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Book Review: The King’s Sword

Updated: Aug 14, 2021

[This book review is presented here on FlyingFaith in proud partnership with H. Halverstadt Books {}]

An ex-soldier, Kemen Sendoa, is not so much retired as left for dead after his squad was ambushed by a barbaric people north of the kingdom of Erdemen. He is wandering through the woods alone, grieving over the death of his best friend. He comes across a trail in the snow. He follows out of curiosity and finds a seventeen-year-old boy unconscious, but not just any boy. It’s the son of Erdemen’s hated and recently murdered king.

What a wonderful book! The King’s Sword fits squarely into the sub-sub-genre of ‘spoiled young man gains character through hard work and trials’. This is a kind of tale I generally enjoy, and I specifically enjoyed it a great deal here. Especially when the story is being told from the point of view of an ex-soldier, who has to try to teach a prince that’s fleeing soldiers sent to kill him.

If you need wizards throwing fireballs to be happy with an epic fantasy, this is not your book. There’s no magic in the novel. There’s just people doing the best they can under atrocious circumstances. However, if you like character-driven stories that are a little slower, you might enjoy this as much as I did. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed spending time in Kemen’s mind. He is thoughtful and careful, thinking through his past, combat strategy, the character of the boy, and the meaning behind the names of everyone he meets. Through patience, discipline, stoicism, and long endurance, Kemen reacts with kindness instead of violence to the constant racism he receives from his fellow countrymen in Erdemen. Despite the racism though, he loves his nation and loves defending it. I’ve known a lot of people who are similar to Kemen and would run toward danger to help, so I found his character to be believable in that aspect. Kemen’s adoration for women is adorkable too. He has resigned himself to never marrying and having children, but he loves it when a serving girl smiles at him. He considers privation as another chance at discipline. He’s basically a great man who doesn’t know he’s great.

The prince, Hakan Ithal, constantly complains to the point where one wants to strangle him from time to time. This does magnify Kemen’s noble character though. Since despite him being totally unimpressed by the boy, Kemen’s loyalty demands he do whatever he can to keep the prince safe and to train him how to fight. Hakan, on his end, must live with the results of the bad decisions his father made before he was assassinated. It’s nice that, as Hakan and Kemen roam the country, the prince learns why so many were angry at the king.

There are occasional scenes of violence, wounds, and death, and one scene of torture, but nothing is graphic. The recovery time from wounds, use of horses, fighting techniques, and survival skills are realistic too. Boys who have trouble with reading might find inspiration in Kemen, who becomes a leader of men despite being illiterate. How one becomes good at anything is beautifully shown as well. Instead of the prince instantly becoming proficient at sword fighting, he gets better gradually.

I had little to quarrel with in the book, although there was a spot or two that made me laugh. Kemen sends Hakan out to gather wild onions for the stew. Inside I shouted, “Wild onions in the forest? Under snow?” Who knows, maybe wild onions behave differently in that world than they do on Earth. Some people might object to the strict hierarchies that are observed without question, but it is realistic in the book’s given setting.

My Recommendation: I recommend The King’s Sword to any lover of fantasy over the age of fifteen. Anyone under the age of fifteen or so may find some of the strategical discussions and described fighting techniques confusing or boring. It’s an adult book that’s clean enough for teens. As for me as an adult, I loved it all.

Content Ratings:

Heat: None

Profanity: Any cursing is made-up fantasy words

Violence: Sporadic and non-graphic

The King’s Sword is available at Amazon and Audible.

I was loaned a free copy of the ebook for the purpose of an honest review.

About Heather Halverstadt: H. Halverstadt is a Christian science fiction writer. Her site, H. Halverstadt Books, has reviews of clean and clean Christian books for the whole family. The site leans toward action and adventure books, so men and boys will be sure to find something they like. Her first novel, Gemini's Key, will be debuting next year.

{Link to H. Halverstadt Books:}

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