KP Book Review: One of the Few

Will you be one of the few? Jason Ladd, a former Marine fighter pilot, draws a powerful correlation between our Christian search for truth with his own experience in and out of uniform in his book, One of the Few. This semi-autobiography tells the story of Ladd’s journey to Christ as he grappled with the disparity between his preparedness for the role of soldier and the role of husband and father.oneofthefewreview

Throughout his novel, Ladd presents his own journey to Christ with uncommon vulnerability and constant clarity. If you love sugar-coated maxims and prosaic rainbows, then this book is not for you. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Sarah Spradlin
If you’ve ever emailed us at KP, you’ve probably “met” Sarah—a passionate storyteller with a huge heart that loves Jesus and everyone she meets. Sarah grew up in Georgia with her mom, dad, and little sister, Merry, where she attends the University of Georgia, majoring in International Affairs and Agriculture Communication. When she graduates, Sarah wants to help people all over the world succeed in the agriculture industry and tell the all-important story of the farmer. She joined the Kingdom Pen Team as Secretary in September 2013 and now serves as the Director of Community Happiness. Sarah has been homeschooled, private-schooled, and graduated from Madison County High School in May 2015. She attended Summit in July 2015. She’ll read pretty much anything (if she had to pick, though, her favorite author would be Frank Peretti) and has tried her hand at pretty much every kind of writing out there, though she likes writing fiction and poetry best. But because writing bios is a struggle, if you really want to get to know Sarah, shove some words in her general direction via the Forum, on one of the many social medias down below, or through the KP e-mail: kingdompenmag@gmail.com.

KP Book Review: Inkheart

by Cornelia Funke

Every avid reader has dreamed of being able to meet his favorite characters in the books that he’s read.  Mortimer Folchart (Mo) has always dreamed of being able to do the same.  One day, while reading aloud from one of his favorite books, he discovers that he is able to read characters out of the books and into the real world by doing so.  It would have been a magnificent discovery if it weren’t for two problems.  The first is that he makes the mistake of reading the villains out of the book along with the hero.  And the second is that when characters are read out of the book, someone else needs to go in, and so by reading these characters out of the story world, his wife is sucked into it. inkheartreview

Ten years later, the villains of the book he read are still running around the world creating chaos and his twelve-year old daughter Maggie is beginning to demand answers.  [Read more…]

Profile photo of Josiah DeGraaf
Josiah DeGraaf is a high school English teacher and literature nerd who fell in love with stories when he was young and hasn’t fallen out of love ever since.
He writes because he’s fascinated by human motivations. What causes otherwise-good people to make really terrible decisions in their lives? Why do some people have the strength to withstand temptation when others don’t? How do people respond to periods of intense suffering? What does it mean to be a hero?
These questions drive him as a reader, and they drive him as a writer as well as he takes normal people, puts them in crazy situations (did he mention he writes fantasy?), and then forces them to make difficult choices with their lives.
Someday, Josiah hopes to write fantasy novels with worlds as imaginative as Brandon Sanderson’s, characters as complex as Orson Scott Card’s, character arcs as dynamic as Jane Austen’s, themes as deep as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s, and stories as entertaining as Wayne Thomas Batson’s. In the meantime, you can find him writing articles here or short stories at his website (link below) as he works toward achieving these goals.

KP Book Review: Jude the Obscure

What do you do if you find that you made a poor decision in the person you chose to marry?

This is one of the main questions that Jude the Obscure is wrestling with, and one that dominates the main plot of the book.  The story focuses on two characters: Jude, a humble stonemason who dreams of eventually entering college and entering the world of academia, and his cousin Sue, who works as an assistant teacher in a school.  Both characters have large hopes and dreams before they both rashly enter into marriages with poor partners.  And so, after they both find themselves in miserable marriages, as they begin to fall in love with each other instead of their spouses, the question becomes: what do they do next? judetheobscurereview

Without trying to spoil much of what happens next, suffice to say that neither Jude nor Sue end up following biblical commands with regards to the permanence of marriage.  Thomas Hardy, the author of this book, wrote in a postscript to the book that:

“My opinion is that a marriage should be dissolvable as soon as it becomes a cruelty to either of the parties.”

And the book ends up playing that opinion out.  Both characters make rather scathing attacks on the institution of marriage and most of the book seems to view their immoral and foolish choices with approval, which automatically leads to a question:

What is the value of reading this book? [Read more…]

Profile photo of Josiah DeGraaf
Josiah DeGraaf is a high school English teacher and literature nerd who fell in love with stories when he was young and hasn’t fallen out of love ever since.
He writes because he’s fascinated by human motivations. What causes otherwise-good people to make really terrible decisions in their lives? Why do some people have the strength to withstand temptation when others don’t? How do people respond to periods of intense suffering? What does it mean to be a hero?
These questions drive him as a reader, and they drive him as a writer as well as he takes normal people, puts them in crazy situations (did he mention he writes fantasy?), and then forces them to make difficult choices with their lives.
Someday, Josiah hopes to write fantasy novels with worlds as imaginative as Brandon Sanderson’s, characters as complex as Orson Scott Card’s, character arcs as dynamic as Jane Austen’s, themes as deep as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s, and stories as entertaining as Wayne Thomas Batson’s. In the meantime, you can find him writing articles here or short stories at his website (link below) as he works toward achieving these goals.

KP Book Review: Dreamlander

What if, in your dreams, you enter into another world?  What if the world of dreams was set in a fantasy setting with some splashes of steampunk and a growing schism between two warring nations?  What if normally, you and your dreaming self can only remember snatches of the life that you live on the other side?  But what if, unlike all the rest of the populace, you were able to fully remember what goes on in both the waking and dreaming worlds? dreamlanderreviewpost

This is the basic premise of Dreamlander, K.M. Weiland’s third published novel.  The protagonist of the story, Chris Redston, has spent the past several years of his life running away from his responsibilities and duties.  But when he becomes the Gifted—the only person able to remember both worlds—and inadvertently brings destructive forces into the dream world, he’s going to need to learn to take responsibility and learn how to fight if he’s going to save both worlds from crossing into each other and destroying themselves. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Josiah DeGraaf
Josiah DeGraaf is a high school English teacher and literature nerd who fell in love with stories when he was young and hasn’t fallen out of love ever since.
He writes because he’s fascinated by human motivations. What causes otherwise-good people to make really terrible decisions in their lives? Why do some people have the strength to withstand temptation when others don’t? How do people respond to periods of intense suffering? What does it mean to be a hero?
These questions drive him as a reader, and they drive him as a writer as well as he takes normal people, puts them in crazy situations (did he mention he writes fantasy?), and then forces them to make difficult choices with their lives.
Someday, Josiah hopes to write fantasy novels with worlds as imaginative as Brandon Sanderson’s, characters as complex as Orson Scott Card’s, character arcs as dynamic as Jane Austen’s, themes as deep as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s, and stories as entertaining as Wayne Thomas Batson’s. In the meantime, you can find him writing articles here or short stories at his website (link below) as he works toward achieving these goals.

The Great Gatsby

By Christine Eaton

If you are like most high school students, the Great Gatsby is on your reading list: why?  Is it to experience a masterpiece of literary genius or is there something more to this novel?  In 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote this story, which is a staunch example of the frivolity of life without Christ as the foundation. Wealth, power, vanity, and adulterous relationships are the four core elements that drive the characters and plot of The Great Gatsby.  GreatGatsbyThroughout the story, it is shown how the characters felt secure in their way of life, how they let their own desires and impulses lead them, and how they twisted the morals they did have to fit in with their sinful lifestyle. In the end, they found that their world had collapsed because they did not have a proper foundation. Matthew 7:26-27 says “and everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against the house, and it fell. And great was the fall of it.” [ESV] this verse is the perfect description of the life of Fitzgerald’s main character, Jay Gatsby. [Read more…]

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Christine Eaton is a student at Providence Christian College who loves stories and hopes to publish children’s books. Wearing flip-flops in December, frequenting the beach, and taking every opportunity to visit Disneyland, Christine relishes living in sunny Southern California. She can usually be found happily sipping tea, memorizing lines from the latest play she is a part of, caving into her addiction to chocolate, writing encouraging snail mail, or listening to music, which is usually something folky like Andrew Peterson or the Gray Havens, or some Broadway musical (and rarely anything landing between those two categories.) Art is one of her largest passions, and her walls are covered in her sketches and paintings. Christine yearns to use her skills to glorify God by illustrating and writing her own children’s books that will teach children more about Jesus. Some of her favorite authors include A.S. Peterson, Francine Rivers, Louisa May Alcott, and Andrew Peterson. She is so thankful for the opportunity to manage Kingdom Pen’s social media accounts and help out around the Kingdom wherever she can. From the encouragement, enthusiastic young Christian writers, and her fellow staff members, KP holds a huge place in her heart and she is excited about encouraging young writers to write well and glorify God through their writing.

KP Book Review: Crime and Punishment

by Fyodor Doestoevsky

You don’t need to read that much into the book to learn what its plot is: it’s a story about a Russian axe-murderer who kills an old lady who runs a pawnshop seemingly for money and afterwards tries to hide what he did from the authorities.  It’s a shocking premise, and yet the depth and complexity of this book has made it a lasting member in the list of the classics, as well as being perhaps one of the greatest Christian novels of all time. c&ppinterest

Since the murder of the old woman happens within the first sixth of the book, the whole rest of the book is focused on the mind of the murderer, Raskolnikov, and this is where the full genius and depth of the book really comes in.  When Doestoevsky initially wrote this book, he told his publisher that he intended it to be the psychological account of a crime that was committed by a young man who “had submitted to strange ‘incomplete’ ideas which float on the wind,” and that certainly comes out.  Crime and Punishment explores the complexities of human psychology within the mind of a murderer like few other books do and portrays rather keenly how destructive a vice pride really is.

