I received an advanced copy of this book via Goodreads.com
We all remember those special books as a child that took us to places like Narnia or sent us along on quests for magical rings. We were vaulted in a special world and we learned important lessons while following the quest set out in those books. Robert Priest has set out such a quest in his new book The Paper Sword and launches the Spell Crossed series.
On the spell-crossed Phaer Isle, teenage Xemion dreams of being a great swordsman. When he finds a blade-shaped stick, he fashions it to look like a real sword. Knowing that the laws of their cruel Pathan conquerors would require a death sentence for possession of such an object, his friend Saheli demands he destroy it. He agrees, but insists on performing just one sword ceremony. When his mastery of the weapon, a skill long forgotten, is witnessed by a mysterious man named Vallaine, the two friends are invited to join a planned rebellion. At first they refuse, but when a sadistic official discovers their transgressions, they are forced to flee their home and embark on a dangerous journey to the ruins of the ancient city of Ulde, where rebel forces are gathering.
Armed with only their wits and the painted sword, they face Thralls, Triplicants, dragons, rage-wraiths, and a host of other spell-crossed beings. As they approach the Great Kone, source of all spell-craft, Saheli’s fear of magic and Xemion’s attraction to it bind them in a crossed spell of their own — one that threatens to separate the two forever.
Priest has written a lyrical book here which should appeal to certain types of youths. The plot can be a bit complex at times but it should allow for a young reader to look forward to a second or third book. An interesting read in any case.