Thursday, April 05, 2007

Book Review: The Book of the Sword

The Book of the Sword
Darkest Age: Book 2

by A.J. Lake

The dragon Torment has carried Edmund and Elspeth to the cold northlands, where the dangerous god Loki is imprisoned under a mountain. Captain Cathbar is also there, having grabbed onto Torment with a rope at the last minute so that he could protect the two children. In the northlands, they meet a girl named Fritha, who takes them to her home where she and her father offer hospitality and care for their wounds. But the sword bonded to Elspeth's arm is pushing her on, drawing her towards Eigg Loki, the mountain where Loki is imprisoned. Elspeth, Edmund, and Cathbar, guided by Fritha, set off on a dangerous journey towards Eigg Loki. Along they way they will encounter many perils, but the greatest peril lies at the end of their journey. For while the sword is the only thing that can destroy Loki, it's also the only thing that can free him.

Edmund and Elspeth have grown up quite a bit in this book. No longer are they children, swept along unwillingly by events. Now they are young adults, making difficult choices and taking responsibility for their actions. Elspeth especially has become quite an interesting character as she wrestles with how much to allow the sword to lead and how much to make her own choices. Edmund is less central in this book; he does use his Ripente skills in several key instances, but in many ways this is Elspeth's book. There are some interesting revelations in this book as we find out more about the sword and about Clauran, the minstrel who guided them in the first book. Overall, this is a much stronger book than the first one. Like the first book, this one leaves things open for the next book, and I look forward to reading it.

Also read David's review.

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