March 19th, 2014
I’m fussy when it comes to fantasy. My first genre-love when it comes to reading, but after becoming a Christian I totally stopped reading for a time. After a few years I was able to start reading again, but selectively. I had to use discernment and hedges for myself to keep my heart stayed on Christ. Thankfully, Patrick W. Carr’s is one fantasy series that I can recommend without reservation (and without making disclaimers and warning notes!) When the third and final installment in the series – A Draw of Kings - came in the mail, I cried. Really, I did. The story got off to a bit of a bumpy start with A Cast of Stones, the first novel (my review here). Our main hero was entirely unlikeable and it took a while for him to journey through an incredibly authentic process of change and maturation. After reading The Hero’s Lot (book two, no review yet) it was bookish love, all together and entirely. So, book three, I couldn’t wait to get started!
Now, it’s always tricky to review second and subsequent novels in a series for fear of giving away plot points in the earlier books for new readers. What can I say? We see a lot of the princess Adora in this book, making her a much more real character. We also see more Liam than we normally do, which is nice – he still seems like a distant figure in many ways. Sadly though, we don’t really feel Errol as much in this book as we have in others. That being said, it could simply be that there is a lot going on. What with all the diplomatic missions, church reformation, exotic voyages, political machinations, war, and demonic beings – times are busy in Illustra!
After finishing the series, I can say that the story isn’t as much of a pure parable as I thought it might be. It does deal with the themes of sacrificial love, redemption, the struggle between the forces of darkness and of good played out on a human scale, but it isn’t a straight across parallel like you find in some Christian fantasy. I’m good with that. While it is definitely an adult-level fantasy, and includes some war and violence, the romances are tender, sweet, and for the most part, chaste. There are a few kisses (three-four?), but that’s througout the entire series. I’m thankful for that, it means my fantasy loving children will be able to read it at earlier ages once they can handle the political alliances and battle scenes.
Now, I have to admit, series finales are tough to write, and A Draw of Kings wasn’t my favorite of the series, that would be book two, The Hero’s Lot. Still when all is said and done, the series closed well, and I recommend it highly as a favorite Christian fantasy series of mine. I’m keeping my books on the shelf!
A Draw of Kings is on tour this week with CSFF, so don’t forget to read what other bloggers have to say!
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller