The most convincing thing I can tell you about this title is that I fully plan to have all of this author’s works on my shelves in the near future.

It’s true that I am a sucker for books in general, but when a story makes teaching values or facts simple and enjoyable without ruining the literary qualities that make for a good read, that is something worth obtaining, and Chuck Black managed to accomplish just that.

Black managed to take a real life threat of apathy and make it look as appealing and intrusive, and then as ugly and ‘in your face’ as it truly is.  Furthering his cause, the author aptly contrasts that with what a life of purpose looks like and in doing so gives, what I believe, to be an accurate picture of the very real struggle facing all of us today.

I will say that I was taken in by the Tolkeinesque language utilized in the prologue and initially disappointed when the story itself didn’t use the same style, but this was quickly reconciled as I imagine most of our young readers today might appreciate a foray into the poetic, but would wane in interest if they were required to continue on in that vein for the duration.  So I forgave him and promptly lost myself in his land of knights, honor and adventure.

The story follows Quinlan, the ‘lesser gifted’ of two friends.  Both of them enamored with a new type of pet called a paytha.  The pet can do so very many useful things, is committed to its owner, loving, adorable.  Even I wanted one.  The problem being that when an elite group of knights calls on the friends, the stronger and more talented of the two is enjoying his pet and his life of ease a bit too much.  The less talented of the two, commits to the harder life after disposing of his pet and goes into training with the Knights of Arrethtrae.

After Quinlan disobeys an order putting the rest of the knights in danger, he doubts his calling, but after some additional training and the revelation of a secret about himself he settles into his role as a leader and returns to his hometown to do battle with not only the enemy, but also the knights in training who have forsaken their calling and require assistance and encouragement to reenter the fray.

Black returns to his Tokein-style writing for a soul-pricking epilogue.

As I said, these will be on my shelf as soon as our book budget allows.  All of them.  Every last one.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the blogging for books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <[…]> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”