Monday, December 10, 2012

December Book Reviews :: The Kingdom Series by Chuck Black

For this month's book review post, I thought I'd share with you all about a unqiue series I've recently had the pleasure of reading. It is called The Kingdom Series and was written by Chuck Black who is a man who, like our family, has six children. The series was written to help his children understand and be more excited about God's Holy Word, and is basically a big allegory of the Bible set in midievil times!  The series, though labeled under teen fiction, is wonderful for any age or gender and is quite exciting! A nice thing about this series is that each book has discussion questions and answers to help you understand better the Biblical allegory.
 I hope that my reviews of the six books in the series can be helpful to you, and hopefully will encourage you to read this series if you've not already! If you do, I am sure you will be blessed and inspired by it! If you have read this series and would like to share your thoughts on the books, then please feel free to leave a comment and share! Happy reading! ~Bethany
The Kingdom Series
~ By Chuck Black ~
The Story Behind The Series ::
“When my six kids’ eyes glossed over during a reading from the Bible, I paused to explain the significance of redemption to a sin-sick soul. I was rewarded with patronizing elephant nods and more blank stares. Shortly thereafter, I awoke in the middle of the night with a medieval story enveloping my mind. I wrote it down and later read it to my children. Their waning attention transformed into complete anticipation. I was amazed and disappointed. Why did it take a fictional story, not a Bible passage, to get that response? Then I realized—that is how Jesus taught! Parables are powerful! I penned the Kingdom series to help young people get excited about the supremely significant story of Jesus Christ and His mission to save mankind.”

— Chuck Black
Kingdom's Dawn, Kingdom Series #1Kingdom's Dawn
Book # 1
Publisher :: Multnomah Publishers, Inc.
Source :: Library
Number of Pages :: 140
Age Recommendation :: 8+
Publication Year :: 2006
ISBN :: 1590526791
My Rating :: 5 out of 5 stars
Synopsis :: He’s just a young man, but that doesn’t change the truth.

He was chosen…

Sixteen-year-old Leinad thought he was a common farmer’s son, nothing more. He wondered why his father had trained him for years to master the sword—not exactly a tool of the trade for farmers—but one tragic event initiates a world of revelation.

Only then does he begin to understand his calling—a calling no other man in the entire kingdom of Arrethtrae can fulfill—a calling given him by the King himself.

Teamed with a young slave girl, Leinad is thrust into adversity and danger—for the Dark Knight and his vicious Shadow Warriors will stop at nothing to thwart the King’s plan to restore the kingdom. Leinad will need more than a sharp blade and a swift hand to fulfill his mission and survive the evil plots of the King’s sworn enemies!

Journey to Arrethtrae, where the King and His Son implement a bold plan to save their kingdom; where courage, faith, and loyalty stand tall in the face of opposition; where good will not bow to evil—and the future of a kingdom lies in the hands of a young man.

Kingdom's Dawn is the first of six books in the Kingdom Series by Chuck Black. The books are basically an allegory of the events found in the Bible, which is my favorite part about the books. Each book represents a portion of Biblical events. This book has characters that symbolize Adam and Eve, and their 3 sons, and The Lord and Satan.

Kingdom Dawn's main character is Leinad {which is Daniel spelled backwards is you look at it closely. He later represents Daniel, in another book in the series} and he is a farmers son. His father daily trains him in the skill of swords and before he knows it, he is a very gifted swordsman; which comes in handy later on in the book when he is in many places where his skill saved his life. But he wonders why his father isn't teaching him his trade of farming because sword fighting has nothing to do with farming. But then his father reveals his past to Leinad and shares how he once let the King {Jesus} down and is training Leinad to make things wright where he failed the King. {Symbolizing Adam and Eve's fall which is found in Genesis} Leinad realizes just how important this role is once his father is tragically killed by Lucas' army {Symbolizing Satan-or the Dark side} and begins serving as a Knight of the King against the Dark Knight Lucias and his army.

