Book Review: The Shadow Lamp

13 Nov

548078The quest for answers—and ultimate survival—hinges on finding the cosmic link between the Skin Map, the Shadow Lamp, and the Spirit Well.

The search for the map of blue symbols began in a rainy alley in London but has since expanded through space and time and includes more seekers.

Kit, Mina, Gianni, Cass, Haven, and Giles have gathered in Mina’s 16th-century coffee house and are united in their determination to find a path back to the Spirit Well. Yet, with their shadow lamps destroyed and key pieces of the map still missing, the journey will be far more difficult than they imagine. And when one of their own disappears with Sir Henry’s cryptic Green Book, they no longer know who to trust.

At the same time, the Zetetic Society has uncovered a terrifying secret which, if proven, will rock the very foundations of Creation. The quest for answers is no longer limited to recovering an unknown treasure. The fate of the universe depends on unraveling the riddle of the Skin Map.

Learn more about the author, Stephen Lawhead, HERE.

My Impressions:

First off, you must read books 1-3 in the Bright Empires series before you read The Shadow Lamp. Lawhead does a good job of catching the reader up in each successive book, but it is good only for reminding us what is going on. Don’t skip the first books or you could become as hopelessly clueless as Kit in his early ley travel. (To learn more about the series, click HERE.)

Now then, I loved books one and three. Thought book two was just ok. Well, I am afraid that is my opinion of The Shadow Lamp. There are new and interesting characters, the focus of the quest narrows, and the characters unite behind their cause. But there are still some threads that Lawhead puts into the story that seem to go nowhere. I hope that in the fifth and final book, The Fatal Tree, we will finally figure out where all this is going.

There is also a good bit of discussion about the science and purpose of all the time or ley travel that is going on. I tend to glaze over when this occurs. I know some love this, but I had a difficult time discerning between actual scientific theories and what the author is dreaming up. I don’t know if I am just not smart enough or maybe just too impatient.

I did notice that as the characters become more and more concerned about the End of Everything, the  annihilation of all things created, the book becomes darker. Ley travelers encounter pirate attacks, invading armies, and severe weather events. And one of the sweetest characters is brutally attacked, though his loving response may be the redemption we are looking for.

So should you read The Shadow Lamp? By all means. The good outshines the just ok. But I think it is helpful to keep a few scripture verses in mind —

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. Colossians 1:17 (NASB)

The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9 (NASB)

(Thanks to Thomas Nelson for my review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

But don’t take my word for it, check out what my fellow travelers think:

Julie Bihn
Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Thomas Fletcher Booher
Jeff Chapman
Karri Compton
Theresa Dunlap
April Erwin
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Becky Jesse
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Rebekah Loper
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirriam Neal
Writer Rani
Nathan Reimer
Chawna Schroeder
Jojo Sutis
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Rachel Wyant
Phyllis Wheeler
Deborah Wilson

4 Responses to “Book Review: The Shadow Lamp”

  1. Rebecca LuElla Miller November 13, 2013 at 10:03 pm #

    I’m with you on this, Beckie. I didn’t think this was the best of the four. I’m not a science person and my eyes glazed over a bit, too. I went back and read some so I could write about it, but it’s a stretch for me. I will say, I went on line to see if science had in fact decided that the universe acceleration had slowed. That was a theory some years back but now they actually think it has sped up. For what it’s worth! 🙄

    Good observation about the darker tone. I hadn’t considered that.


  2. Robert Treskillard November 15, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

    The invading armies that Haven and Giles encounter confused me. Was that some form of laser weapons, or rockets, or what crashing around them? That seemed totally out of place with the technology of the invading army. I’m sure there is an explanation for that, and I’m also sure that Lawhead has something *very* important up his sleeve with that scene, so we’ll have to see!

    • rbclibrary November 15, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

      I was confused as well. I guess in a different universe, the Mongols or whoever they were could have had advanced tech. Was hoping we would get back to them in this book, but alas . . . . Thanks for stopping by. Looking forward to your book next month. 🙂


  1. The Shadow Lamp by Stephen Lawhead – CSFF Blog Tour, Day 1 | A Christian Worldview of Fiction - November 13, 2013

    […] √ Julie Bihn Red Bissell √ √ Thomas Clayton Booher √ Thomas Fletcher Booher √ √ √ Beckie Burnham √ Jeff Chapman √ Karri Compton Theresa Dunlap April Erwin √ √ √ […]

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