A review by starlitswords
The King's Sword by C.J. Brightley


I'm not going to lie. This book took a while for me to really get into. As someone who has read stories meant to be analyzed to the bone with intricate vocabulary in which I have picked up on myself, the simple vocabulary was hard for me to brush off, as well as the way things are described, just enough for the reader to get their feet wet in the sense of imagery. The beginning is very fast, and it made me curious as to why. I almost put the book down, but I am always the one to give several chances. So, after persevering, I finally came to like, and eventually love become obsessed with the story.
The use of first person narration let's the reader become familiar with a character. With a narration like third person, like how I write, it's a little bit harder to get into the mind of a character and you have to rely more on dialogue and the way a character acts through the eyes of an omnipotent voice. Kemen Sendoa, as a retired soldier and despite his age is very wise and the friendship between him and Hakan Ithel may be deemed as brotherly or even fatherly. It is easy to piece together his personality through his metorship and the way he considers feelings and situations. His tone is always very leveled, as he is a level-headed man.
I made this comment once to my creative writing teacher on a reading log day that I liked how Kemen isn't a stereotypical cold and stoic military man and Hakan isn't this stereotypical spoiled brat. The characterization is superb. The way both of them act and think and feel conjure such uncontainable emotions for them. It's hard for me not to love them.
As I said beforehand, the storyline is rather quick to begin and it's hard to understand what's going on, as if something is left out. It left me wishing for more context, a bigger exposition. Nonetheless, as the story rolls on, by chapter 3, the story has finally settled to be evenly paced and details and dialogue are clearer. (I will put this in now and say that there are times when you really need to be paying attention to who is speaking). With that aside, I love the concept of the story, the subtle coming of age theme. I like to connect songs with ideas of this book...stronger, faster, braver, heart of courage, never back down... It's easier for me that way because I feel that an overall theme is something more than coming of age, but the seeking of something deeper, more personal, as Kemen and Hakan find together. With that said, I love that this is a fantasy without any aspect of magic or inhuman qualities. And this is from someone who is all for magic and...inhuman-ness... Also, the title is very clever, because you're not quite sure what the title implies until the end. Very clever indeed...

Overall, I'd read this again and again (given my stack of books to read was smaller, which it's not). I would shove this book into the faces of my friends if they were willing. I'd pair this with a quaint playlist I've personally used as inspiration when doodling the boys in my sketchbook of "Nightwood", "Downstream", "Battle At Hoback", Gore's Theme", and "Never Back Down" by Two Steps from Hell. I'm glad my mother said yes to me getting this book at a little craft show at a high school in October earlier this year...