Monday, October 3, 2011

The Sword in the Stars by Wayne Thomas Batson

Storyline: Haunted by memories of a violent past, Alastair Coldhollow wagers his life on the hope that a sword will appear in the stars and the foretold Halfainin, the Pathwalker, would come. Meanwhile, tensions simmer between Anglinore and the murderous Gorrack Nation, threatening war on a cataclysmic scale. The fate of all could rest on an abandoned child and the decisions of those who desperately seek to identify him.

My Thoughts:

Cons: The storyline covers a long amount of time, several years of which are covered by letters between two characters. It's interesting to see the two characters' relationship develop just by reading the letters, and I understand that it was the best way to make the time pass quickly, but I just didn't personally care for it.

The conversations seem to be stilted a few times, and a few scenes seem slightly misplaced to me (such as the scene where High King Aravel and King Morlan are born, which could have been a great foreshadowing piece if placed as a prologue, but instead seems a little...flat.)

At the beginning of the book Alistair heavily drinks Witchdrale, a drink that is supposed to be awful and extremely addicting. It's not portrayed in a good light and Alistair eventually repents of his weakness for Witchdrale.

Pros: I was fascinated by the world of Myriad (and love the name choice). The names sounded beautifully Celtic or Jewish and all the peoples were slightly familiar, yet tweaked enough to be unique (I love the Willowfolk!). The scenery he describes sounds beautiful, especially the land of the Willowfolk. I think Batson did an excellent job with his world-building.

I like that Alistair Coldhollow, the main character of the book, is deeply flawed and repentant but vulnerable to the temptation of falling back into his old ways. It made him see very real to me. I also like Abbagael and the relationship she has with Alistair. That's all I'll say about them so I don't ruin the book. :) Sprye and the Willowfolk were also fun characters and I wish they had been in more of the book.

For someone who loves one-on-one battle scenes, this book was amazing. I'm always in awe of master swordsmen in fantasy novels and Alistair was no exception.

Conclusion: I like this book a lot but felt that the quality was a bit lacking. Nevertheless, it's a great book for teens, despite the fact that many of the characters are quite a bit older than that. I'd give this book to a 14-year-old without hesitation.

Rating: Four out of five stars

Next week: Novel Spotlight of Finding Angel, yet another fabulous Splashdown Books release!


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