Monday, December 29, 2008

A Song in Stone

It's a funny thing that in order to talk about faith in a non-depressing way you either need to write a genre book, appealing to a specific religion; a vague book, talking about faith, but never mentioning in what; or setting your book in a different world (fantasy) or time (both fantasy & science fiction). A Song in Stone takes your standard "Knights Templar have all the secrets to the universe" genre and adds a time travel twist to it. Ian Graham is a normal modern man, rarely thinking of faith, religion or anything beyond his own life. When he is thrust into the role of an initiate Knight his whole existence is one of miracles, faith and belief.
While the book was well-written and tightly paced, I felt short-changed by the lack of thought by the main character about his plight. Writing time-travel books is tricky, explanations tend to high-light plot holes instead of resolving them. But explaining by not explaining is even worse. Vague pronouncements about Ian being "chosen" and two parts of a whole are window dressing for a character who has a profoundly moving experience, but isn't moved.
What good are visions of loved ones reaffirming faith if a change of heart does not come with it?
Perhaps it is the religious person in me, but I feel that the ponderings and meditations of the main character should lead to some sort of change. There is some superficial acceptance of his predicament, allowing him to continue the plot to its conclusion but the lack of a deep conversion leaves that conclusion weak and unsatisfying.

A Song in Stone. Walter Hunt. Wizards of the Coast. 2008

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