What is perhaps most interesting about the book from a literary perspective is its use of foil characters.  Foil characters are minor characters who are similar to the main character in many ways—but who also have major differences that end up having a lot of relevance in the overall scope of the book.  In Crime and Punishment, Doestoevsky uses a plethora of foil characters to show the readers different examples of who Raskolnikov could turn out to be depending on the choices he makes.  Is he going to become like one of his noble friends, or one of his less savory acquaintances?  The book makes for an interesting study of foil characters, so if you’re a fiction writer looking to make more use of them in your story, this is a good book to study. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Josiah DeGraaf
Josiah DeGraaf is a high school English teacher and literature nerd who fell in love with stories when he was young and hasn’t fallen out of love ever since.
He writes because he’s fascinated by human motivations. What causes otherwise-good people to make really terrible decisions in their lives? Why do some people have the strength to withstand temptation when others don’t? How do people respond to periods of intense suffering? What does it mean to be a hero?
These questions drive him as a reader, and they drive him as a writer as well as he takes normal people, puts them in crazy situations (did he mention he writes fantasy?), and then forces them to make difficult choices with their lives.
Someday, Josiah hopes to write fantasy novels with worlds as imaginative as Brandon Sanderson’s, characters as complex as Orson Scott Card’s, character arcs as dynamic as Jane Austen’s, themes as deep as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s, and stories as entertaining as Wayne Thomas Batson’s. In the meantime, you can find him writing articles here or short stories at his website (link below) as he works toward achieving these goals.

KP Book Review: The Christian Imagination

by Leland Ryken

Looking for a book that takes a deep look into how our Christian faith should integrate into our practice of writing?  I read this book two years ago and it has already become pretty much my go-to source on the different questions that I wrestle with concerning this topic. ChristianImagination

In this book, Ryken has put together a collection of essays that address many different aspects of writing: from what a Christian philosophy of literature is, to why Christian fiction can become weak, to how Christians should portray evil, and even how to write good poetry.  Each of the ten parts of the book have several long essays on the given topic, a couple shorter parts of longer essays, and most also end with a collection of quotes from different writers concerning the topic, leading to a look at these issues that manages to be both wide and deep. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Josiah DeGraaf
Josiah DeGraaf is a high school English teacher and literature nerd who fell in love with stories when he was young and hasn’t fallen out of love ever since.
He writes because he’s fascinated by human motivations. What causes otherwise-good people to make really terrible decisions in their lives? Why do some people have the strength to withstand temptation when others don’t? How do people respond to periods of intense suffering? What does it mean to be a hero?
These questions drive him as a reader, and they drive him as a writer as well as he takes normal people, puts them in crazy situations (did he mention he writes fantasy?), and then forces them to make difficult choices with their lives.
Someday, Josiah hopes to write fantasy novels with worlds as imaginative as Brandon Sanderson’s, characters as complex as Orson Scott Card’s, character arcs as dynamic as Jane Austen’s, themes as deep as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s, and stories as entertaining as Wayne Thomas Batson’s. In the meantime, you can find him writing articles here or short stories at his website (link below) as he works toward achieving these goals.

KP Book Review: Sword in the Stars

by Wayne Thomas Batson

The book begins like a stereotypical fantasy novel: with a character who is prophesied to find the “chosen one” figure of this universe.  Only problem is, the prophesied finder of the chosen one is a drunkard and when all the other signs of the prophesy line up, he is unable to actually find the chosen one. Book_ReviewSwordinthestars

From there, we then proceed to the main plot of the story, involving a murderous hostile nation that is bent on destroying the main nations of the world.  But make no mistake: this novel is largely not driven by plot.  The gems of the book are found in the fascinating world that Batson slowly sets up over the course of this book and the different characters that dominate the main storyline.

It’s about a man who struggles against an addiction to drink, a sarcastic and virtuous maiden, an optimistic king who just wants to bring peace to the realm, and another determined king who always sticks hard and fast to obeying the commandments of the God of this fantasy world.  In a book that largely serves as a prelude to the rest of Batson’s planned-seven-book series, it’s a book that is driven by characters but has an entertaining and twisting plot nonetheless. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Josiah DeGraaf
Josiah DeGraaf is a high school English teacher and literature nerd who fell in love with stories when he was young and hasn’t fallen out of love ever since.
He writes because he’s fascinated by human motivations. What causes otherwise-good people to make really terrible decisions in their lives? Why do some people have the strength to withstand temptation when others don’t? How do people respond to periods of intense suffering? What does it mean to be a hero?
These questions drive him as a reader, and they drive him as a writer as well as he takes normal people, puts them in crazy situations (did he mention he writes fantasy?), and then forces them to make difficult choices with their lives.
Someday, Josiah hopes to write fantasy novels with worlds as imaginative as Brandon Sanderson’s, characters as complex as Orson Scott Card’s, character arcs as dynamic as Jane Austen’s, themes as deep as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s, and stories as entertaining as Wayne Thomas Batson’s. In the meantime, you can find him writing articles here or short stories at his website (link below) as he works toward achieving these goals.