Sunday, December 14, 2008

Review: The Book of Names by D. Barkley Briggs

Haydn and Ethan Barlow lost their mother to cancer a year ago. Both boys are still struggling to come to terms with life without her. After their mother’s death, their father moved the teen boys and their 9-year-old twin brothers to a secluded farm in Newland, Missouri. While clearing a large briar patch at the edge of their property, Haydn and Ethan discover an ancient stone arch covered with mysterious runes. The arch acts as a portal between worlds. Ethan and Haydn find themselves transported to Karac Tor, a world in crisis.

In Karac Tor, a person’s name is their greatest treasure. The names and deeds of each person who will ever live in Karac Tor are recorded in the Book of Names, but recently names have been disappearing from the book. Children from all over Karac Tor have gone missing – simply vanishing into the night.

The boys just want to find a way home, but some in Karac Tor believe that Hadyn and Ethan are an answer to prayer; that the boys are Champions to deliver them from the growing evil. The brothers quickly find themselves pursued by the evil forces that they’re being asked to fight.

The Book of Names starts out rather sluggishly, but once Hadyn and Ethan arrive in Karac Tor, the book is difficult to put down. Ethan and Hadyn are both extremely likeable and believable characters. They’re very scared when they arrive in Karac Tor, and I found this to be refreshing. Neither brother jumps right into a hero’s role. They’re regular teenagers who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances, and their reaction to this is quite appropriate.

I thought that the book peaked a little too soon. There is a very exciting battle towards the end of the book, and this is then followed by several chapters of traveling. While the book ultimately ends with a great cliffhanger, I felt the lull in between disrupted the flow of the story a little.

The Book of Names is provides a promising start for this new young adult fantasy series. It also conveys an excellent underlying Christian message, but at no time does it feel preachy. This would be an ideal choice for teenage boys, as they will probably relate to one or both of the main characters.

Rating: 8/10.

Buy The Book of Names:
Indiebound | Powell's | Amazon


  1. At the beginning of your description, the plot reminded me of the Narnia books which have a Christian theme too.

  2. I keep thinking this is going to be an interesting book to read. Most of the reviews have been good.

  3. I sometimes hate books becoming sluggish :) but then it is alright if the interesting part is worth the wait:)