Friday, May 23, 2014

Blog Tour: Book Review/Giveaway!! The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky, by David Litwack

Daughter3DThe Daughter of the Sea and the Sky by David Litwack has launched! This fabulous title is available now on all online retailers and in your local book stores. You aren't going to want to miss this new literary journey exploring the clash between reason and faith, and the power of hope and love.

The Book

After centuries of religiously motivated war, the world has been split in two. Now the Blessed Lands are ruled by pure faith, while in the Republic, reason is the guiding light—two different realms, kept apart and at peace by a treaty and an ocean. Summary: A mysterious nine-year-old from the Blessed Lands sails into the lives of a couple in the Republic, claiming to be the Daughter of the Sea and the Sky. Is she a troubled child longing to return home, or a powerful prophet sent to unravel the fabric of the Republic? The answer will change the lives of all she meets… and perhaps their world as well. 
Author: David Litwack 
Genres: Fantasy/Speculative Fiction/ Literary Fiction 
Publisher: Evolved Publishing
Author Contacts: Website/Blog/Facebook/Goodreads/Amazon/Twitter/Library Thing

Amazon B&N


My Review

(Reviewer's Note: I would like to thank Mr. Litwack for providing me with a printed copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)

This novel caught my attention right away because of the gorgeous cover and beautifully poetic title. I was therefore expecting a delightfully enchanting fantasy. It turned out to be more of a post-apocalyptic tale, with touches of fantasy. It's also much more; it incorporates an analysis of several important themes, such as the  paradoxical relationship between faith and reason, the insidious effects of misplaced guilt, the steadfastness of true love, and how the innocence of a special child can hold an amazing wisdom.  Adding to this fascinating brew, the author also analyzes the inevitable connection between art and spirituality.

The pivotal, and remarkable, main character is a nine-year-old girl named Kailani. I love her name, too; it's an exotic one that immediately made me think of Hawaiian religious beliefs. In fact, the god of the Blessed Lands is named Lord Kanakunai.

Young as she is, Kailani has set sail from the Blessed Lands to the land of the soulless -- as her people call the Republic, the land where Reason rules -- on a mysterious mission that is not revealed until the very last pages of the novel.

The other two main characters are Jason and  Helena, residents of the Republic, who discover the young girl and bring her ashore, just as her frail boat collides with the rocks and is destroyed.

The two young people take an immediate interest in and liking to Kailani, who answers their concerned questions by simply stating that she's The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky.  They are unable to obtain any more information from her. Unfortunately, they soon find themselves having to turn the child over to the authorities, and Kailani is detained, pending further questioning.

Thanks to the help of Carlson, a civil servant with a conscience (a very appealing, compassionate character), Jason and Helena succeed in having the little girl transferred, in their custody, to an art colony headed by another wonderful character -- Sebastian.  

The plot of this novel is gentle, gradually developing as the characters are inevitably drawn into the mystery that is Kailani. She seems to speak in riddles, yet these apparent riddles are really very wise sayings. The story moves along, one detail after another unraveling, and the reader follows the trail laid by the author, delighted and mystified at the same time. This is a novel of inner quests and spiritual growth, written in impeccable prose.

Without really meaning to, Kailani has a definite impact on everyone she meets. Her calm, secure acceptance of the world of Spirit impresses everyone, precisely because she  is so sure about its existence. Kailani is totally unfazed when Helena repeatedly tells her that she doesn't believe in myths.

I loved the underlying, yet also important, plot of the novel, which is the gradually evolving romance between Jason and Helena. As the mystery of the wise child deepens, they find their love tested in unexpected ways. They also discover that love, in its highest aspect, is something spiritual.

Most of the novel takes place at what Sebastian calls, simply, "The Farm". The place is self-sustained, and is very similar to a late 1960s commune. People go there for inner healing, and many have found it through crafting, painting, and sculpture. Art thus leads to the finding of the true self, a self nurtured by Spirit. This is very much evident in the case of Martha, Helena's mother, who finds comfort  and peace in crafting jewelry. When Kailani arrives, Martha rapidly bonds with her. This is a source of distress for Helena, because of the strained relationship she herself has with her mother.

Litwack connects storytelling with spirituality, as well. In fact, one of the statues on the grounds is known as "Grandmother Storyteller".

This is a tale of the heart and soul, of the beautiful yearning for meaning, and of how it can be found in the union of faith and reason, as well as in creativity.  

Everything, Litwack seems to say, points to Spirit. In this novel, nature itself embodies the spiritual world. The farm's overseer, Sebastian, knows this well, for he has been at the farm for many years, and is completely attuned to the rhythm of the seasons.

I'm delighted to have truly found nothing negative to say about this book. The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky is a beautiful, moving novel, one that I predict will become an instant  classic, especially in the literature of spirituality. It is a novel to be treasured and re-read many times, not only for its beauty, but for its thought-provoking treatment of universal themes.


The Giveaway

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The Tour

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  1. Great review of what sounds like a really interesting book Maria.

    It goes without saying that I find the themes to be interesting. I am glad that the plot as this one is "gentle". Though important themes can be explored in an action or adventure setting, I think that such pondering lend themselves to a relaxed story.

