Monday, July 26, 2010

My Review of Open Country

Here's a brief description of the book from Barnes & Noble's website:

The award-winning Blood Rose trilogy continues in a bold romance of the Old West by the author of Pieces of Sky.

From a "truly original new voice in historical fiction"* (New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas) comes the second novel in a passionate new saga of the three Wilkins brothers, living and loving on the dangerous American frontier. It's a tale of unlikely romance in an unforgiving land, where the greatest reward awaits those with the will to overcome all obstacles."

My Review:

While I'm giving this book a review, I must say that I didn't actually finish this book (which is why I won't give it a rating). There were a couple of reasons why I gave up on the book, which I would like to share with you.

First of all, there are a lot of swear words in this book. Several characters were taking the Lord's name in vain, and there were a couple of other swear words that were used rather frequently. Second, there were a couple of inappropriate/unnecessary scenes that I came across in just the first part of the book.

That being said, I was really intrigued by the characters and the plot. Warner's writing is engaging, and I appreciated the action that drew me into the story right away. However, I feel that there is a way to handle gritty emotions and real situations with authenticity without dragging the reader through the gutter, so to speak. I would cite author Julie Lessman as an example of how someone can tactfully handle "edgy" situations.

I "met" Kaki Warner on Seekerville, so when I saw this book of hers at Borders a while ago, I decided to give it a try. And while I think from what I read that her writing is good, I did not enjoy her use of language and inappropriate scenes, so I cannot recommend it.

*I should also say that I am aware this is not a Christian fiction book.*


Kav said...

Thanks for being frank, Amber. I find offensive language in books really frustrating too. This is one of the reasons I'm thrilled to have discovered Christian fiction. There's no shortage of stories and I'm finding the additional spiritual threads add a depth to the books that you don't find in the secular published ones. I've been reading Christian fiction pretty much exclusively (except for a few YA) for over a year now and I'm not looking back. I can't keep up with the wonderful books available.

Amber S. said...


You're welcome. :) Like I said in the review, I didn't think her writing was bad. In fact, it was rather engaging. I just didn't appreciate those negative aspects I mentioned, so I gave up. I probably shouldn't have even got the book to begin with knowing that there was a good chance I would come across some not-so-good stuff.

I completely agree that there's a whole selection of Christian fiction books that seems to never end--many unique and inspiring books. As an English major, I have to read a lot of well-known literature, some of which contains dark themes and inappropriate sections. So I stick to Christian fiction for the most part when I'm reading for fun, because I love it! It's encouraging and clean.

Thank you for your thoughts and I concur with your statement: "I'm not looking back. I can't keep up with the wonderful books available." I loved the cover of this book and wanted to give it a shot, but I think my foray outside the Christian fiction genre will be short-lived! ;)


Vince said...

Hi Amber S.

I did read all of “Open Country” and it drove me nuts for a good part of the book. I couldn’t figure out how to read the book. I soon discovered that it wasn’t Christian fiction. Then I discovered that it wasn’t a typical romance. Then I discovered that it wasn’t even an atypical romance. Then I discovered that it was very rough -- even as a realistic western. Finally I decided that it was a mainstream book with a romance in it. I still cannot figure out who the target audience for the book is.

The book is exceptional however and I will give it 5 Stars when I figure out how to review it. Nevertheless, there are a lot of people who should not read it. I can sure agree with you on this.


Amber S. said...


Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I remember Kaki being featured on Seekerville, so I thought I would give this book a try when I saw it at Borders,'s definitely not Christian fiction! There were many times when the Lord's name was used in vain, and overall I can agree with your deduction that it is "a mainstream book with a romance in it." Of course, I didn't actually finish the book, but I'll take your word for it! ;)

I also agree that the book was well-written and engaging, so I could see where your 5 star review would come from. Thank you again for taking the time to comment!


Vince said...

Hi Amber:

I enjoyed your poem “Seasons of Humility”
It made me think of the T.S. Eliot passage below:

“APRIL is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.”

I think our view of April depends on which side of April we find ourselves.

A Satori on Your Poem

God is near; near as everywhere.
The great cycle spins
nothing less than goings coming.
We see symbols in the seasons
Watch for changes --
give them reasons.
It’s all feeling,
outside of time,
well beyond
the boundaries
of our mind.

God is near; near as everywhere.
But everywhere extends
to the end of there.
Outside of time.
Outside of mind.
God’s point of reference
is the difference.

Amber S. said...

Wow, Vince!

I'm glad you liked my poem, and I hope it was encouraging to you. :)

Thank you for sharing the T.S. Eliot passage, adn for sharing the "satori" on my poem! I feel horrible to think that I'm an English major and I'm not really familiar with that word! Well, you learn something new everyday, I guess. ;)

Thanks again, Vince! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!


P.S. Thanks for becoming a follower, too! :)