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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Legends of the Guardian-King, a series by Karen Hancock

At some earlier point I blogged about the first book in this series, The Light of Eidon. This year I have read the other three books in the series, The Shadow Within, Shadow Over Kiriath, and Return of the Guardian-King. I loved these books! They are well-written Christian fantasy, exciting, thrilling, engaging. Some reviewers likened them to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, but I think the two series bear two very different flavors. Ms. Hancock's books are a bit more gruesome (and therein lies one of two caveats I would offer to my high recommendation: if you don't have the stomach for vivid descriptions of battles or duels, you probably won't like this series; the other caveat is that Ms. Hancock describes scenes of love in such a way that didn't bother me, but which I would not think healthy for unmarried folks). Ms. Hancock's secondary world feels more like a world parallel to the one we inhabit, whereas Tolkien's is our world in another era. Ms. Hancock more explicitly draws on Christian tradition; her Eidon is like Jehovah, who has given his servants two Words of Revelation, quoted in the Guardian-King series, and sounding a great deal like paraphrased Scripture.

These books kept me up late at night, because I couldn't bear to stop reading them before reaching the end. I continued to live in their secondary world for days after I finished. They are engrossing. I highly recommend them (keeping in mind my two caveats) to all readers interested in fantasy, even only remotely interested in fantasy.

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