Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Seven Swords - Nils Johnson - Shelton

Summary:  Across both worlds are seven legendary blades. Some have been uncovered, Some forgotten, Others secreted away.

Very soon all must be united.

Spending the summer fighting dragons, rescuing wizards, and leaping through portals into the Otherworld was only the beginning for Artie and Kay Kingfisher. The two worlds remain divided, Merlin is missing, and worst of all, Qwon Onakea, their kidnapped friend, may be lost to the Otherworld forever. It seems the only way to save both worlds—and to save his friends—is for Artie to claim his throne as King Arthur reborn.

To do this, Artie must gather his knights so they can venture forth and recover each of the Seven Swords. Finding them all is Artie's only hope for victory.

But all the video games in the world haven't prepared Artie for the battles to come against giants, dragons, ogres, and sorcerers. Nor is he ready for the unexpected threat of the Peace Sword, a mysterious weapon used by the treacherous Mordred to kill the original King Arthur more than a thousand years ago... (Summary and image from goodreads.com.  A copy of the book was provided at no cost in exchange for my honest review.)

My Review:  Back to the Otherworld!  This time, Artie has an overarching need to rescue his dear friend Qwon, but Merlin's insistence that the gathering of the seven swords take precedence is creating inner conflict for the young kingling.  Further, Artie has a feeling that Merlin isn't being quite as honest or as good as he should ...

This was a very typical "plot thickens" book.  Not only did it give the reader a further understanding of why Artie and Merlin, and Morgraine and Mordred are at odds, it throws enough twists and plot shake-ups in to keep this retelling fresh.  

Nils Johnson-Shelton does a great job in this second book making the Arthurian legend a worldwide tale.  His descriptions of Swedish and Japanese mythologies, as well as the behavior of some of Artie's knights and their relationships with their swords, breathes new life into a tale that, while it could never be musty, is always fun to reimagine.  His telling of one of the knights' berserker rages had me in stitches.  However, this is definitely a book meant to move the story forward, and I found it quite a bit darker than the first series. It's an understandable shift - the protagonist is moving from innocence into his destined role, and that is never an easy shift.  However, it was there, and I think that Johnson-Shelton handled it masterfully.

I found myself caught between interested reader and concerned parent more than once.  Artie's behavior, at times, gave me pause, as it comes across a little insolent.  However, looking back on what is coming, it's certainly justified.  (I guess it's one of those ends justify the means deals.)  I also need to give credit for a plot twist that had me flabbergasted - not easy for a girl who's read as much Agatha Christie as I have.

My Rating:  Three and a half stars

For the Sensitive Reader:  There are a few more battles this time around.  The same knight that lost an arm loses another limb.  There is also a discovery of a "shop of horrors" - a secret lab of Morgraine's full of genetic failures.

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