Thursday, December 30, 2010
Review: Sir Quinlan and the Swords of Valor
Sir Quinlan leaves his boyhood friend to serve the Prince, fighting a battle darker and more intense than any he’s ever known. The mysterious Sir Baylor recruits him into the ranks of an elite unit of knights known as the Swords of Valor, but when tragedy strikes and everyone blames Quinlan, the Swords of Valor disband, ending a legacy of heroic deeds.
Alone and despairing, Quinlan wanders the kingdom, fleeing his past. His providential encounter with Taras, a mysterious Silent Warrior and former trainer of Valor Knights, offers Quinlan a chance to redeem himself and learn the ways of the secret warriors.
The training is grueling, and just when Quinlan seems to have left his failures behind, he receives an impossible challenge from the Prince—one that will force him to face his past…and the mighty men who blame him for the tragedy that ruined them.
Can Quinlan reunite the Valor Knights in time to save the people from the Dark Knight’s evil plot to rule the Kingdom of Arrethtrae, or will the Valor Knights lose the most important battle of all? (description from Amazon.com)
I came to Sir Quinlan and the Swords of Valor rather hesitant. I had read some of his novels before, the Kingdom series. While I had enjoyed them, the writing had always been dry and a little boring.
However, this book was different. Evidently Chuck Black's writing has improved, or some other factor had strengthened his novels. I was easily able to imagine the settings and places, and the tale was entertaining while it brought a great message as well. The characters were well developed and fleshed out--especially for such a short book. (Sir Quinlan and the Swords of Valor falls just short of two hundred pages.)
There were two things that impressed me about this novel. First, considering the length, this book was very complete. Usually when I read books like this, I feel like there could have been more plot. But the plot is wonderfully complete and circular. Second, the allegory was more veiled than it had been in the Kingdom series. The allegory itself entertained, while it had a hidden meaning behind it.
The overall message of the book was excellent. I can relate to feelings of complacency and apathy.
Unfortunately, there were several cons to this book as well.
While the first chapter kept my attention, the author dropped the backstory bomb in the first two pages of the second chapter. He explained at length the backstory of several different things, and completely jerked me out of the story. Not a good thing. Fortunately I kept reading, and the tale turned out to be quite good.
I also felt like the creature in the middle of the book (I won't name it and thus avoid a spoiler) was a bit overdone. When it turned out the way I did, I grimaced and thought to myself, "Wow...cliche." This doesn't really effect the entire plot of the book though.
Overall, I highly recommend this book to anyone. The ending alone is worth the entire journey--it made me shiver. Great job, Mr. Black! Now, the question is--are you living your life to the fullest it can be for the real Prince?
Rated 8.9 out of 10. Highly recommended. :)
(I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I was not required to write a positive review.)
EDIT: Wait, wait, don't go yet! Could you please rank my review? Pretty please? With pie? Thanks. ;) Here's the link: My Review.