My *official* review of SWORD IN THE STARS by Wayne Thomas Batson:
Climb into the roller-coaster, buckle your seat-belt, and get ready to scream! Wayne Thomas Batson has once again brought us a fantasy world so alive, so creative, and so thrilling that you’ll never need to visit an amusement park again.
A mysterious and seemingly impossible quest. Flawed yet courageous heroes. Insidious villains. Passionate truth. And a history so deep and fantastic that you know you’re in the hands of a master story-teller of the likes of Tolkien and the prophet Isaiah rolled into one.
The DARK SEA ANNALS is high-fantasy at its absolute best.
And I really do mean the Tolkien and Isaiah part. Why?
I chose to compare Wayne to Isaiah because we’ve been reading a lot of scripture from that book of the Bible during this Advent season, and so to read a fantasy novel at the same time that foretells and deals with the coming of that world’s messiah was very interesting.
And Tolkien … well yes! I just felt like I was reading something very deep. Wayne has spent an incredible amount of time working on the history of this world, and when you read the story, you can feel the depth. It is almost like you are caught up in the middle of a great and grand story with so much at stake.
Haunted by memories of a violent past, Alastair Coldhollow wagers his life on the hope that a sword will appear in the stars and the foretold Halfainin, the Pathwalker, would come.
Meanwhile, tensions simmer between Anglinore and the murderous Gorrack Nation, threatening war on a cataclysmic scale. The fate of all could rest on an abandoned child and the decisions of those who desperately seek to identify him. Sword in the Stars is the first release in The Dark Sea Annals series.
About the The Dark Sea Annals series:
A noble king discovers what happens when he leaves a door open for evil. The disastrous consequences impact generations, leaving the throne of Anglinore to a wicked despot, the kingdom in ruins, and Aravel’s son Loch in exile.
To throw down the vile new authority, Loch will need to find the fabled Halfainin and raise a new army from a world of reluctant citizens. Together with his archer friend Ariana, Loch will face adventures that span the world of Myriad, creatures that defy imagination, and choices great and terrible—all these recorded in The Dark Sea Annals.
About The Author:
Wayne Thomas Batson was born in Seabrook, MD in 1968, has a graduate degree in counseling, and teaches English to middle schools students. Wayne lives in Eldersburg with his beautiful wife of eleven years and his four wonderful young children.
Besides dividing his time between family, teaching, and writing, he likes to read, golf, play PS2, travel to the beach, play electric guitar, and create 3D artwork. SWORD IN THE STARS is his eighth published novel (from my counting).
There are many heroics in the book, but the primary one is Alastair Coldhollow, a trained assassin who has changed his ways. Wayne does an excellent job showing the long term pain and suffering that Alastair experiences as a result of his past, but also shows God’s redemption of his life, as well as healing.
Alastair believes he is the foretold Iceman who will find the Halfainan, the Pathwalker, who will defeat the greatest evil of the world. But is he the Iceman? Can he find the Halfainen?
King Aravel is another hero, although flawed in a completely different way. He has a past anyone could admire, but he becomes proud and so forgets his love of God (“the First One”)—with disastrous consequences.
Queen Maren does her best to help her husband seek the First One, but he ignores here advice. She is brave, however, and does her best to save the day with what little influence and power she has.
Abbagael Ryvenfleur is another, and it is her love for the orphaned child as well as Alastair that saves him from living in the broken past.
The Shepherds are a class of heroes that have sworn to protect the kingdom using their amazing powers. But they hide a secret from the villains…
Ah yes … the villains! The interesting thing is that this book is almost a prologue to the series, and therefore spends quite a bit of time showing the origin of the villains, in particular …
Prince Morlan — He is King Aravel’s evil twin brother. Born just a little too late, he longs desperately to be king and to destroy his brother. Not only that, but he has found out the Shepherd’s secret, and so lookout!
Cythraul — Prince Morlan’s right hand man, he is evil to the extreme. I forsee the day when he could rival Morlan himself for supremacy in a “Highlander” like show-down.
The Gorracks — a murderous nation to the north. They worship an evil god named Sabryne. Prince Morlan uses them as unwitting pawns in his bid for control of Aravel’s kingdom.
Wayne is at the top of his game here, folks! He does a great job in the always difficult balance of getting into the heads of the characters (especially Alastair) vs. showing action and thrilling suspense. By the end of the book, I really felt like I knew these people and sympathized with them.
Not only that, but Wayne has created a very unique world with rules and secrets that take your breath away. I always look forward to that “AHA! OH MY!” moment while reading a book, and I had several reading Sword In The Stars. I’m still reeling from the implications of what was revealed for the future novels. All I can say is “cataclysmic”.
Get this book! GET! THIS! BOOK! Although not for the very tender due to some graphic scenes of violence, I would say this book is for just about anyone from 12 years old on up. If you like fantasy you will REALLY like this novel!