<<Beware, very, very minor spoilers featured in this post.>>
This is an eye:
This is a sword:
The Eye of the Sword is something a little different. The title of this book is also the name of a peculiarly piercing sword featured within the story. A sword that has the ability to pierce the heart and reveal the soul. In the course of the story, Trevin finds himself at the business end of this blade, contemplating both his wayward, treacherous life, and his recent redemption. He fears that his recent change of heart isn’t enough, that the sword will somehow measure the good and the bad and find him utterly wanting. In fact, the sword shows the opposite.
Bloggers Shane Werlinger and Keanan Brand, found Biblical elements in this scene. Werlinger noted that Trevin’s feelings of worthlessness even after his change to the good side are reminiscent of a Christian’s feelings of worthlessness when they forget Christ died for their sins. Brand was reminded of how Samuel thought so little of David when anointing him to be king–and yet David was one of the greatest kings in Biblical history, a man after God’s own heart.
I was intrigued by both of these perspectives. For my part, the sword reminded me of this Bible verse:
“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” -Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)
The word of God shows the truth of the human heart: the innate sinfulness of human nature, and the blessed redemption of those who serve Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Despite all these great insights, I still have a difficult time calling Eye of the Sword Christian fiction–or even filing it under that basis. While the book does contain themes of good vs. evil and the power of redemption, I could find stories like that in regular fiction. And certainly the use of angels doesn’t distinguish it from anything secular. Karyn Henley herself said that she set out to write a good story, first and foremost–not to write with certain messages or within certain religious rules. Ergo, she chose to weave in a lot of mythological elements and other fun things.
I can’t argue with Henley’s myth-mixing, since often that’s how some of my own stories start–at the same time, some of those stories aren’t marketed as Christian. I wouldn’t think any less of Henley as an author if she chose to market the books as secular–and indeed, perhaps I would be easier on her, because marketing them as secular firmly cements the idea that her angels are not Biblical angels. After all, The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings aren’t usually found in the Christian book section. Why does this book need to be?
Still, I have to admit I’m glad for something in the Christian section other than Amish fiction, inspirational romance, or end times thrillers (not that those are bad, but a girl likes variety).
Final Verdict: definitely worth a read, and after reading, I would strongly urge reading of the first book in the trilogy, Breath of Angel, because a middle book can’t truly show the depth of any fantasy world. I’m not sure if I would buy it brand-new, but I might scoop it up on discount, or else borrow it.
For other views, please check these bloggers:
Thomas Fletcher Booher
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller