Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Reflections: The Great and Terrible, Vol. 1: Prologue, The Brothers

Cortney Brown Howes offers her thoughts on Chris Stewart's book The Great and Terrible, Vol. 1: Prologue, The Brothers:

"The Great and Terrible series has become a must read among Latter-day Saints.  I received the series for my birthday and I have heard a great deal about how wonderful the books are.  After reading volume 1, The Brothers, I have mixed feelings about the book.  It begins with an amazingly written prologue. The reader is looking through the eyes of a General at a funeral.  You see the family, a young mother and her daughter, and the casket which showcases a medal of honor.  You do not find out who this person is or what they have done during the prologue but it leaves you wondering and wanting more!  The descriptions are filled with emotion and concern.  I was crying by page 2!

After reading the prologue I had high hopes for the story and the writing style of the rest of the book.  However, I was somewhat disappointed with what I discovered.   The meat of the story is set in the pre-earth life.  Four siblings are faced with the decision to follow one of two plans.  I was intrigued by the idea of what may have happened at this point in our lives.  The author had to use a lot of creativity to come up with a story with this setting.  This may explain the choppiness of the writing.  I also felt that the names that were chosen, Luke, Ammon, Sam, and Elizabeth were quite cheesy. Why couldn’t he have chosen names that don’t already have major stories in history attached to them?  At first I thought it was “THE LUKE” spoken of in the Bible but it wasn’t and neither were any of the other characters.  I also had a problem with the editing.  Doesn’t an editor get paid to find misspelled words and missing words?  Not to mention other grammatical errors…

The book ended with an equally well written epilogue as was the prologue.  I am intrigued to read the rest of the series.  I have been told that after you make it through the first book (only 200 pages) you will fall in love with the rest of the series.  I hope these statements hold up to be true!"


  1. I was not aware that the Great and Terrible series was a "must read" among Latter-day Saints. I am intrigued by this book. I'm still debating about whether or not to have be a part of my Thousander reading list.

  2. I think the author did a great job of describing his thoughts on how we might have conducted our day to day lives in the pre-mortal worl. It's a quick read with a good message. I would definitely recommend it.

  3. Shoddy editing is the single biggest reason books don't get published or even read by big time publishers. It's a real pet peeve of mine. I've often been disappointed by "Mormon" literature. I think it's because writers are often too worried about their "responsibilities" to present the story in a positive way, instead of just telling the story and letting it survive on its own merits.

  4. I must admit, I have had my own qualms with LDS literature. I haven't come across any LDS literature that could really stand on its own in basic literary terms. It might have something interesting and/or unique because of its LDS perspective, but that can't nor shouldn't carry a book into the realm of art or literature. I'm waiting eagerly for an LDS author to do it right.