Tag Archives: flintlock

The Hidden Fire (Knights of the Flaming Blade #2)

Title: The Hidden Fire
Author: James R. Sanford
Series: Knights of the Flaming Blade #2

Kyric is discouraged from his failure to reach the castle, to start down the path to becoming a true Knight of the Flaming Blades. But Aiyan reappears in his life, and offers a chance at a new adventure: finding the Spice Islands that were marked on the map Aiyan stole previously. And, possibly along the way, Kyric might learn a little more and get one step closer to his dream of Knighthood . . .

This was kind of odd, because I liked the dream portions much better than the waking portions. The whole book, Kyric is following a series of dreams that are part adventure, part danger—and enough of it follows him to the real world to be concerning. He isn’t sure what they’re about, or where they’re leading him, but there’s something about them that captures his attention.

The waking adventure isn’t bad, just not as bizarre as the dreams. I don’t like how the introduction of the book is Kyric falling into a slump and deciding to lose his virginity with a random girl. He seemed to have more sense than that in the previous book. Similarly, his attempts at relationship later feel like they move really fast.

Action-wise, both segments have some good moments. Aiyan starts to show more humanity in the way he deals with some old comrades. The journey may be long, but most of the story doesn’t take place on the ship.

Overall this was a decent followup to the first book, although I wasn’t quite as fond of it due to Kyric messing around. I rate this book Recommended.

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Call of the Flame (Knights of the Flaming Blade #1)

Title: Call of the Flame

Author: James R. Sanford

Series: Knights of the Flaming Blade #1

Kyric is on his way to the games to compete in the archery tournament when he stumbles across Aiyan. Aiyan is a mystery—possibly insane, but one whose outlandish claims have an uncomfortable ring of truth about them. Are the men hunting Aiyan as dangerous as he says? And now that Kyric is involved, distancing himself again may not prove easy or wise . . .

This was really good. Kyric isn’t particularly interested in a lot of the greater mystery, but Aiyan’s high-stakes crime has attracted a large reprisal, and after a while Kyric realizes he can’t afford to distance himself. Although Kyric does have some interesting dreams, most of what he can do is far more ordinary. And what they are up against is anything but.

The setup with dragons and firebirds was interesting. I also like the weird, and the way it goes farther than a simple definition of magic. Kyric’s dreams are also an interesting wrinkle. It’s one of the things that makes him just a little extraordinary already, although since he doesn’t really like to think about them, it takes a while for him to pay attention.

I wish the ending had been a bit more definitive about what Kyric is going to do next. He doesn’t have to have a detailed plan, but I wasn’t entirely clear what his intentions are after the initial attempt.

Overall, though, this was a solid read and I’ve already got the sequel on my pile. I rate this book Recommended.