My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Orphan King by Sigmund Brouwer is the first book in the "Merlin's Immortals" series. The next book Fortress of Mist becomes available in February of 2013. And from what I understand it is an updated version or a revamped version of an older book. This is the first book I've read by this author so I'm unable to shed much light into that.
In this book we meet a young man, Thomas. An orphaned boy who has been raised in a monastery by glutenous and greedy monks who would rather fill their own bellies and wallets than help needy villagers. Set in the heart of Northern England in AD 1312, the world is a dark and discouraging place filled with corrupt lords and impoverished lands.
Thomas escapes the monastery and with the help of a knight, a mute girl and a pickpocket he sets out to fulfill his destiny. Along the way he is mentored by the older and wiser knight, secretly falls in love with the girl and obtains a bit of brotherly affection for the young thief. Their adventures along the way form trust and friendship that will either help or hinder the success of Thomas' quest.
I felt like this book had a lot of potential and it was a very enjoyable fast read. But I felt that while the characters were fleshed out really well and had a lot of life to them, it just seemed a little rushed. The fantasy part of the story was very appealing to me. I enjoy a good fantasy story and it's a genre I read quite often. However, I felt that the idea of Merlin and Druids all seemed a bit conflicting for the Christian theme. Now, granted, I am not opposed to mixing fantasy and Christianity, especially in the setting of an allegory but I felt as if this story just didn't really nail it. Did I enjoy the story? Yes. Will I read the next? Yes. But I just felt it was a little rough around the edges.
I received The Orphan King as a complimentary gift in exchange for review from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers. My comments and opinions are my own.