Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sword in the Stars by Wayne Thomas Batson

Sword in the Stars is the story of Alastair Coldhollow, a former assassin who desperately wants forgiveness for his past deeds. Years ago, a woman taught him about the First One (Myriad's representation of God) and forgives Alastair for what he did to her family. He killed her husband in a raid. Shaken by this woman's faith and devotion to the First One, even if it means forgiving her husband's murderer, Alastair begins to study and learn more about the First One. Eventually, he begins to suspect that he is the Caller- the one foretold to find and clear the way for the Halfainin (the restorer of peace and victory to Myriad's troubled land). But after spotting the Sword in the Stars, holding a tournament to find this champion warrior, and yet turning up empty handed... Alastair is deeply disappointed. He needed to find the Halfainin, if not for the people (and other races) of Myriad, then at least for his own forgiveness. I'm leaving out a TON of the story but this would end up a super long review if I went into all of it. There's much more including battle scenes, Queen Maren, the baby Alastair ends up with, and the Willowfolk.

As for the characters, Morlan and Cythraul are certainly the best villians Batson has ever created. I mean, Bartholomew Thorne was mean and all, but at least we felt a little sympathetic for him (with his first wife's death and all), and Paragor was messed up, but he wasn't in the story much until the ending of the Final Storm (and his plotting in The Door Within). Alastair is an extremely capable swordsmen on a quest for forgiveness. Abbagael is determined and compassionate- and her response to Alastair in a certain scene ("It's okay, Alastair"... "but you will.") made me laugh out loud.

The Shepherds are the closest things to wizards. And they aren't. Their abilities are gifts from the First One and have nothing to do with spells and potions. For example, Mosteryn the Old can bring up storms, and Sebastian (hope I spelt it right) can control plants. But not through chants and stuff. It's just what they do. Like a bird can fly, or a fish can swim. There's also more to the Shepherds, but just in case someone maybe wondering about 'magic' in this book. There's a little with the willowfolk- such as an enchantment in the area that throws off sense of direction and stuff. Morlan and Cythraul use a Vaskerstone table to see things in other places.

This book also had a few humorous mess-ups. In one scene, Alastair says that he knows about many paths that few in Allyra know anything about. I bet he does considering that Allyra is the wrong world. That one's from the Berinfell Prophecies. And (here comes a spoiler) two characters that are said to have died in battle are present at a certain wedding a few years later. These mistakes are sort of funny, but jolt the reader out of the story.

I was thrilled to see Aidan Errolson's name (from the Wilderking Trilogy by Jonathan Rogers) and a "quote" in here and La-Saide of Ot (from The White Lion Chronicles by Christopher Hopper) even throws a line or two in. Lebrettowit (from The Dragon Keeper Chronicles by Donita K. Paul) as well. I thought that was pretty cool. I'm sure there were more little cameos but I probably just didn't know it.

I'd recommend it for ages 13+ because a couple scenes are a bit creepy and violent and Alastair's struggle Witchdrale (I guess an alcoholic sort of drink.)Anyway, Sword in the Stars will leave you eagerly awaiting the next book in the Dark Sea Annals- The Errant King (due out sometime in 2011).

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