“A century before Heather and Picket’s adventures in The Green Ember, a
displaced community fights for hope on the ragged edge of survival.
My place beside you
My blood for yours
Till the Green Ember rises
Or the end of the world.
Whitson Mariner and Fleck Blackstar face old fears and new enemies, forging a legend that will echo through the ages.
Old wars haunt. New enemies threaten. An oath is born.
A hero rises.” (From Amazon)
So after I read The Green Ember and loved it to pieces, I began to try to stretch my Amazon money to buy a paperback copy of its prequel. The author, S.D. Smith, had done such an amazing job with his other story that I wanted more, more, more. ; ) And why not buy paperback while I was at it? While I was still in the stretching process, The Blackstar of Kingston became free on Kindle. Oh the temptation to pick it up! Then I found out Mom had picked it up. Oh the temptation to read it! Don’t ever look at the cover, table of contents, prologue, and first chapter of a book if you intend to wait on reading it. Confession: I read it in a day and a half.
Again set in the fantasy world of Natalia, this book has a lot of the same feel as its sequel but a whole new dimension of its own. Instead of a broken kingdom with a lost king, this time it is the beginning of a kingdom being carved out in a new land. And again, it’s so awesome that the characters are rabbits because it makes action and danger so different. This time it’s not just rabbits with swords—some of them have bows too which is good because they are being attacked from above! (And the rabbits look really cute with them in the pictures, but that’s beside the point.)
This book was a lot shorter than The Green Ember which naturally made it more fast-paced. While it lacked the fabulous mystery of its sequel, it made up for that in brilliant action and inspiring moments. (I underlined so much in some places because I seriously couldn’t read a page without finding some gem!) ; ) The main lessons of the book were probably loyalty and hoping for the future. I loved reading about Heather and Picket’s heroes of old, finding out the significance of the green ember, and having something more to read about Natalia. ; )
I loved Fleck Blackstar. He was loyal, passionate, cautious, and heroic. Definitely one of the best rabbits ever. (He invented that really cool pledge!) Humble King Whitson Mariner, Massie, Burnley, and Gavin were also huge favorites of mine. And little Prince Lander is pretty cute. ; )
Parents should have caution in considering this book for younger readers because of some intense un-graphic action. (Seriously, birds of prey with blades strapped to their feet and torches to set your ships on fire is really scary when you are a rabbit!) Other concerns include a young child/rabbit in danger, a destroyed town, and a rabbit who is so scared he is going crazy.
So, that’s the prequel I was longing to read. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to decide which book is better because this one is an action-packed story of their inspiring history and the sequel is a complicated, surprising mystery full of hope for the future. To make this decision even worse, the author is coming out with another book this spring. (I seriously cannot wait to see what happens to my most favorite rabbits ever!) Sigh.
I really liked this part of the book because it was so unlike others I have read…
“’They are well, thank you,’ the king said. ‘Last night I broke the news to Prince Lander that he was not to accompany us on our return trip, and he was—how shall I say it—Most displeased.’ Fleck smiled. ‘His Royal Highness has spirit. It will serve him well when he is king.’ ‘But he must learn obedience,’ the king said. ‘That will serve him better.’”
And I have to share just this one quote in closing so you can see how awesome Blackstar is. ; )
“It was the little prince who spoke, arresting Fleck’s waking dream. ‘You don’t seem afraid, Captain Blackstar,’ he said. ‘You’re smiling.’ Fleck realized that he was and that now the prince was smiling too. ‘I am afraid,’ Fleck said, tenderly touching the prince’s head. ‘But I keep on loving what’s on the other side of this fight. And that will have to make me brave.’”
I just cannot wait for the next book… 😉