The Kingdom: Here Be Dragons, Here Be Dreams by Joanne Rolston. JKR Publishing. 311 Pages.
This was another book designated to me as part of a thread on Goodreads for those interested in Christian Speculative Fiction. I’m blessed to be a part of that thread, both as someone whose able to contribute manuscripts and someone who reviews other people’s work. Most of all, I get exposed to a variety of authors and different approaches to Christian literature. This was no exception.
The category is Christian Speculative Fiction, and most of what I’ve read up to this point has been either science fiction or fantasy, often with the spirituality that makes it “Christian” added in the last ten percent of the book. I’ve written before about my issues with writers who either write Christian books that aren’t entertaining, or Christian fiction books that aren’t really Christian. This is both. What Joanne Rolston has done here has compiled a memoir of her own spiritual journey, as well as that of her ancestors in her native New Zealand, and packaged it in a fantasy vision of the kingdom of God which includes the Almighty as the King, Satan as the Dragon, and myriad pitfalls and challenges that would go with such a universe. It’s a bit confusing and off-putting at first, as one tries to jump from one reality to the other. At the same time, the conversations that happen between Joanne and the King are personal, honest and are raw spiritual fodder that make the book well worth reading.
In addition, the book gets better and better the further you go. I got the impression that, as a memoir, much of what was written was composed as it happened. That’s great for keeping it fresh. But the downside of that is having perspective once you get to the end. What might have seemed significant early on might not be later. The writing seems more polished later in the book as well.
I consider this book a “diamond in the rough.” I say that because the ebook version I had was subject to myriad formatting issues (which I have been assured will be fixed soon) and could have stood for an objective editor to tighten up the prose. But the spectacular spiritual message still shines forth, nevertheless, and I recommend it if you are looking for either a Christian memoir or just something different to help you on your spiritual journey.
I give it three stars out of five.