Make Belief Studios ~

January 26, 2009

Divine Gifts of Yoni Review

Filed under: Reviews — Saturday @ 7:00 pm

Kasshin

It’s been well over a year since I started ECKC’s Divine Gifts of Yoni. It’s a fat book. It doesn’t help that I’m a slow reader, but seriously, it’s over 600 pages long. As a fat book, it is also an expensive book, especially if your shipping that bulk across borders. So was it worth it? For just about 2 years of decent reading, I’d say so.

As usual, I do my best not to try and predict my impressions of indie/amateur works. Getting your hopes up is 90% of the time a fruitless endeavor, this is something I’ve learned from even mainstream media, and as expected in a story as large as TDGY, there are plenty of rough spots. However there were also a lot of parts that were unexpectedly impressive. There was also a consistent spirit behind the writing, although it wasn’t perfect, you clearly knew what the author was trying to interpret. And with a strong main cast, I often found myself choosing to read this book over other mainstream and classic titles I was reading at the time.

So, the Divine Gifts of Yoni: It features two worlds, each with their own set of stories which connect the two together. Each world stars a group of main characters accomplishing various goals and pursuing some kind of crystal/god based prophecy to metamorphose the two worlds. The whole story is honestly a bit blurry and hard to follow as it is stretched far through the many personal dilemmas of the cast. It probably isn’t to the most benefit of the story for the largest aspect of the plot to be so uninvolved, however the personal quests of the characters are interesting and do carry you through the book.

Interestingly enough, the best thing I can compare the story to is fan fiction. Yes, it’s an original story, but it has that “I should be reading this on the internet” vibe. There is indeed a couple anime-esque stereotypes to the story, more so in feeling than content (aside from furry ears, tails, and harem scenarios, of course), but above all I think it’s the fondness the author has for her characters that shows through the pages, giving them a very fan written aura. It also carries the negative aspects of fan fiction, including frequent spelling mistakes, seemingly spontaneously conceived story layout, and segments which just don’t look like the author read through them after writing. This makes it completely worthwhile for me because I enjoy fan fiction, but the feeling is dominant enough that I would recommend that if you don’t like fan fiction, you probably should reconsider paying the 40 bux for this title.

As for the religious aspect, knowing where the author comes from, the connection between Yoni and Jesus are quite apparent in her writings. In the beginning of the story, the random prayers and praises to God seem to be rather bluntly jammed into the dialogue, thankfully however, the belief system get’s much more natural towards the end of the story. However again, unfortunately like many amateur christian authors, ECKC does try to take the CS Lewis approach and not explain the religious system of the characters, it’s just assumed that people get it. The difference from CS Lewis is that the belief system isn’t so much metaphoric as it is just swapping out words. Only people familiar with christian contexts will get it. Even if it’s obvious, it seems rather short sighted of us to offer no explanation for those who are unfamiliar with modern christian beliefs. Especially considering how varied modern Christianity can be. Sometimes it fits in a fantasy novel a little too well. Rather than just assuming that the characters beliefs are christian based because I know the story is from a christian community, I would rather have the story explain the beliefs to me through a culture more native to the worlds of the story.

There’s actually a few things in this book I can really pick on, so I’m just going to go ahead and get them out of the way. Probably one of the larger set backs is the fact that the chapters of this book are 30+ pages apart. They strike me as mostly redundant, especially considering that each chapter has multiple “star star star” breaks signifying time and scene changes. The strange chapter layout works double negatively with the balance of the two-world stories going on. There doesn’t seem to be a real organized sense of timing other than “now’s a good time to cut to…”. Sometimes you spend a chapter cutting back and forth between worlds while other times you spend so much time with one story that you have to backtrack in the book to recall what is going on with the other side. There is also an over abundance of parentheses. In a story where the narrator is already omnipotent, I can’t help but feel it’s just showing off when the brackets come out. The other big problem is the ending… actually I think I’m going to have to reread the ending. It was rather unsatisfying, i’ll leave it at that. The story seems to dissolve rather than resolve. Now I can see this being a benefit if there are going to be sequels but who knows when that might be? However, as I said, the smaller sub-stories tended to overshadow the global plot, so I can’t say whether or not I’m missing out on something terribly exciting. I’m more so dissatisfied in the mood the story went out on.

Now in the book’s defense, which I think its primary benefit is in its readability: it’s a very easy story to just pick up and get lost in. The world immerses you and despite a couple dry spots, it’s a very easy book to keep reading. I wouldn’t say it’s up to the point where you can’t stop reading. Although, yes, there were a few spots where I couldn’t put the book down, but it has a very casual, contemporary flow which doesn’t fatigue you very quickly. The characters again, are quite enjoyable. I can’t say I ever found them to be very deep and layered, it isn’t hard to guess what each one might be thinking, but they do grow and develop with the story and it’s very motivating to witness this. Like any great fantasy novel, the story also has many settings and creatures which are fairly original and overall interesting. In fact, the story reminds me a lot of the Escaflowne movie. Lots of flowy, beautiful, emotional scenes, with random spots of splattered blood and violence to keep the testosterone up. I love that movie.

There’s a lot more details I would still like to go into about this book, but after looking at what I’ve already written, I’ll just cut to the summary. A lot about this book screams “take me to the next level!” but that is what I like about it. It’s an excellent foundational story and it sparks my imagination to think of where the author is going to go from here, whether with these characters which I’ve grown quite attached to, or something entirely new. Like a lot of classical literature it flows great, is entirely rememberable, yet makes you want to seek improvements. More details, better arrangements, new stories, it’s a very inspiring book. If you’re okay with the anime/fan-fiction style of story, I’d recommend that you consider adding this book to your collection. I know it’s quite happy in mine.

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1 Comment »

  1. Nice Blog.

    Its great to see an alternate, kind of obscure blogger.
    Have had a hard time trying to find something like this.

    Comment by Finch Sawyer — January 29, 2009 @ 1:25 am


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