Today’s reader reviews of The Turning serve as a point/counterpoint. One reader saw flaws in the character development and point of view, whereas another reader connected strongly with the characters.
I appreciate both reviews, which are so thoughtfully written.
By Diana Savage, Heartlifters blog
When I received a complimentary copy of Davis Bunn’s The Turning from River North Fiction in exchange for my honest review, I looked forward to reading the novel. The author has written many books, he has an excellent reputation, and he teaches creative writing at the University of Oxford.
Sure enough, I found Bunn’s sensory descriptions to be outstanding. I was awestruck by how deftly he described characters experiencing God’s intense presence. Many of the story’s events and references mirror contemporary headlines, making the book feel up to the minute. Suspense begins immediately on page 1, the conflict is compelling, and the tension ramps to fever pitch at frequent intervals. Sounds like a recipe for a topnotch thriller, doesn’t it?
Actually, I was disappointed. The author opens the book with a character who later becomes an antagonist, thus weakening the story’s impact by dividing readers’ emotions. He quickly introduces too many viewpoint characters to keep track of without flipping back to previous passages. And sometimes viewpoint characters “talk around” key elements to keep them hidden from us while we’re still in their heads.
In spite of these problems, the book has much to recommend it. I especially appreciate the story’s powerful takeaway message. Readers who prefer a plot-driven novel with a good takeaway and who don’t mind viewpoint difficulties will enjoy The Turning.
By Jasmine Augustine, Montana Made blog
I think this book just might be Davis Bunn’s most powerful novel yet. You will be shaken out of your complacency and convicted to take that step forward to your own turning, and into the next thing God has planned for you. The impossible will seem possible.
Powerful, thought provoking, exciting, with a diverse and wonderful cast of characters. The five people chosen by God to bring the Church, the U.S., and even the world, a message of hope and God’s love, couldn’t be any different from each other if they had come from different countries. Each of them has a role to play, each must step out of their comfort zone, each must take a step of faith and give up things that they hold dear, and each of them must listen to the voice and promptings of the One who called them.
I think my favorite line from the book is when Ruth, the wife of a late-evangelist, says that God does not call the equipped, He equips those He calls. What a powerful piece of truth! Those words really hit me when I read them, and it made me wonder how God is using each of my experiences to shape and equip me to follow His plan.
The Turning is one of those books where you read a chapter or two and then you walk away to think about it, digest it, and maybe let it even change you. When Davis Bunn called this devotional fiction I think he used/coined the correct term. The way you read it does remind me much of reading a devotional, each section must be pondered before you can return for more.
But before you think this book is dry and boring, it’s not. The Turning IS a novel and it DOES tell a story, a good story. There is action, betrayal, danger, angels in disguise, a little romance, politics, and all the things we have come to expect in a typical Davis Bunn novel.