Monday, May 16, 2011

Book Review: Sir Quinlan and the Swords of Valor

Micah (13yo), Eden (12yo), and I all read Sir Quinlan and the Swords of Valor by Chuck Black this past week.  This book is part of the Knights of Arrethtrae book series.  There are several other installments already in the series, but it is the first we have read.  Each book in this series is able to stand alone, so they do not have to be read in order.

The book is an allegory in a medieval setting.  The allegory is to the growth of the early church.  In this book, Sir Quinlan is a young knight who isn't particularly good with his sword, but he genuinely loves the Prince.  He joins a special unit of knights who go into battle against the Shadow Warriors and work to protect other knights who are carrying the story of the Prince throughout the kingdom.  Tragedy strikes their team, however, and Quinlan faces trials larger than he ever imagined he would face when he originally joined.

The allegory is very clearly laid out in the initial chapters, which made it a little less interesting for me reading on an adult level, but I know that for the younger set it may good to be clear up front.  Once the story got moving, I could think less about analyzing the allegory and relax into enjoying the story.  I felt the story was well-written as a whole.  There were a lot of different characters, and at times I wished that some had been developed more.  The book is relatively short, though, at 176 pages.  I loved the character of Sir Quinlan.  He is a bottom-of-the-class type character.  He isn't a high achiever, but he seems to accept who he is and is comfortable with that.  He feels that what he has to offer in service of the Prince is inadequate.  But the Prince takes what Quinlan has, and builds on that.  He makes Quinlan strong and able to lead the Swords of Valor.  I think there are many young Christian readers that will be able relate to Quinlan.

Micah says of this book: "I think Sir Quinlan is a great book to read because it has adventure and fantasy in the middle of important lessons for life." Micah and Eden both expressed joy and sadness over the ending of the book.  It was a somber reflection of the reality that is coming for all of us.  I'm glad they could feel that, at least a little bit.

The book also includes discussion questions, answers, and piano sheet music for the song "Ride of the Valiant."

We are excited to have a new author to add to our list of favorites, and we can't wait to look for more of his books!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah.  I was not required to write a positive review, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

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