Please Note: Although I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purposes of reviewing it I was not compensated in any way.
A Draw of Kings is the third book in The Staff and The Sword series. The book follows a collection of characters as they defend the kingdom and search for the will of Deas (God). Like many books in the fantasy genre, the kingdom has a medieval flavor with some particulars unique to the setting. Of importance to the story is who will be the sacrificial king that will restore the boundaries of good and evil, man and demon.
What I like about the book is the author’s examination of how imperfect humankind can seek the will of God in order to overcome evil and restore order in the face of chaos. Mr. Carr has created a believable world with enough intersections with the real world to be understandable. The writing and action is fast paced with several story lines diverging and resolving to a satisfactory conclusion.
Since I had not read the first two books in the series I will admit to having a hard time getting my hands around the world that the author is presenting. Some of my dislikes may very well flow from my out of sync experience. I suppose it would be like reading Return of the King before reading the first two books of Tolkien’s masterpiece. With that in mind, I did have a difficult time catching up with the actions and terms used. Especially the method and importance of the draw, a kind of casting of lots, in order to determine the will of Deas. I think that the main characters come off somewhat two-dimensional with little character change. Although that could be a side effect of coming late into the series. There are several instances where the climax of a particular story line moves by too quickly without giving the reader a chance to understand or enjoy the importance of the resolution. Lastly a map or two would be helpful to understand where and why various events are taking place in this unfamiliar world. Update: 3/6/2014. I’ve read the first two books and encourage anyone that enjoys this type of fiction to read those before tackling this one. There are a few rough spots but some of my earlier issues are worked out when the books are read in order.
I would recommend the book with the proviso that the first two books be read prior to this one, something I plan to do in the near future. I believe that A Draw of Kings is appropriate for teens and up. I could easily see a father and son reading this at the same time and discussing the natures of good and evil, the haziness of God’s will, and the surety of God’s sovereignty.