Friday, February 21, 2014

Blades of Valor by Sigmund Brouwer

Recommendation: ***** (5-stars)

I think author Sigmund Brouwer saved his best for last with this final installment in the Merlin's Immortals Series. This was my favorite book in the series!  The questions and doubts that have plagued Thomas become resolved through a complex web of events.  The Druids and Immortals square off in a battle of deception and trickery to finally end the power struggle that has been playing out for years. Thomas now knows the truth and has learned valuable lessons about faith, hope and love that will serve him well as he leads his kingdom into the future.

Positives: The book kept me reading! Just when I thought a piece of the puzzle had been solved there was a twist. While not filled with battle scenes using swords as weapons there was definitely a war being waged and it was fascinating!  The intricate storyline that has developed throughout this series was completed masterfully. There were also a lot of spiritual messages throughout the book that I enjoyed (see Talking Points below).

Negatives: None

Talking Points: While there were many spiritual topics that this book brought out there were two that I enjoyed the most as I pondered them and talked about them with my kids.  There is a wonderful dialogue on the difference between religion and faith that is very thought provoking. I loved how the author brings this to the forefront in this story and challenges the reader to think through the differences. We turned to the book of James and looked at how faith and "pure religion" are defined and talked through the differences we see in "religious" people and "faith-filled" people.  My favorite spiritual aspect came at the end of the book when Thomas discovers why he is called an Immortal.  Lord Hawkwood says, "...Each of us is born into a mortal body, but our souls are immortal. The choices we make in  the mortal body have eternal consequences, for truly, all humans are immortal." What a different message than what our kids hear in the world today! We know there is a judgment coming. For unbelievers that judgment will be eternal separation from Christ in hell. Believers will be rewarded based on the life they lived on earth. Read and talk about these verses - I Cor. 9:24-25, James 1:12, I Pet. 5:4, 2 Tim. 4:8. These are specific verses that talk about the rewards or crowns we can receive in heaven! How we live today does matter - we are immortal! I want my kids to be excited about the day we can lay our crowns at Jesus' feet (Rev. 4:9-11) don't you?! And that means teaching them that every moment of every day is to be lived for the glory of our great God and Savior.

Age Level: 10 years of age and up

I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for this review.