I was very pleased with this book and eagerly continued the series at my first chance after finishing Kingdom's Dawn. The only part that might be a con to some is that their are a lot of battle scenes where men fight to the death and kill each other-some portions were a bit descriptive. But other than this, I loved the book.

For sure my favorite character is Tess who Leinad finds on the streets at the beginning of the book. He takes her in and she soon becomes an invaluable friend after his father's death. Overall I loved this book and would definitely recommend it to Christians. If you like Pilgrims Progress they you will most likely like this modern version, which is very similar to Pilgrims Progress. Even though it's considered teen fiction, I enjoyed it a lot. The books are fairly short {Each book is on average 140-ish pages so I was able to read one a day} so I originally thought they might be for younger kids, but I loved them and think adults would enjoy the series as well.
Kingdom's Hope, Kingdom Series #2Kingdom's Hope
Book # 2

Publisher :: Multnomah Publishers, Inc.
Source :: Purchased for $1.50 at a book sale
Number of Pages :: 150
Publication Year :: 2006
ISBN :: 1590526805
My Rating :: 5 out of 5 stars
Synopsis :: Fierce castle lords hold the kingdom hostage.

But a champion is coming…

Fairos thought he had sentenced Leinad to death in the Banteen desert. But he was wrong. Leinad survived. Now, trained by the King himself, Leinad returns—a true Knight of the King. His skill with the sword is unmatched this side of the Great Sea ; his resolve is unshakable. He is determined to fulfill the mission given him by the King and to free the people from their bondage to Lord Fairos.

Leinad’s quest takes him from the chains of slavery, near the jaws of dragons, and close to the arms of love. And when the rest of the kingdom turns away from the King and the Code, Leinad turns to his most faithful ally, Tess. With her help, Leinad struggles to conquer his own doubt. But he must do so soon, for the King’s archenemy, the Dark Knight, is about to unleash his entire evil force, and only Leinad can stop them… 
Kingdom's Hope, the second book in the Kingdom Series is a wonderful continuation of the previous book, Kingdom's Dawn and continues in the epic story of Leinad, who represents Moses in this story. It is once again like the first book filled with suspense and that edge-of-your-seat feeling, and plenty of epic battle scenes. This book focuses mainly on the story told in Exodus of Moses and his being the voice for the Lord to Pharaoh to free his slaves and then the 40 years of wandering in the desert and more. I found this book to be very interesting and a great way to help lighten this timeless story that can sometimes be a bit dry.

One of my favorite things about this book is how Leinad and Tess's relationship really deepens and grows in the story. Throughout the book, you can see their relationship really sprout and eventually it's obvious that they have feelings for each other. I loved how pure their relationship was and how righteous Leinad was. He was such a gentleman and always thinking of others first, and is in my opinion a great example of a true gentleman. Overall I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it!

Kingdom's Edge, Kingdom Series #3Kingdom's Edge
Book # 3

Publisher :: Multnomah Publishers, Inc.
Source :: Library
Number of Pages :: 150
Publication Year :: 2006
ISBN :: 1590526813
My Rating :: 5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis :: He was doomed to a life of hopelessness and despair.

Then the stranger arrived…

For Cedric of Chessington, every day is the same: full of poverty and despair. And he knows that will never change.

Or so he thinks.

Then a stranger comes to the city. Drawn to the man’s mysterious ways, Cedric discovers the stranger’s humility belies great strength and wisdom. That’s when an astounding truth becomes clear—the stranger is a Master of the Sword, and He is there to train Cedric.

Suddenly propelled into a desperate battle against evil, Cedric must rely on the Master’s training if he is going to survive. But the ultimate battle is yet to come, for the Dark Knight is at work, implementing his plan to take over the kingdom. Will Cedric be ready to stand in the face of pure evil?

