Courage could cost him everything.
Third Blade Leith Torren never questions his orders or his loyalty to King Respen until an arrow wound and a prairie blizzard drive him to the doorstep of the girls whose family he once destroyed.
Their forbidden faith and ties to the Resistance could devastate their family a second time.
Survival depends on obedience, but freedom beckons. How far does he dare go to resist the king and his Blades?
No matter what Leith chooses, one thing is certain.
Someone will die.
Dare by Tricia Mingerink is a mix between historical fiction and an invented medieval realm. All of the Blades of Acktar books are solidly in the noblebright category, and you’ll soon see why. These books may not count as fantasy because there is no magic, but it fits a similar setting to most epic fantasy stories (tyrant king, nobles in castles, rebels in hiding, royal assassins called blades, everyone rides horses).
Leith is a king’s blade, which is basically a glorified hit man, ends up wounded at the Faythe family residence. If he learns who Renna and Brandi are or even that they own a Bible, he’d be obligated to report them or kill them. Should Renna, who has spent her life healing people, let him die? What will happen when the other blades come for Leith? The characters had good inner turmoil (“Am I a coward?” or “Am I worthless?”) layered with outside danger (assassins!) and also mixed with relationship issues (“Does she like him?” or “Can he be the father I never had?”). The secrets and action and danger and trusting enemies and Bible stories made an ebb and flow of tension that kept the pace from dragging. The layers complemented each other well and showed so much depth to each character. They all were concerned with finding the right path, but they had to weigh that with how likely they were to succeed and survive.
This is a great book for Bible-believers. I think non-believers may be skeptical of some of the coincidences in the book and think some characters were convinced too easily. It depends on whether the reader enjoys characters who pray and base decisions on what God would approve of. Daniel! Not a story I would have thought to use, but it worked very well. This is a book that really shows Romans 2:4, that “God’s kindness leads you toward repentance.” Kindness and love can do so much more than scorn and judgment! The Faythe family showed that. I was actually worried about Brandi, who kept naming all the animals. She seemed to innocent to let live. The ending wasn’t too predictable, although it was a tad convenient. If this were the end of the story, that would be too easy. However, his mess of lies will cause major problems in the next two books (which are also very good reads).
This guest post was written by Denae Christine. She is a Bible-believing Christian who lives in Colorado and teaches math at an alternative high school. She has a brown belt in karate and listens to audiobooks at double speed. She spends her energy volunteering with her local church’s children’s ministry. Denae has written the Royal Deception trilogy, which is an epic fantasy retelling of the Lion King featuring a world with blade shifters and animal shifters. She also published a companion novella that follows the adventures of the trilogy main character, who is a prince who can shift his arms into swords. Denae is an avid reader and reviewer. Find her on Goodreads here.