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Book: A Draw of Kings

This may be a slightly different review for me. A straightforward review would be silly: this is book 3 of a trilogy. If you read books 1 and 2, you want to read it for closure. If not, you'll need to read books 1 and 2. I have reviewed those and Patrick W. Carr's style previously: A Cast of Stones and The Hero's Lot. Spoiler on the reviews: Loved them both.


And building on that, I loved A Draw of Kings. This is modern Christian fantasy at its finest.

 What happens when tradition blinds us to reality? What happens when rules overwhelm relationships?

And what happens when personal pride gets in the way of the needs of those we love dear?

These are the questions that A Draw of Kings by Patrick W. Carr really wrestles with. Working through this final volume of the Staff and Sword Trilogy is like trying to close the loose ends of a thousand little threads, both in plot and philosophy.

Carr does that well, if imperfectly. I think the intricacies of the prior two threw one too many balls in the air, and it proved a bit tough to bring them all down gracefully. This may be as much a factor of publisher limits as it is Carr's writing--give him another 5000 words and the ending might have been perfect instead of just great. (I happen to think spending those words on an explanation of what happened would have done the trick--I like what happened, it just seemed right on the verge of left field.)

Through A Draw of Kings, we see into a world where religion overruns governance, and the risk of the power becoming a temptation. We see what can happen when those who are righteous look too hard at preserving what was, rather than seeing what should be.

A Draw of Kings holds a compelling plot from start to finish, as we see what becomes of Adora, Errol, and the rest of the characters we've come to love since A Cast of Stones. More than that, though, this volume turns up the religious questions. Here we see Carr raise the moral issues, the trust issues.

This makes for a book that needs to be read twice. Once to see who, if anyone does, saves Illustra. And who gets the girl...

A second time, though, to consider: what if we had only tradition and memory? What if we had nothing certain about our faith and our governance? What would become of us?

It's a question worth contemplation.

(Note: I received a copy of A Draw of Kings for review, but I also bought it on Kindle so I'd have two, just in case Ann and I needed read it at the same time. Plus, I'm all for funding authors who write good stuff and not just mooching on review programs.)

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