Page Count: 208
Release Date: 5 October, 2010
Publisher: WaterBrook Multnomah (Random House)
Source: Complimentary copy provided by publisher, via Blogging for Books, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!)
Two friends face the Dark Knight's deadliest scheme, but only one knight has the courage to overcome. Sir Quinlan leaves his boyhood friend to serve the Prince, fighting a battle darker and more intense than any he's ever known. The mysterious Sir Baylor recruits him into the ranks of an elite unit of knights known as the Swords of Valor, but when tragedy strikes and everyone blames Quinlan, the Swords of Valor disband, ending a legacy of heroic deeds.
Alone and despairing, Quinlan wanders the kingdom, fleeing his past. His providential encounter with Taras, a mysterious Silent Warrior and former trainer of Valor Knights, offers Quinlan a chance to redeem himself and learn the ways of the secret warriors.
The training is grueling, and just when Quinlan seems to have left his failures behind, he receives an impossible challenge from the Prince—one that will force him to face his past... and the mighty men who blame him for the tragedy that ruined them.
Can Quinlan reunite the Valor Knights in time to save the people from the Dark Knight's evil plot to rule the Kingdom off Arrethtrae, or will the Valor Knights lose the most important battle of all?
What Stephanie Thought: As a middle-age children's novel, Sir Quinlan and the Swords of Valor was exceptional. Kids are normally reluctant to read bible stories. However, this one didn't shove biblical references down the reader's throat and instead, used many creative gestures and characters to symbolize the ultimate figure of Christ. The reading guide at the end was extremely helpful, as it cleared up many of the connections the reader was supposed to make.
In the land of Burkfield, Quinlan, nicknamed "Twitch" for the uncontrollable facial spasms he experiences, is not much a hero. In fact, the story starts off portraying him as sort of a sidekick to his longtime friend: the more confident, handsome, and warrior-like Tav. However, when Tav makes the decision not to serve the Prince (who is the Jesus Christ figure), it becomes clear Twitch is the true fighter.
I found many of the symbols fascinating. For instance, there was a scene where the knights of Burkfield were seduced by cute little critters called paythas. The creatures seemed adorable and harmless at first, but soon, Quinlan learned, that they were deadly monsters that were trying to rid the people of their belief for Him, the Prince. Rearrange the letters in "paytha" and you get "apathy", which is a state of indifference and lack of caring or concern. Thus, Black makes the point that apathy is one of the deadliest, contagious sins that makes mankind more vulnerable than anything.
Another thing I liked was how action-packed this book was, but in a awing, age-appropriate way. There was mild blood and gore, but nothing you want to keep away from your kids. A couple battle scenes may be frightening for younger children, but conclusively, the knights are fighting for their love for the Prince (Christ), and good always overpowers evil.
Summing the entire book up sums the Bible up too: the Knights of Valor (Christians) fight the dark knights (evil). Lucius (Satan) is the main enemy and his Shadow Warriors (demons) are the corrupt forces attempting to overthrow Arrethtrae (Earth—Earth and Terra combined and spelled backwards). It's a good thing the Silent Warriors (angels) always come to the rescue, saving the day. The ultimate message of Black's middle grade novel through simple, youth-friendly prose, is that good will always win, as long as faith is kept strong, and love for Him is honest and eternal.
Radical Rating: 8 hearts: An engaging read; highly recommended. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