    Some of the motifs described here remind me of the writings of Philip K Dick books. In many of his works the idea of creativity and art as a door to Spirituality and lie's meaning are explored. I believe that it was in "Man in the High Castle" that there was a Jewelry maker who sounds a little like Martha. In "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" I recall that this idea was embodied by an Opera Singer. I will just add that you will find little of this in the film adaptations of his books. These philosophical themes are usually removed.

    1. Hey, Brian!

      Oh, thank you for the compliment!! Much appreciated! I tweaked and tweaked this review. Even after publishing it, I kept on tweaking Now I can say that I'm really satisfied with it,

      I agree that profound themes like the ones in this novel really lend themselves more to a slower, more relaxed plot, as you put it. Hectic action doesn't really go with thought-provoking themes like these,

      How fascinating that these themes are similar to those in some of Philip K, Dick's novels! I regret to say that I haven't read any of them, but I will have to do something about that! I have, however, seen the movie "Blade Runner", which is based on "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" I believe I've mentioned this to you before. Well, if you recall my previous comment about this film, I absolutely HATE it!! OMG. What a totally DEPRESSING movie!! I know it's a cult classic among some SF fans, but I simply don't see why. My husband and I watched it all the way through, just to see what all the hoopla was about, and we both agreed that it was just terrible. VERY dark. I did see some philosophical depth to it, but this depth was totally nihilistic. It was, in fact, an existentialist NIGHTMARE. (Shudders....) Perhaps, I'll like the novel more, when I do read it. So maybe this is one of those cases where people say, "The book was much better than the movie!"

      What a contrast "Of Beast and Beauty" was to this kind of nihilistic darkness! You really MUST read that one, Brian! I know you don't normally read romance, especially of the YA sort, but this book is SO much more! It's got philosophical depth, as well, but the difference is, it dwells on HOPE, and not on DESPAIR. I highly recommend it to you!

      Of course, I also recommend "The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky". I know you will love it! And this novel, too, dwells on hope. I think I'll re-read it when I have some extra time.

      Thanks for the great, thought-provoking comment!! : )

  2. Hey Maria - The film and the novel of "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep", though both philosophical, were almost diametrically opposed. I agree about the nihilistic message in the "Blade Runner" film. Though I would argue that there was a ray of hope based on the ability for some people to love one another. I did love the film but I do like to look at the dark side of life sometime. I do think in some ways, but only SOME, it can be reflective of reality.

    The book took place in a really dark universe where terrible things happened. However there was a strong and real counterforce based upon love, empathy and the "Universal Spirit" that ultimately was shown to be the stronger force. There was actually a passage where this force resurrected an animal and save the novel's true hero (NOT Decker) from the depths of darkness that brought tears to my eyes It was still a dark book in places and I am not sure if you will like it or not.

    Based on your recommendation I will give "Of Beast and Beauty" a try in the future. I know that if you esteem it so much it must be worthwhile. Plus I do like to also look at the bright side sometime. Plus I really do want to read some genres that are different for me, at least one in a while. I must keep my horizons broad. I have been wanting to ask you about such a recommendation and this one sounds like the one.

    I hope that you and your family have a great weekend!

    1. Hi, again,Brian!

      Ohhh.....from what you say, I don't think I would enjoy reading the book...I could barely get through the movie. However, what you say about the little ray of hope is true, since Decker ended up falling in love with an android. And it was implied at the very end, if I remember correctly, that he was an android himself.

      Well, I might just give the book a try just for the heck of it. "The Man In the High Castle" is another of his books I've been wanting to read.

      I'm so glad you're going to give "Of Beast and Beauty" a try! You won't regret it!

      I have another recommendation for you! It's "The Girl with Broken Wings" series. This is a very gritty, pretty dark series, so I shouldn't like it, but I do! That's because the writing and story pacing are phenomenal, and the characters are totally awesome!! The first book is titled "Falling", the novella that comes next is "Coping", and the second book is "Landing". I've reviewed the first book, as well as the novella, here on the blog, if you want to check them out. I finished the third book, "Landing" at 4:10 AM today, Sunday. I just could NOT stop reading! The author is a woman; her name is J. Bennett. The one thing I don't like about this series is the frequent use of "the F bomb". However, it's SO good that I actually found myself tolerating it. Can you believe that? Yes, I would wince every time I came across the word, and then keep right on reading! Lol.

      Anyway, thanks for commenting again!! : )

  3. Boo! The giveaway is over! Oh well, another to add to the massive list :)

    Kailani's character sounds very interesting. I like the thought that she speaks in riddles. Also, it sounds like Kailani is the "light" that would open up people's eyes over at the Republic.

    Great review!

    1. Hey, Vonnie!

      Oh, chica, I'm so sorry the giveaway has's not my giveaway, actually. It was held by the tour company.

      I'm very glad you're going to put this book on your list!! Believe me, you'll LOVE it!! Kailani is indeed a very special child, and she'll steal your heart, just as she stole mine. Yes, she does open people's eyes. She is seen as some sort of prophet.

      The whole art colony thing is also wonderful! You'll really enjoy this book!

      Thanks for complimenting my review!! I tweaked it and tweaked it....I think it's pretty good now.. Glad you liked it!

      Thanks for the GREAT comment!! : )

  4. What a great review. This is definitely a long term favourite of mine. x

    1. Hi, Elaine!

      Thanks for the compliment! Yes, this is indeed a very unique, special book, and I know I'll be re-reading it!

      Thanks for commenting back!! : )


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