The Sword and Its Servant, by Victor Salinas, is another young adult book. How did I get sucked into reading another one, well... by the ages 15 and up warning label? Here I am thinking I might be reading a book a little on the spicy side, but nope, preteens in trouble. But I will say that Salinas takes the idea of trouble up a notch and the book becomes more of a pre-teen meets Hellraiser.
Most of the book, actually almost all of the book, focuses on some kids making a jail break. It also covers the POV of three of the arch-villains that rule over the Hunds, which is the evil race that has a great hate for humans. Lucky for the kids there is a hole in the cell that they are able to chip through. Once outside the cell, Salinas isn't scared of killing the kids off and the group quickly dies off and gets separated from each other.
The main human, a girl named Einsa, discovers a living sword. Here is where it gets more interesting. The cowering, inertia filled Einsa is now being guided by this living steel and it wants her to kill. I think Salinas does a good job displaying the reluctance a normal pre-teen girl would have against killing. However, would a girl being kept prisoner her while life who is seeing her friends die have this reluctance? This is not some cell phone using girl of today. Also, although I appreciated his care in displaying this character trait, I almost felt like pulling my hair and just yelling, "Swing the sword, you twit!"
The book is written well and has great invention and flow. The reader can tell Salinas is setting this world up for a long series. There is a glossary and a map included as well. The Hunds are dreadful creatures and writing from three of their prospective makes the book better-rounded.
Downsides, besides those mentioned above, might include the length of the prisoner stay and then the escape. A sort of young adult fantasy prison novel. It was a slow start in my mind. The reluctance to fight is a more modern complex that I don't feel people living through torture would feel. Also, I think the author slips up letting her know things that a kid locked in a jail cell her whole life would never know. Hell, she wouldn't even know what a moon was and could think it was an evil orb sent by the Hunds to get her. These annoying flaws kept my rating down, when it really should have been higher for the writing is well done. World good, writing good, plot errr. Maybe this one just doesn't transfer to adults as well.
As stated, the author has crafted a fine world and is a great writer. This would be a good book for a modern girl to read, because she could relate to the character's reluctance, so it is more reader focused than character focused. Adult men craving action might find this a bit slow.
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