Review: The Sword of the Spirits

The Sword of the Spirits
The Sword of the Spirits by John Christopher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


When I first found Prince in Waiting, the first book of this trilogy, it was through searching for books with ‘gray morality’. Now, this third and final book does not disappoint! It fully lives up to being the ‘Game of Thrones for kids’ that I hoped it would be.

Now that Luke, the main character, has returned from the adventure beyond the burning lands, the politicking is back in full swing. Cities need to be conquered, political enemies are waiting for a chance to strike, and Luke still doesn’t have a good grip on how to play the game of thrones. Luke suffers betrayal after betrayal and plots his revenge.

The plus points in this book (the whole series actually), are that most of the character, except a few, are not evil. Even if they betray the main character, they had their reasons for doing so. And Luke himself isn’t a clear cut ‘good guy’ either, as he goes through extreme lengths to get his revenge. Spoiler alert, but many characters die, including characters you might like. Even the innocent are not spared.

There is much question of morality in the book. The questions are ultimately never answered by the plot or the characters. They seem to do things based on their nature, and either just accept it things as the way they are or work to change them. Still character development is high in this book as many face-turn-heel and heel-turn-face events occur.

Grey morality and moral dilemmas highly intrigue me. I find them to be the most real a story can get. This series definitely pulled it off. However, it didn’t exactly pull it off well, what with the passable book 2 and weirdly written book 1. This book has a pretty abrupt and absurd ending too. Still, if you are searching for a book with gray morality, then this can serve your reading itch.

One last thing. This book and series are rated as ‘for children, 10-14’. I believe this is a gross miscalculation. Although this series is written for kids, the themes in it are far too mature for such an audience. At such a stage, children may not have fully developed moral compasses. If they cannot fully understand or appreciate difficult moral choices and the significance of death, they should not read this book. I should know because I study psychology at uni.

Score Breakdown:
Story/Plot (50%): 5/5
Character Development (25%): 5/5
Writing style (25%): 3/5

Total : 4.5/5

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