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Q: What do you get if you throw sci-fi, fantasy, history, and a smattering of theology together into a 300-page novel?
A: The Thorn by Daron Fraley.
When I first heard about The Thorn back in February, I was apprehensive about reading it because I worried that like many books with a religious theme, the theological ideas would overwhelm the plot, characters, and general storytelling. And though I’m fine with religious elements and characters in books, often they turn good novels and stories into sermons—something that I have a difficult time reading.
Thankfully The Thorn doesn’t fall into this trap. Though a religious idea is the starting point for the novel, Fraley does a good job of making the theology a subtle part of the story and does it in such a way that someone who doesn’t believe in the idea won’t be turned off by it.
The novel’s biggest strength is its descriptions of people and places. You can see the world of Gan, it’s towns and countryside as well as the people like you are watching a movie. In the descriptions you’ll also find a plethora of symbolism woven throughout. Each chapter was like going on your own little treasure hunt to see what symbols Fraley was hiding. The battle scenes were well done without being overly gruesome.
There are a few places where the narrative feels a bit forced in order for meet some of the theological aspects of the books and a few events that seemed a little too coincidental. But these are minor complaints for an otherwise enjoyable book.
Because The Thorn seamlessly blends several genres together it’s hard to classify let along say who I’d recommend it to. However, you should be able to read the first two or three chapters and get an idea of this book is something you’d enjoy. Fraley’s prose and descriptions are good enough that you should make it that far. You can read the first chapter of The Thorn here.
4 stars (out of 5) for The Thorn by Daron Fraley