Kingdom's Edge, book three in The Kingdom Series is full of action, adventure and Biblical allegory! One of the things that is new in the books is that in Kingdom's Edge, we meet a new main character. This added a nice twist since the previous two book's main character is Leinad. In Kingdom's Edge the main character is Cedric, who mainly symbolizes the 12 disciples. It is nice to get to know Cedric better in Kingdom's Edge since he is the main character in the previous books prologue and epilogue. One of the things I liked was how even though Leinad was no longer the main character, he was still a big part of the story, which I liked. This book is an allegory of Jesus Christ's life and death on earth, and I found it shed a new light on this familiar story in a very unique, interesting way.

In the story Cedric goes from a average man to a man called by Christ Himself to follow Him as a disciple. Throughout the books I read lots of allegorical scenes that portrayed events found in the Gospels of Jesus' life and death. I found the allegory very interesting and inspiring and it made me think a lot about the life of Jesus in a new way. This was the shortest of the six books in the series and was a pretty quick read, like all the other books. The only thing I'd say is a bit of a con, depending on your personal reading standards, is their is a bit of violence. Their is one scene were a girl, symbolizing the woman who was accused of adultery and was to be stoned, was caught stealing and was to be punished by getting her hand cut off. Thought, according to the Biblical story, Jesus intervenes and keeps this from happening, their is a bit suspense and may lead to being recommended for a mature reader. I'd recommend it for at least ages 13+, but this all depends on your parent's standards and what you are used to reading. It is probably one of my favorites in the series so far. I really enjoyed it and would highly recommend it!
Kingdom's Call, Kingdom Series #4Kingdom's Call
{Book #4}
Publisher :: Multnomah Publishers, Inc.
Source :: Library
Number of Pages :: 160
Publication Year :: 2007
ISBN :: 159052750X
My Rating :: 5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis :: A sworn enemy of the Prince vows to eliminate his Followers.
Until the Prince saves his life…

For generations the Noble Knights have been in service to the King. Following a strict code of conduct, they preserve the peace in Chessington, the King’s chosen city, and rule its citizenry. Sir Gavin is a young and promising Noble Knight, devoted to King and Code.

Then a peasant disrupts the tranquility of Chessington, brazenly challenging the Code while claiming to be the son of the King–a Prince. When it is learned that he is actively training a force of men in defiance of the law, the stranger is arrested and executed.

But his Followers continue to defy the Code, and Sir Gavin swears to destroy this threat to Chessington–until he himself is grievously wounded in battle. As he faces his own death, Gavin is saved by someone who will transform his heart and change his life…

Kingdom's Call, which is the fourth book in the Kingdom Series and for me, was a much anticipated read since the events from the previous book continued to unwind in this story! As in Kingdom's Edge, this book features a new main character, Sir Gavin who symbolizes Saul/Paul in the Bible. This book is very interesting in the fact that it is almost a re-run of the previous book, but from the other perspective. Kingdom's Call is basically Kingdom's Edge {Book 3} which is about Jesus life and death on earth, but this time around it is written from the Pharisees perspective!

Sir Gavin, at first is not really crazy about this new guy who shows up professing to be the Prince, Son of the King. In fact, he and the rest of the Pharisees are plotting a way to get rid of Him so their city can become normal as it once way, and rid of this stranger. Sir Gavin is full-out devoted to the Pharisee mindset and wants nothing to do with this guy except for getting rid of Him. After this mysterious strangers death, Gavin believes their problem is solved-until the Prince is risen from the dead and is bringing up followers for His name in the city. As the story goes on you see the allegory of the Jesus-hater, Saul's transformation to Paul a mighty man of God-once a persecutor of followers of Christ, and then a follower of Christ himself.

