Samuel Choy does a marvelous job in creating his fantasy world and the Kingdom of Theris. Therein lives the fatherless young peasant, Thomas, our protagonist. In the next forty-seven chapters, Thomas will confront all of the presumed fears of a twelve year old; facing dragons, fairies, trolls, and the plots against his King.
It is not until thirty percent of the story has been told that we encounter the main plot. This dastardly deed is being hatched by an evil sorceress with the power to enslave. Soon, we meet Thomas’ co-defenders of the plot, Sir Fedrick, one to King Aaron’s Twelve Great Knights who rule the empire, Lis, a Fairy Princess with magical powers and worldly wise old monk, Gildas.
Choy writes for a Young Adult audience and does so with care. Opportunities to exploit violent confrontations are subdued. While this appropriate prose is fitting for his intended reader, the scenes present insipid rather than exciting. Although the writing is very well done, the passive nature of it soon begins to bore.
One of several delightful aspects of Choy’s story is his inclusion of poetry. The author’s inclusion of his original rhymes scent the storyline as an expensive perfume enhances the allure of a beautiful woman. But that is not all that this reviewer discovered as pleasantly redeeming in Samuel’s fantasy quest novel.
Oath of the Brother Blades, uses the inspiration of Christian values as the basis of good overcoming evil. It is handled in much the same manner as is the violence; passively. There is no confrontational proselytization, which would be unnecessary to the storyline, but between the poetry, the dialog from old Gildas and the turn of events, the influence of Christian beliefs are expressed in an appropriate way. The romance between Thomas and Lis also reflects on this philosophy to a degree.
The main characters of this fantasy, including the evil sorceress, are well developed, without the use of flash-backs, and should appeal to the target audience. One small irritant for this reviewer was the language of the dialog. Choy provided the characters with modern language for dialog. This was out-of-character and took away some believability The language choice seemed to be for the benefit of the young reader. Medieval language skills, as used by Ken Follett in his Pillars of the World epic, while appropriate to the time, might also lose Choy’s intended readership. We will call this “literary license” and accept the author’s intent.
The pace of the story was slow. Since the action scenes were, as reported above, bland, the pace might have improved the reading had some of the dialog been more succinct. Much of it is “filler” and does not move the story forward.
Notwithstanding the offered criticisms, the novel was satisfying, taken in the whole. This reviewer has not been a young adult reader for a very long time; therefore I am not part of Mr. Choy’s audience. Given that fact of reality, the story ends well, if as expected, and the entertainment value is appreciated. I recommend this novel to readers in the nine to twelve year old range and for that readership, give the Oath of the Brother Blades a four star of five star rating.
This reviewer received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.