Review for War of Swords

War of Swords by D. Barkley Briggs

Genre – Christian fiction, fantasy, YA

Series – 5th & final book in the Legends of Karac Tor

Rating – PG for violence and scary creatures

Synopsis –

The four Barlow brothers have been in Karac Tor for 2 years now. They have all grown up so much since following the ravens through the tunnel. They are about to enter into a battle not only to fight for their lives, but for the whole realm. Kr’Nunos is assembling an army of twisted and evil creatures to ransack and take over the land. As the Barlow’s fight for their lives, they are about to confront their greatest fear – losing someone they love. Will these brothers be able to stand firm against the incoming onslaught?

My Thoughts –

Yea!! I finally finished this series!! It took me a while to finish this. I think I started this series back in the summer of last year. Now that the library is somewhat open, I can now finally get books!! Anyway, this was an interesting conclusion to this series.

Honestly, I did not remember many of the characters as it has been awhile since I read the previous books. So I was a little lost. I spent a good chunk of the book trying to remember who everyone was. Weirdly enough, the author did not summarize what had happened previously. There were a couple characters I still don’t remember how they met the main characters. Also, I believe there is a gap between this book and previous one as now it has been 2-3 years since the first book. The author did provide a glossary of names at the back of the book which helped a lot.

One thing I really like about this series is that it incorporates the Arthurian legend. We have Arthur, and a mention of Tal Yssen (basically Merlin). I have kinda been on a Arthurian legend binge what with watching Merlin and recently reading a couple different stories. So I enjoyed Arthur being a key person in this story.

Of the brothers, I really only connected with Hadyn and Ewan Barlow. I think part of the reason that I didn’t like Gabe or Garret was they just felt soo young. There were a couple sections where the writing felt like it was aimed at middle-schoolers. I can’t quite put my finger on it, it just felt childish at times. Maybe I am just getting used to reading high fantasy. I don’t know.

The allegory was strong in this one. Pun intended. đŸ˜‰ Aion (basically a Jesus character) is the high prince of Isgurd (heaven). His followers have to trust him despite Aion being across the sea. Kr’Nunos was a Satan like character. He had corrupted certain people groups who before the song had turned their backs on Aion. Bits of it reminded me of the last book in the Left Behind series. As it is the final battle.

Language – None

Violence – As there are battles throughout the book, there are some descriptions of the fights. Most of these descriptions are well kept within a PG rating though. Many characters get wounded/die. A couple mentions of the ground being covered with blood. There is a sea battle where ships get destroyed by a hurricane/ bombs. Characters shoot arrows/get shot by arrows. Several descriptions of the evil creatures called Goths and Ravers and their powers.

Innuendo – Very little, a few kisses between a few couples. One couple gets married.

Conclusion –

This was a great conclusion to this series. It feels so good to have finished this series. There were some great themes like loyalty, faith, and sacrifice. Most of the characters stood for what was right despite difficult situations. I would have no problem giving this to a middle-schooler or teen. If you are looking for a new fantasy series to read, this one would be a great choice.

Have you heard of this series? Which is your favorite book? How is your May going?

Review for The Book of Names

The book of Names by D. Barkley Briggs

Genre – Fantasy, Young Adult, Christian fiction

Series – Book one

Rating – PG – Peril and fantasy violence

Synopsis –

This is the tale of four brothers who recently moved after their mom passed away. Hadyn, the oldest, is struggling to return to normal. All he wants to do is to return to the good old days. One day Hadyn and his brother Ewan find scrolls that suddenly appear in their briar patch. This leads them on a journey of self-discovery.

My Thoughts –

This book was a nice surprise! In my quest to find new books, I sometimes forgot what is on my list as the list is made up of sticky notes. So, when I started reading, it was a nice surprise that the setting starts off in modern times. I really liked this section of the book as it made me think of Stephan Lawhead’s books. Don’t get me wrong, the fantasy world Briggs created was had its own merits, but I almost wanted just a story set in modern times.

Alright, let’s talk characters. There were two characters that stood out to me. First, Hadyn. I connected with him on several levels because we are both the oldest sibling, and have similar characteristics. Anyway several characters have a decent character arc which was great. I liked Sorge and his mysterious past. He was a good mentor for the brothers by providing them with history and wisdom. I wanted more of Flogg! We did not learn about him except that he is a gnome. I am hoping that in future books, we will get more of him. Maybe a visit to his homeland? A few twists surprised me, but the whole evil witch who works for the evil Devourer felt flat.

The book was written to the author’s sons after their mother died which gave it a feeling of authenticity, but towards the end, it got a wee bit repetitive. I am hoping that the next book will come delve deeper. The ending was a wee bit predictable, but there was some great themes throughout the book about family, self-discovery, and love. There was a Jesus like character called Aion and a Satan like character called the Devourer. We see there are followers of Aion in three branches each doing a different task. There are certain gifts that given from Aion and these can be a variety of things.

Violence –

Honestly, there was not much violence. There were a few times where the characters were in peril and then the final battle at the end. The evil witch would sit in her tower and throw mice into a pot of blood. She controls a bunch of teens by her power. She also uses magic spells and incantations, but it is shown to be evil.

In the final battle, there is some fighting, but mostly characters only get cuts bruises. Nemasia releases these evil flying spirits called Watchers and they can terrorize people. The evil witch falls into a crack in the earth and vanishes.

Language – A few uses of the word hel, but used as a fictional location

Innuendo – None

Conclusion –

This was a great start to a fantasy series and had a good mix of humor, theology, and action. Personally, I would say that this book is aimed at a younger audience maybe teen and young adult. There were some good take aways like considering what role we play in fighting evil, not giving up hope, and overcoming grief. I think as the series progresses it will develop sea legs and become an epic fantasy saga.

Note – I read the second book in the series, and it starts to really develop our characters.

Cannot wait to hear from you all!

Anna