This week I have another rather difficult book review to write. But, this time it isn’t because I disliked the book. Instead, it’s because the story and my response to it are both so complex!
When I requested Karyn Henley’s book Eye of the Sword, I knew I was getting number two in a series yet again. I’m not typically a fantasy reader (I’d much rather watch fantasy in movie form), and I knew I could be completely lost with a “book two” attempt. But, the description sounded so fascinating that I just couldn’t help myself. It’s definitely a decision I don’t regret! With a setting reminiscent of Lord of the Rings and a hint of The Horse and His Boy, along with witty romantic interplays that reminded me of The Princess Bride, Henley has created a captivating fantasy series.
Eye of the Sword is the second book in Henley’s Angelaeon Circle series. As I mentioned before, the story is quite complex. But if I had to summarize the theme and setting, I would go to a Scripture verse that I believe must have been the inspiration for the series.
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. Genesis 6:4
Biblical scholars will probably debate the true meaning behind this verse until Jesus returns. But Henley’s imaginative mind went another direction and created an incredible legendary world where angels and humans intermingle and heroic deeds abound. In this world, the reality of one people becomes the legend of another, good and evil clash in ways that seem to taint even the most pure of heart, and mighty quests demand great sacrifice.*
The first half of Eye of the Sword was a slow and ponderous read for me. Having missed so much information in the first book, I was continually trying to catch up and put pieces together. But, I also hated to put the book down! I was fascinated with every detail and found it worth the effort. By the second half of the book, I had gathered enough familiarity with this strange world to allow for much quicker and easier reading.
If you have any inclination whatsoever toward fantasy, I would definitely recommend the Angelaeon Circle series. I intend to back up and read book one, Breath of Angel, reread Eye of the Sword, and then anxiously anticipate the rest of the series!
This book was sent to me by Waterbrook Press in exchange for my honest review.
*I do want to note that, based on Eye of the Sword, Henley did not try to tie this series into Scripture. This is not a fantasy that I have a problem reading as a believer, but it is also not a fantasy that in any way tries to create a Christian worldview. It’s just good fiction that seems to be inspired by an imaginative response to a verse from the Bible.