So what's right with Lisa T. Bergren's The Begotten? Many things, most of which may seem minor. But then, most of the points that bothered me are relatively small as well: if I weren't a multifaceted geek, I wouldn't have spotted them and might not care. But the good points I spotted and did care about are worth mentioning.
Characterization and description are well handled. There is only one time (p 314) where I thought characters had switched places--based on hormones, I expected Rune to have Vito's response and vice versa. But considering the size of the cast, that's not bad, and even that case may be justifiable.
There are some minor points that may be coincidence, but if not, they're somewhat clever. For example, the main story takes place in Siena in 1339, eight years before Catherine of Siena was born there. I can't help wondering whether that will come up in a later book, at least indirectly. Second, it's ironic that Siena at that point was ruled by the Nine in a kind of counterpoint to the Gifted, who draw their gifts from among the nine listed in 1 Cor 12:8-10. (For Pentecostals and Charismatics, it's interesting that the two missing from the Gifted's list are tongues and interpretation.)
But one of the most important things about a story is how it ends. I enjoyed the ending of The Begotten (and not in the sarcastic "I enjoyed that it was over" sense), and that improved my overall view of the story. Bergren appears to understand that spiritual problems require spiritual solutions. A lot of Christian writers today try to resolve spiritual matters through human cleverness of some kind, and I even get the impression occasionally that they have to have a physical, mechanistic explanation for anything spiritual. That would make spiritual phenomena just a subset of the natural world, which would agree with what the atheists claim. The fact that Bergren affirms the spiritual is itself important.
Tomorrow I'll tackle the things that yanked on my gag reflex and present my conclusion on the matter.
Other blogs on the tour:
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Todd Michael Greene
John W. Otte
1 year ago