Monday, August 3, 2015

REVIEW: The Skin Map by Stephen R Lawhead

The Skin Map 
Bright Empires: The Skin Map (1)

by Stephen R Lawhead

Genre(s): Fantasy, Sci-fi, Christian Fiction
Pages: 448
Published:  March 2013 (originally Published 2010)
Publisher: Lion Hudson Plc

Summary:  "It is the ultimate quest for the ultimate treasure. Chasing a map tattooed on human skin. Across an omniverse of intersecting realities. To unravel the future of the future.

Kit Livingstone's great-grandfather appears to him in a deserted alley during a tumultuous storm. He reveals an unbelievable story: that the ley lines throughout Britain are not merely the stuff of legend or the weekend hobby of deluded cranks, but pathways to other worlds. To those who know how to use them, they grant the ability to travel the multi-layered universe of which we ordinarily inhabit only a tiny part.

One explorer knew more than most. Braving every danger, he toured both time and space on voyages of heroic discovery. Ever on his guard and fearful of becoming lost in the cosmos, he developed an intricate code--a roadmap of symbols--that he tattooed onto his own body. This Skin Map has since been lost in time. Now the race is on to recover all the pieces and discover its secrets.

But the Skin Map itself is not the ultimate goal. It is merely the beginning of a vast and marvelous quest for a prize beyond imagining.

The Bright Empires series--from acclaimed author Stephen R. Lawhead--is a unique blend of epic treasure hunt, ancient history, alternate realities, cutting-edge physics, philosophy, and mystery. The result is a page-turning, adventure like no other."
ReviewThis book was simply an alright read. It was not bad, but I can't say that I really enjoyed it either. The writing was a bit dry for a fair share of the book and several parts of the books seem a muddled at time. But the concept is an interesting one. Then again, I am a sucker for time-travel stories.

It starts off with Kit meeting his (great?) grandfather and finds himself in another place and time. At first skeptical, upon returning home he knows it to be real. But when he tries to prove it ti his girlfriend, Wilhelmina, things take an unexpected turn and she is separated from him.

With the help Cosimo (his grandfather) and friends, Kit must find her. But there is more to what they must do. A map is needed and enemies are closing in. Dun, dun DUN!

While interesting at first, I soon found myself pulled in too many directions and I had to stop and flip back a few times just to make sure I knew what was going on. And still I could not always make much sense it it. WE get several viewpoints, several places and lots of times throughout history! not to mention I felt lot a lot of repetition was happening with the main cast.

Honestly Wilhelmina's story in this was actually my favorite by far. And it wasn't one of the main events! But without her story I think I honestly might have DNFed this. In the end I am glad I did not because I did find a few other enjoyable spots but overall it just didn't excite me the way I had hoped.

Each chapter is titled and honestly I found them eye-roll worthy. To me, if it is not witty, or thought provoking or something, no titles necessary. A simple chapter number is perfectly fine. The titles sort of spoil the chapters at times even.

We do get to see much of the world! From London, to Vienna, to china and more! A mix of languages and great vivid portrayals of the time and environment adds character to this book.

So is this worth reading? Perhaps, if alternate realities and time travel interest you or fans of history, you might enjoy this. Be warned the pace does vary and if has a balanced mix of interesting parts verses dull moments. So patience is a good thing to likely have. However there are a couple decent gems to be found in this book. 
 *I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair/honest review.  All opinions and thoughts expressed are strictly my own.


  1. I like the premise of time travel but the combination of christianity just doesn't sit well with me. Nice review but the book isn't the one I would pick first. :)

  2. The cover of this book is so interesting it really did draw me in. I like the sound of it, but it's a shame about it being repetitive and dry in writing style at some places. I will have to think about this one some more...

  3. I keep hearing about this author so I was curious for your take on the book. I do enjoy magic and time-travel but I don't like dry writing so I'm not sure this is a book for me. Thanks for the detailed thoughtful review!


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