The Orphan King

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Title: The Orphan King
Series: Merlin’s Immortals
Author: Sigmund Brouwer
Publisher: Waterbrook Multnomah
Published: July 10, 2012
Pages: 220

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Thomas’s life has changed forever with a few words from his dying nanny, who turns out to be his mother trying to protect him. Raised behind monastery walls has soured him to God and all his clergy and now he must leave all he’s ever known to go on a mission that seems too impossible to accomplish. Armed with wisdom of potions and optical illusions along with a former Templar knight, a deaf and mute girl, and a pickpocket, Thomas’s plan to take the most secure city in the country seems like suicide, but he’s got a destiny to fulfill.

The longer Thomas journeys with his misfit crew, the more he learns and the more he starts to see that everyone isn’t always who they say they are. He keeps wondering who this knight is and why his speech hints at something more than just a simple knight. He also questions who this pretty silent girl is among them and whether she’s following them because she has no choice or because she was sent there. All Thomas can do is finish his mission and hope that no one is trying to stop him.

As Thomas travels, he meets characters both friendly and unsavory alike and he learns lessons from each encounter. But the farther he gets the more he realizes that he doesn’t hardly anything. His mother hinted at a group he can only guess at and little does he know that there is a whole war being waged around him between at least two different groups that mortal beings can never know about. The war of good against evil wages and Thomas is somehow stuck in the middle.

Who is good and who is evil and what do they want with Thomas? Will Thomas be able to take the city that kicked his parents out when he was just a baby or will the city be too impenetrable to conquer? Will Thomas be taken in by the evil who and whatever it may be or will he stick to what he knows is right? Will Thomas be betrayed by those around him or will they be loyal to him? Will Thomas figure out who’s lying to him before it’s too late or will they suck him in before his plan is executed?
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Like most of the books that I pick, I picked this book solely by cover and title. I expected something completely different. I expected something more fantasy-like and what I got was medieval England and it was a pleasant surprise. This book was kind of a mixture of a Christian Harry Potter feel mixed with action and it was perfect for teen boys or, if they’re like me, teen girls. I think this book is a healthy alternative to Harry Potter or Percy Jackson novels.

This story is very vague and kind of keeps you on your toes. In fact you end the book not fully knowing which side is the “good” side and which side is the “bad” side. The thing that I liked about the story though, was that people weren’t good or bad based on their situation but by their actions, which is a nice lesson for teens to learn. This story is chock full of lessons and mystery. It even ends on a cliffhanger and it makes want to read the other books in the series due to the questions left unanswered at the end of the book.

There was a bit of romance in this book but I use that term loosely. It was an attraction but not too much to turn off a tween or teen boy. It was, however, enough to keep a tween or teen girl interested and enough to add another mystery aspect to the story. It was a nice little facet to this somewhat complicated storyline. I felt that it made the story as much for girls as it was for boys.

I think this series is a perfect alternative for the very popular Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, etc. books. It delves into magic and immortality but it has a moral to the story and teaches the reader some important lessons that, unfortunately, most adults don’t learn for most of their life. Also, all the magic is explained scientifically and is all using herbs and acids, so it makes sense and seems like you could make them today without magic.

I’ve never read a book by this author, but after this one, I fully intend to. This author is a great storytelling and managed to capture my heart in a measly 220 page book and that’s not easy to do. I’m now a fan of this author and I want to read more from this author past, present, and future. I don’t know if this is a good representation of this author’s work or not, but I truly enjoyed this book and want to read more from this author.

Overall, this is a great book and is a healthy Christian alternative to the popular magic books out there now. I highly recommend this book to any tween or teen boy or action loving girl. I think even some adults could love this book. I give this book a four out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy if this book from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

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