Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Binding of the Blade

Just finished reading a fascinating set of fantasy books--written with a Christian world-view--the Binding of the Blade.

I don't really know how to describe them except to say that there were excellent page-turners (5 volumes average almost 500 pages each, I devoured them all in less than a month) that both entertained and taught at the same time.

They remind one of Lord of the Rings, but don't rise to that level of art yet are much more clearly Christian and biblical. I would readily give them to a teenage boy who enjoys reading fantasy and then have lots of avenues to discuss biblical world-view and biblical wisdom with him.

The author, L.B. Graham, is a first-time author (they are published, believe it or not by P&R Press), but he's done an amazing job of creating a fantastical world that helps us to understand our world, developing creative winsome, nuanced characters, and crafted a twisty-turney plot that surprised me several times--even towards the end! Don't read them if you don't like to be surprised (or if you don't like fantasy, or action, or adventure, or good guys going through hard things, or even dying). I couldn't put them down.

Here is a virtual bookshelf of the entire, highly recommended series:

This is the first time I've reviewed a fantasy book on this blog!

I hope to write more about books that Heather and I got for Christmas that we are enjoying our way through in the New Year.


Sounds good. Would you consider them appropriate for a 10-year old boy?

That would depend upon the 10-year old boy.

Some could handle them, some wouldn't.

There is fighting, sword-play, really evil bad-guys who actually kill good guys (there are about a dozen main-characters on the good-guy side who die during the course of the series).

But it's not graphic or gratuitous either.

It's darker, heavier, more real than the Chronicles of Narnia, but not as dark as LOTR.

Would the 10-year old in question be able to watch the LOTR movies? My boys are younger than that, but they probably won't be ready for those until they are in late high school. They're sensitive.

But other boys are watching LOTR movies at a younger age.

One other thing: there is no sex, but there is romance (several characters have requited and un-requited love stories). So, a 10-year old boy may be bored out of his skull at points in the story. But a 16 year old boy might enjoy the whole package.

In fact, I didn't say this in my post, but I think that boys (and fantasy-loving ladies like yourself) ages 16-25 are the target audience. Some of the dialogue in the books doesn't sound "middle earthish," but contemporary (for example, he uses the word: "adrenaline" once to talk about how one of the characters is excited). But it's totally understandable for that age-group, as well.

Well done.

Good luck with "The Prophecy of the Heir."

Thanks. Yes, my son and I have watched LOTR (the extended version) several times.

I think I'll wait awhile before recommending this one yet, he's only just getting a teensy interested in girls and I want to keep him as young as possible for as long as possible.

Have you read Donita K. Pauls Dragon series? What do you think of that?

There isn't as much "love" as in LOTR (the movies), and it's all very well done--it's actually a great model of how relationships ought to be conducted. I think some great discussions could come from it, as your son gets older.

I have not read the Pauls books--just heard about them recently. In fact, aside from Lewis and Tolkien, I haven't read any fantasy for a long time.