Monday, August 2, 2010

Title:  The Sword and the Flame
Author:  Stephen Lawhead
Format:  Paperback
Pages:  374
Genre:  Epic Fantasy/Christian Fantasy
Series #:  3 of 3
Date Started:  May 30, 2010
Date Finished:  May 31, 2010

Rating:  A-

Description (from Barnes & Noble):  The Dragon King who rules the land of Mensandor is none other than Quentin, whose courage and heroism have slowly transformed him from an orphaned servant into a war hero, respected leader, and a fierce man of faith.

But even the powerful can fall prey to weakness. The world is turned upside-down when the dark sorcerer Nimrood--long thought dead after a battle with the previous Dragon King--returns with a fearsome plan. Shattered by the death of a dear and trusted friend, the abduction of his beloved son, and the loss of his enchanted sword, Quentin finds his faith tested like never before.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The final book of a trilogy should be epic, filled with drama, and finished with a bang.  This book met two of those three requirements.  It was definitely epic, and there was so much drama.  But the ending was a bit of a disappointment.  The first two books in the trilogy had amazing endings, but this one felt so rushed, like the author was on a deadline and needed to wrap it up quickly.  It was also partially anti-climactic.  The best way to describe it is to think of a Brady Bunch episode where everything's fixed in under thirty minutes.  And the fact that two of the characters, that you know are meant to be together, decide to put off their romance even longer-- totally frustrating!

The rest of the book was great.  Lots of tension and drama, very few slow points (so different from the first two books), and good secondary characters.  Another thing that makes this book awesome is that even though it's Christian fantasy, it never feels like typical Christian fiction which tends to be overly sappy and sweet or overly religious and preachy.  The Christian elements are there, but they're not overwhelming the entire story.  It's a great mix of faith and fiction.  A-

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