Beyond the Gloesmur, by Kathleen E. Deisher

beyond-the-gloesmur-by-kathleen-e-deisher coverGenre: Faith Based
Publisher: Lamp Post Publishing
Published: 2002
Reviewer Rating: one and a half stars
Book Review by David Hart

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This book is published by Lamp Post Publishing, which describes itself on its website as a Christian Homeschool Curriculum Store. The book itself is said to be a Juvenile Fantasy Adventure, suitable from upper elementary level to adult. Well perhaps, provided the adult has a mental age of 8. It is very much a children’s book; anyone over the age of 12 would be driven away by its patronizing manner and its relentless preaching. Yes, preaching. This is not ordinary fantasy, but Christian Allegory, and unsubtle allegory at that. Which makes it a curious decision to submit it for review to a SF site!

In case any of you are still reading, the book relates the story of Jondalyn, a spoiled brat of a princess, age 16 but behaves 12. One night a flying horse comes to her bedroom window and carries her off through a mystical glass-like barrier to another country. The nations there that follow The Master, who is called Iyahsu, are about to be attacked by their evil neighbour who serves Iyahsu’s adversary, Shed. For some reason Jondalyn is supposed to be important to both sides, and becomes a member of an expedition to the enemy HQ.

This gives her plenty of scope for brattishness, which in turn gives the author plenty of opportunities for moralizing. All through the book you can hear a voice in the background saying “Well children, that wasn’t very nice of her, was it”. Eventually, in a rather low-grade climax, good is triumphant and everyone lives happily ever after (at least until the sequel).

I have difficulty assessing this book. As a fantasy, even a very-juvenile fantasy, it’s bad: it has little originality, and there is magic only in the sense of divine intervention. It is decades too late for me to be a good choice to review a children’s adventure story. As for the Christian Allegory aspect, it’s not a patch on the adult CS Lewis books “Out of the Silent Planet” and “Voyage to Venus”.

Of course a fairer comparison would be the Narnia books, which I have never read. I suppose if you’re looking for a bedtime story to read to a 4 year old, you could do worse.

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