The Sword: Quintessential B-grade sword-n-sorcery

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsbook review: The Sword Deborah ChesterThe Sword by Deborah Chester

The Sword is the first of a high-fantasy trilogy and is little more than a prologue for whatever follows. What I mean by that is this: in terms of actual plot development, very little happens here. Each paperback in this trilogy is about 400 pages long (1200 total), so this could easily have been a 2-book saga with little to no impact on its quality.

As for the story itself… There are some books you can read when you’re tired, some you can’t, and some that just make you tired. At its best, this book falls into the first category; at its worst, in the third. The writing is clear but rough and unremarkable — much more telling than showing, especially where character emotions are concerned, and not one clever simile or metaphor.

The plot is uneven and filled with numerous extended chase and fight sequences that create a sense of deja vu. I was completely disappointed with the climax, in which the hero saves the day not through his own talents but through, not just one, but two instances of deus ex machina. Two sub-plot threads are interspersed with the main one; however, the female protagonists in those receive so little stage-time that one can only hope their actions will actually mean something later in the trilogy.

The book’s one strength is its ability to keep you wanting to know what happens next, which is certainly a literary virtue. However, few to none of the other ones (style, plausibility, insight, etc.) are present here. That said, if you’re looking for a fantasy book to distract yourself during a long plane ride, this one would probably work. 2-1/2 disappointed stars.

The Sword, the Ring, and the Chalice — (2000-2005) The first three books are the original trilogy. Publisher: Two men. One is a prince of royal blood. The other is a half-breed, part human, part elf. But the part that is human is also royal. Two women. One is a princess, pampered and protected. The other lives in the forest, the leader of a band of rebels. She too has eleven blood. This is their story — the tale of love and hate, courage and cowardliness, and magic both dark and light…

Deborah Chester: The Sword, The Ring, and the Chalice: The Sword, The Ring, The ChaliceDeborah Chester: The Sword, The Ring, and the Chalice: The Sword, The Ring, The ChaliceDeborah Chester: The Sword, The Ring, and the Chalice: The Sword, The Ring, The ChaliceDeborah Chester The Queen's Gambit, The King Betrayed, The Queen's Knight, The King Imperiled Deborah Chester The Queen's Gambit, The King Betrayed, The Queen's Knight, The King ImperiledDeborah Chester The Queen's Gambit, The King Betrayed, The Queen's Knight, The King ImperiledDeborah Chester The Queen's Gambit, The King Betrayed, The Queen's Knight, The King Imperiled


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ROB RHODES was graduated from The University of the South and The Tulane University School of Law and currently works as a government attorney. He has published several short stories and is a co-author of the essay “Sword and Sorcery Fiction,” published in Books and Beyond: The Greenwood Encyclopedia of New American Reading. In 2008, Rob was named a Finalist in The L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest. Rob retired from FanLit in September 2010 after more than 3 years at FanLit. He still reviews books and conducts interviews for us occasionally. You can read his latest news at Rob's blog.

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