The Sword in the Stars
The Dark Sea Annals #1
By: Wayne Thomas Batson
5/5 Stars (And possibly on the favorites shelf)
What: A former assassin sees the chance to redeem himself by finding the prophesied savior of Myriad.
Recommended to those who like: Fantasy, Darker stories, Christian
It’s probably no secret to any of you that I’m a fan of Wayne Thomas Batson. I’ve reviewed many of his books on the blog, such as Dreamtreaders and Isle of Swords. I love the stories he writes—they’re filled with adventure, a touch of Christianity, and a look deep into the heart. He also introduced me to one of my favorite Christian bands, called Theocracy, which blends some hard-hitting theology with power metal. (AKA, it’s probably not what you’re hearing on your local Christian radio station. However, if you’re willing to try something different, I’d recommend “Hide in the Fairytale”, “30 Pieces of Silver”, or “Theocracy” as starter songs).
*Clears throat awkwardly*. Anyways, I was supposed to be talking about The Sword in the Stars, which tells the tale of Alastair Coldhollow. He’s certainly not the person you’d expect the First One to choose for finding the redeemer of Myriad. He’s a former captain of the Wolfguard—the most elite group of killers in all of Myriad—and he’s addicted to the most vile drink ever concocted. Nevertheless, he’s sure that he’s been chosen to find the promised Halfainin. But even if he does find the Halfainin, will the kingdoms of Myriad be able to survive the storm of invaders that are bearing down from without and the treachery within their own ranks?
The resulting story is a dark one—I would only recommend it to mature teens and up for fantasy violence and just overall creepiness of the story. However, the darkness contrasts nicely with the light of the First One’s promises.
It would be really easy for such a clear-cut good vs. evil story to become preachy or predictable. However, Mr. Batson does a wonderful job of making sure that even the good guys have their believable flaws.
While some plot elements were predictable, there were also some nice twists to the story. I can’t think of a point past about 50 pages in where I didn’t want to keep reading or was tempted to put the book down.
The worldbuilding was perhaps the crown of the story—it even avoided falling into the dragons, elves, and dwarves trap that fantasy tends to wedge itself into. A job well done!
The Bottom Line: Excellent worldbuilding, good characters, and a quick plot combine for a fantasy story that would be a nice pick for more mature readers.