Sunday, March 9

A Draw of Kings by Patrick W. Carr

War is coming to Illustra. Duke Weir has seized control of the country and captures Adora, with plans to marry her to let his leadership and to produce an heir. Enemies gather at their border. Errol is imprisoned and the identity of the rightful heir is still unknown. With the barrier fallen, the true heir must be found or Illustra will be destroyed.

This final book in Patrick W. Carr’s “The Staff & the Sword” trilogy starts off at a fast pace and keeps it up until the end. With the country at the brink of war, there is a much darker tone to A Draw of Kings as many story elements finally lock into place. Carr also manages to keep a couple of surprises until the end.

While this series is set in a fantastical medieval world, this book finally seemed to take full hold of the fantasy genre. Between the demonic enemies and their beasts, Carr presents a strong story of good versus evil.

The religious organization in the story also seemed to finally feel fleshed out. While it is a rendering of Christianity, Carr adds to the lore of the story, allowing for a better understanding of how the church works. And, unlike the first two books, none of the church members rely on a compulsion to accomplish any tasks, which was a relief. As I noticed in the first book in this series, Carr avoids being preachy in his story and avoids the use of a full Christ figure, which far too many Christian fantasy stories feel the need to use Sure, there is a prophecy which says that one character may have to die to save the kingdom, but Carr manages to make it unique for the story.

One of my favorite parts of this book was the story thread involving Adora seeking more information about her father. While there were moments where she seemed relegated to being a damsel in distress or as the ‘prize’ for either Liam or Errol (which was completely unnecessary), her character ended up contributing strongly to the story as she was further developed.

All in all, this story was much stronger than the previous entries. I wasn’t completely satisfied with the ending, and wished a few details were a little different (including how the sacrifice prophecy played out), the lead up to it was fast paced and entertaining. Combine that with its lack of preachy-ness, and “The Staff & the Sword” series was one of the more enjoyable Christian fantasy series I’ve read recently.

4/5 stars

I received this book free from Bethany House Publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

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