CSFF Blog Tour – Eye Of The Sword, Day 3

Without a doubt, the CSFF tour for Book two of the Angeleon Circle, Eye of the Sword by Karyn Henley, is one of the more controversial ones in some time. How are we to understand angels? Is the book Christian? These are big questions for fantasy readers and Christians. In so many ways the discussion touches at the heart of the Harry Potter debates–but with angels instead of wizards.

My Review

The Story. Trevin, an orphan who used to steal for a living and served an evil lord who tried to assassin the legitimate ruler, is a young man newly trusted by his king to shoulder the role of comain, or protector of the crown and country. The story of his transformation to one so favored apparently is told in the first book of the Angeleon Circle, Breath of Angel.

There are only a handful of comains, and in fact those are missing. The king wishes Trevin to find them, starting first by traveling to the Oracle to receive a sign or prophecy. He also wants Trevin to act as an ambassador to the country in the north, seeking to strengthen or renew their alliance.

The king’s daughter, newly discovered to be the princess (also part of the first book), wants Trevin to help her in a task she believes to be more important than anything the king has asked–a task her mother died trying to accomplish. She wants to find the three kyparis harps and reunite them. This alone will restore the Wisdom Tree and the ladder to heaven, making it possible for the angels trapped on earth to return and renew their work of leading souls of the dead to their destination.

Trevin sets out reluctantly. A prince of their rival kingdom is offering peace if he can but marry the princess–the girl who has vowed to marry no one else but Trevin. But with the good of her land at stake, and the possibility of finding one of the harps in the rival kingdom, how can she refuse?

Trevin determines to find the harps for her, acquire the alliance with the northern kingdom, and a sign from the Oracle, so his king won’t have need of a peace treaty with the rivals. But even if he’s successful, he may be too late. The royal house is preparing for a wedding.

Strengths. The thing that impressed me the most about Eye of the Sword was how interdependent it is upon book one and book three and yet how complete it felt as a story in its own right. Ms. Henley did a masterful job weaving in the details of the previous story–the cause of much of the internal conflict and some of the external conflict of this story.

The main character has clear goals from the beginning, and although he feels overwhelmed, pursues them in a logical, believable way. Unexpected events happen that keep him from achieving what he hoped, but each setback also leads him into further adventure. In other words, I had every reason to cheer him on.

In addition, he has secrets. His past haunts him and even though the girl he loves has forgiven him, he hasn’t told her everything. His struggles with guilt and self-recrimination are believable. They make this character someone I cared about.

At the same time, I couldn’t help but think, this guy needs a Redeemer. He needs his past washed clean. I have no way of knowing if the story will take this kind of direction, but some events mirror elements of a Christian’s new life, so I would certainly not be surprised if this came to the forefront in book three.

The story was fast paced and exciting; the writing was crisp and concise; the characters, flawed but noble.

Weakness. Unlike some of those participating on the tour, I wasn’t looking for overt Christianity in this story because I quickly identified the angels of the Angeleon Circle as not Biblical angels. Therefore, I wasn’t expecting a depiction of God. I wish there hadn’t been one. While there isn’t much, there is one reference to “the Most High” as the “father-mother of the universe.” That one cut too close to false teaching. It’s hard to think of “the Most High” as anyone but God making the description non-Biblical at best–which is pretty bad, to be honest. However, this was an “in passing” reference, and certainly the Most High is not a main player in the story. Consequently, while I cringed when I read that line, it did not become a constant thorn in my reading side.

Recommendations. I loved Eye of the Sword. It’s my kind of fantasy–I think. I do want Christian parallels in Christian fantasy, even though they may not be obvious. I see potential, so I want to give this one the benefit of the doubt because it was well written and exciting. It is, after all, the second third of the entire story, so I have reason to believe there may be more depth to the final installment. Highly recommend to readers who love high fantasy, angels not withstanding. 😉

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

Published in: on August 22, 2012 at 5:45 pm  Comments Off on CSFF Blog Tour – Eye Of The Sword, Day 3  
Tags: , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: