My book reviews are written as a discussion of a book, and not as an advertisement. Please be aware that there may be information that some would consider spoilers. Continue on at your own risk!
This was one of those books that Amazon is continually recommending to me based on books I have previously read. I had read the sample before, which didn’t grab me. The summary of the story sounded like just the type of book I like- a heroes journey, so I finally decided to give it a try. Here’s what I thought…
Thor (short for Thorgrin), has hoped all his life to join the Kings Legion. He is overlooked when the knights come to town, so he runs off to Kings Landing to convince them to take him. He gets in, he makes friends with the kings sons and becomes squire to the most popular knight in the land (Erec). He falls in love with the princess (who was named as successor to her father). And although he made some enemies (he even won one of them over to his side), he did pretty well for himself, saving the lives of others, getting a falcon and finding a snow leopard cub.
There were some plot points that I found to be cheesy- for example the king has six kids, one of which isn’t legitimate and two are girls. By rules / tradition neither should be able to inherit the kingdom. Because the legitimate sons were either not suited or two young, the king names his daughter as successor. His reasoning was that he was king so he could break the rules. But if he was going to break the rules, he should have chosen his eldest son (although illegitimate, he is best suited to run the kingdom). It’s little glossy plot points like this that made this book feel like a YA novel.
The other ‘slippery’ part of the plot, is at the end, when Thor warns the king that he is going to be poisoned. The king knows someone is going to try to kill him, his sorcerer has warned him and he acted as if he believed it (by talking to his daughter about succeeded him). However, when Thor (someone he has publicly accepted as a part of his family) warns him, he disregards it. And, when Thor knocks the poisoned drink from his hand, instead of thanking him, they accuse him and put him in the dungeons. I felt that was totally out of character with this king who had previously been portrayed as understanding.
I did like the fast moving plot. He was home tending sheep, then running off to the capital city, falling in love and joining the legion.
Plot Score: 3/5
Location, Location, Location
This location has an interesting setup. It’s a land that is surrounded by a canyon, which is magically powered by the Destiny Sword. The land is divided into two sections, one run by the McGils, the other by the McClouds (totally Hatfield and McCoys style). There are all manners of beasts and savages living outside the ring that are continuously plotting to attack.
Location Score: 3/5
Characters and Relationships
Overall I wish the characters were less black and white. Either they were instantly good, or instantly bad (with the exception of Elden, who was instantly bad, but became good).
Thor- I wish he was more of a dark hero, but he is an idealist. He is always following his spot on instincts and making immediate judgement of the people he meets. It’s either “he couldn’t help but feel that he was making a lifelong friend” or “he did not like him at all”. This even carries over to his animals, both of which he had an immediate connection (sometimes a ‘mystical’ connection.)
Characters Score: 2/5
Life Lessons (fka Bigger Meaning)
Bigger Meaning Score: 0/5
Defining Quote: “You must defend others who cannot defend themselves. It is not a quest for the light-hearted. It is a quest of heroes.”
I loved the pacing of the book. The plot moves and I was able to finish the book in a couple of days. However, I didn’t expect from the dark cover for this to be a YA book, but based on the cheesy aspects of the story and the black and white characters, I have come to the conclusion that this is a YA novel.
Style Score: 3/5
-I can’t figure out Thor’s mysterious background. I think he might be another illegitimate son of the king, but that would make his love for the kings daughter inappropriate. There is something going on here, because the Queen has an immediate dislike of him (reminded me of the Starks in Game of Thrones).