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Elabea and Galadin live in a very suppressive society. They aren’t allowed to learn to read or write, and no one in their village, Hetherlinn, is allowed to keep weapons. They aren’t allowed to play in the meadow on the oak tree, and most of all, they aren’t allowed to speak of Claire, the kingdom that was supposedly destroyed in the Dark War.

When the people in Hetherlinn all receive invitations from someone claiming to be the King of Claire, most of the villagers panic or ignore the parchments. After all, everyone knows that the Cauldron can see all things and knows when the rules are being broken. However, Elabea and Galadin accept the invitations, and so begins a dangerous journey to the land of Claire.

Fantasy has always been a favorite genre of mine, from Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles to Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart trilogy. However, I’ve found that, as of late, fantasy novels have sort of exhausted me, and I’ve been having difficulties just finishing them, let alone enjoying them at all.

I feel that Tears of Min Brock was a breath of fresh air. It was captivating, and J.E. Lowder seems to be a natural story-teller. The world he created was interesting and different.

Some complaints about the fantasy genre would include the fact that they all seem the same, and that there’s very little differentiation when it comes to the creatures. For instance, how many times have ogres or giants or dwarves been used? But here, Lowder has created new creatures, and it’s just very fresh and new.

The first few chapters were a bit confusing, and things didn’t start to make sense until several chapters in, but once things started coming together, this was a very enjoyable read.

Elabea’s father is a drunk, but he is looked down on for it, and later encouraged to stop drinking. There’s also some war violence, fighting, and bloodshed.

There are some magical qualities throughout the story, and you can read my blog post, “Magic, Sorcery, and Wizardry” for more information about what the Bible says about magic. However, you’ll find that I mentioned in that blog post that the author’s intent is a key factor when considering this aspect of a book or movie. J.E. Lowder is a devoted Christian, and
you will see evidence of this in the short Q&A session I had with him over email.

1.) What is it that inspired you to write this series?

Well, I had a crisis of faith which led to me being broken, beaten, defeated, depressed, discouraged…. Get the picture? And in my darkest moment, I cried out to God to show up in a big way, which he did. My circumstances didn’t change, but I discovered a deeper, more intimate fellowship with Christ. As a creative, I wanted to write about my experience, specifically to those not of faith to express, I hope, what it’s like to go through tough times as a believer without the story sounding “Christianese” or preachy.

2.) Is there a character that you feel you relate to especially?

I can relate to Elabea since she will be tested and experience the pain of life, but I’m probably closest in personality to Linwith, Quinn’s brother. This wasn’t planned, but the more I develop his character, the more I pop in for guest cameos. Be afraid. Be VERY afraid 🙂

3.) You mentioned that you were in the process of publishing a third book. Will this be your last installment, or will you be writing more, either in this series or just more books in general?

Yes, I’m really excited about Book III. It was a LOT of fun to write and is where the overall story kicks into high gear. After that, there are 1-2 more books planned. Actually, they’re all written. I’m simply re-writing and tweaking.

4.) I noticed a few aspects of your story that seemed to very much reflect Christian/Biblical things. Can you explain these references (who different characters represent, etc.)?

Good catch but I typically don’t like to specify what this or that represents as I want the reader to pull this out on their own. I will say that there are Biblical themes running throughout the series (see Malachi 4:6. Also, think good vs evil, God’s delight, spiritual warfare, etc.)

5.) Here’s a hard one: what is your favorite book?

That is tough! Per fiction, there are too many to list. But if favorite is defined by what I read most often, then it’s the Bible. Scripture, prayer and great friends were the only things that got me through that season.

6.) What would you say to someone to convince them to read your books?

Have you been through dark times? Are you in a perilous place now? Then I think you’ll enjoy the War of Whispers series, not in that it has answers to your problems or will cure your blues, but in that you’ll be able to relate to the characters. And if you’re lucky, maybe you’ll hear the whisper calling your name.

All in all, this was an excellent read, and I strongly recommend it to anyone!

You can find J.E. Lowder at http://www.jelowder.com. There is also a sample available to read on Good Reads.