Four Stars 

Alastair Coldhollow led a solitary life and wandered into despair from his faith. In his despair and guilt, he had resorted to a former addiction, a black brew called Witchdrale. One night, he staggered home drunk, out of habit climbed the stairs of his personal observatory, and studied the stars. He checked every constellation against his charts. While grumbling about how he couldn’t understand how he had ever thought he was the caller, the one who would usher in the halfainin, a savior. he saw that one of the constellations had changed. The pattern of stars looked like his special sword. That was the sign that the halfainin was coming! The sword in the stars pointed to the town of Thel-Mizaret.

 

In great excitement and renewed faith, Alistair saddles his horse and sets off for Thel-Mizaret. He decides to set up a competition that will reveal the other traits that accompany the halfainin. After the exciting trials–including the taming of a dragon–all the contestants fail. Alastair falls into despair again and heads for the nearest tavern. One thing leads to another, and instead of finding the halfainin, he ends up standing in a street surrounded by dead men while he’s holding a baby. Now what? Now what involves many bad people chasing him and the young woman he tried to pawn off the baby to.

 

Now what involves many bad people chasing him and the young woman he tried to pawn off the baby to.

 

This epic fantasy by the well-known Wayne Thomas Batson is filled with Biblical allusions, a dramatic conversion, battles, political intrigue, and a man wrestling with God. The story is exciting all the way through. Both boys and girls should enjoy the story. Though set on a fantasy world and dealing with fantasy religion and prophecies, the novel is saturated with Scripture. The character of Alastair is a fascinating look at a man with a horrendous past trying to follow God and often failing. All the characters are interesting and varied. Even though the story line is complex, it is still easy to follow.

 

I did have some reservations about the novel. Only one of the villains had a recognizable reason for being over the top evil. Another of the villains was improbably skilled in stealth and battle. The evil, plotting king will punish one man talking back to him by razing the man’s entire village. I don’t get that. Razing a village and slaughtering everyone in it weakens a kingdom. A food source, tax base, and conscriptable men are lost– but then again, this is a common enough fantasy trope that perhaps I ought not fuss about this.

 

More concerning to me is the romance that seems to reinforce the pernicious myth that far too many girls fall for: that if a good girl loves the bad boy enough, he will become good. Granted, the good girl in the book fell in love with a character when he was displaying only his kind and generous side. But even after learning the secrets of his past, she still pursued him.

 

The book has a satisfying ending

 

The book has a satisfying ending with hints that the evil people are not quite as vanquished as the heroes believe. I recommend this book for teens who are not too sensitive to bloodshed and for adults.

 

Ratings

 

Heat: None

 

Violence: There is a lot of fantasy violence that is sometimes graphic and gruesome. People are cut into pieces. Structures are constructed of bones.

 

Language: None

 

Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Spearhead Books

 

Lelia Rose Foreman has raised and released five children. Everyone survived. She also homeschooled fourteen years with similar results. You can find her Christian science-fiction, A Shattered World in English or Spanish. She writes science fantasy adventure, Tales from Talifar with her oldest son, a video game artist, under the name Rose Foreman. You can contact Josh Foreman at breathoflifedev.com

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