It was really neat to get to sort of re-read the previous book in Kingdom's Call but from the other perspective, and I loved how it was tied in with the story of Saul/Paul! It was a wonderful story of how Christ can change any man, no matter how unworthy or sinful and I would highly recommend it!
Kingdom's Quest, Kingdom Series #5Kingdom's Quest
{Book #5}
Publisher :: Multnomah Publishers, Inc.
Source :: Library
Number of Pages :: 160
Publication Year :: 2007
ISBN :: 159052749
My Rating :: 5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis :: He was called to fulfill a mighty quest, filled with fierce battles.
A quest to bring hope to the kingdom…

Having narrowly escaped death at the hands of the evil Shadow Warriors, Sir Gavin is given a new name by the Prince to signify his new allegiance–to the cause of the one he once swore to kill. Called to share this message to everyone in the land of Arrethtrae, Sir Gavinaugh takes up his sword and embarks on an epic journey.

Winning hearts and minds with the power of his words and his skill with a sword, Gavinaugh travels from one end of the kingdom to the other, telling Outdwellers about the Prince, convincing them to join him. And though Gavinaugh is at times beaten, thrown in prison, or stranded far from home, the Prince himself guides his words, his sword, and his pilgrimage.

Kingdom's Quest was one of my favorite books in the Kingdom Series and is for sure my favorite front cover. I loved how the cover was a very important scene in the story, and is so pretty! This was also the longest book in the series, but still short considering the books I normally read have around 300 pages. This book is very interesting since you get to see the whole new side of Gavin, who's name was changed by the Prince to Gavinaugh at the end of the previous book, representing the allegory of Saul/Paul. It was very neat to get to see the new Gavin and meet a couple new characters along the way.

I also enjoyed seeing the relationship growth between Gavinaugh and Keanna. I'd say that so far in the series, this book had the most romance, but was on a moderate lever and very clean. I found that I kind of got attached to the characters in a way, and loved how the story played out.

This book was just like all the others in the series with new epic battle scenes, so their was some violence, which is to be expected in battles. Their was also a pretty creepy dragon which Gavinaugh gets to fight, as well as a scenes were a family is nearly hung for their belief in the Prince. So I'd probably only recommend this book to mature readers. Despite the older reader content, this book is still amazing and a great allegory of Paul's mission journeys. Once again Chuck Black has captured me in this wonderful story and left me wanting more.

Kingdom's Reign, Kingdom Series #6Kingdom's Reign
{Book #6}

Publisher :: Multnomah Publishers, Inc.
Source :: Library
Number of Pages :: 150
Publication Year :: 2007
ISBN :: 1590526821
My Rating :: 5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis :: An evil army masses against the Knights of the Prince, and they are outnumbered.
Only the King can save them…

While the Knights of the Prince train in the Kingdom Across the Sea, the Dark Knight, Lucius, reigns in Arrethtrae with complete authority. But when a small group of loyalists swears allegiance to the King, the Prince returns, and in a mighty battle, Lucius and the Shadow Warriors are vanquished and imprisoned in the Wasteland.

Peace and prosperity renew the land, and the Prince rules from the royal city of Chessington. While the heroic Cedric travels as ambassador, he sees that every corner of Arrethtrae reaps the benefits of prosperity brought to the land by the Prince’s reign.

But not everyone will swear allegiance to the King, and it seems this paradise may be lost yet again because of the pride and greed of evil men who plot to free the Dark Knight and his minions. Cedric rides desperately to bring the news before it’s too late…
This was a wonderful conclusion to the Kingdom Series! I must admit that at first when I heard it was about the end times, I thought their might be a hidden agenda in the series pushing a certain belief of the end times. But I was so pleased to find that their wasn't any pushed belief for his view of the end times and was more about the story of the characters and Arrthetrae than the end times views out there. I also loved how I got to re-visit all the characters for the series and saw how their lives had continued after the books with them in it had ended. It reminded me of a big family reunion! I also loved meeting Leinad and Tess's daughter! That was a pleasant surprise! The only con was their were some women fighting in the battles and while it wasn't a lot or anything, I still wasn't so sure I'd have done it that way. But overall I enjoyed this last book in the series and was so glad to be able to read it! I was very pleased with the series and loved this last book, it was for sure a great ending!

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