Once again, a review has introduced me to a book series with which I was unfamiliar. As part of the TOS Crew, we were asked to review two books from the Tales from Terrestria series by evangelist Ed Dunlop. This is a stand-alone series that is a companion to the Terrestria Chronicles. We were sent books one and four, The Quest for Thunder Mountain and The Isle of Dragons.
After reviewing the books, I would gauge them at late elementary – middle school level. They are well written with classically crafted stories. I was put off a bit by the layout style, as there are virtually no margins on the pages. It made it difficult for me to read. I don’t know why this layout type was chosen, but it is nonstandard and I found it distracting.
On to the books…I do hope my son will be willing to read these at some point. The genre doesn’t particularly appeal to him, but again, that is personal preference. Know up front that the stories are allegories and while I love allegories and these stories are well written, the message is too thinly veiled for my taste. With King Emmanuel, the Mountains of Difficulty and such in the first book, I found myself wanting to have to think about the allegory aspect a little more – when it is so plainly stated, it does lose some effect. I found it more effectively presented in book four. (This aspect may increase the books’ appeal for children however.)
Having said that, I do believe the books can be used as evangelical tools, especially for young people who will pick up an adventure story but have not been introduced to the Bible. In writing this review, I just realized why this style seemed familiar. When I was elementary/early middle school age, I remember a series of comic books from our school library (I went to a Christian school) that were written almost as the graphic novel version of Gospel tracts. The stories were designed to be relevant but the allegories were thin (or not hidden at all) by design. That may be the case here. In any event, do consider these for the adventure story lover in your household or neighborhood. The stories can certainly open the door for a deeper conversation and on their own, supply a solid explanation of Biblical principles.
We received two books for review. I was not compensated. My opinions are my own.