It is a fact that people do judge books by their covers. EVERYONE who saw my first cover (go back to my July posts) greatly prefers my new cover and so do I-and that was an improvement over the pre-lim one I had seen a month or so before that.

I think you could like The Thorn, it is different and therin is its strength over some books with more eye-catching covers but without anything new inside.

Specualtive books are probably the worst at this, which is why I think sometimes minimalist covers are the better way to present some stories-you know if you can't get Frank Frazetta to do your cover-but then you have to have a book worthy of Frazetta.

And I'm ranting again...