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 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 â?? one that threatens to separate the two forever.
One thing about this book particularly stuck out to me from the very beginning. The fantasy.
From the world-building to the descriptions to the creatures within this magical world, I absolutely loved every second of learning about it. It definitely heads the more traditional fantasy route, so fans of Greek mythology stories will love this book and all that comes along after it. The storytelling is great as well, really adding onto and building up on the adventure parts to THE PAPER SWORD.
Which leads me to, well, the paper sword.
The paper sword confused me in the beginning. In the first few pages of THE PAPER SWORD, a lot is portrayed both in the sword and in Xemion. While taking care of the sword, Xemion shows off a lot of different sides to himself. His fearless nature, naivety, childishness, patience and care are all shown in the simple acts to finding the sword, getting the sword, making the sword and wanting to keep the sword. In all of that as well, Priest displayed Saheli and her relationship to Xemion before and after the sword. I felt like these few beginning parts were extremely crucial to the story and in all the roles it played, it did really well. It set the tone for the rest of THE PAPER SWORD, and the rest of it continued the same way. That is, with careful and meaningful narration.
As a fantasy read, I really enjoyed this book and the events that Xemion went through. While the storytelling is that of the Greek myths, Xemion himself seems to me like a King Arthur character and I truly enjoyed his journey of growing up and learning to use the sword. The pacing in THE PAPER SWORD speeds up or slows down accordingly as well. Though some scenes were hard to follow or I felt could’ve been tightened more, overall, 3.5 stars.
pg count for the paperback: 224
Series: Spell Crossed
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