She was a dog with no name who was brought out of the kennels where she fought with her pack to become a young woman and a Blessed One. She didn’t remember her past, only surviving. Now she has friends, and they are becoming more than friends, they are becoming her family.
The Blessed Ones work to protect the Empire from those who would overthrow the powers that be. And Sword learns there is more to the struggle than she thought. Her loyalties are tested. Her history is torn open for viewing. She must determine who is right, who she will help, and how to save those she loves.
I received a copy of The Sword Chronicles: Child of the Empire for review purposes.
Sword starts out with no name. She’s just another dog living in the kennels and fighting in the arena with her pack. Although they are children, they are a pack of animals. They have no names and no friendships. She knows every time she enters the arena could be her last and she has done well to survive where many have fallen.
Her life changes when it’s discovered she has a gift. Her gift allowed her to survive her last encounter in the arena. It gave her recognition. It raised her from being a dog to becoming a Blessed One working for the Empire and the Emperor. A gift that gave her a name: Sword.
The Blessed Ones protect the Empire. And in protecting the Empire they must confront others who are against it, and their ideals of why they fight against the Blessed Ones, Sword’s new friends—family.
She is no longer fighting in the arena as a dog. Now she is fighting in the larger arena of the Empire and must either be a hero or a villain. But how does one know which is which?
In Child of the Empire some people display special talents. Of those who display these talents there are a few whose gift is stronger than others. It is not known who will display a talent or a gift until it manifests itself. There is no understanding of why or how those who have these abilities get them.
This story is about some of the gifted, those with stronger talents. They must choose how to use their gifts, which sides they take and why. We learn about their pasts as the story progresses. Each is a study in how people choose to use their own gifts of life to deal with their own hardships, desires, and needs. How they can do the things they do, and still be true to themselves.
There are similarities to be drawn with people all around us. We might not have supernatural gifts, each, no matter their gift, is in control of themselves. Each gets to choose. These internal struggles drew me into the characters. It gave each of them a solid backstory that started before page one and developed through the pages while I continued to read.
In many ways Child of the Empire plays off the traditional telling of a hero being raised from the pits of humanity to become the hero we expect them to be. At the start of the book I felt the impressions of Conan the Barbarian with the rising as a fighter in the slave pits. Michaelbrent Collins embraces that fact instead of trying to hide it. Even knowing this is a similar story, Child of the Empire becomes a unique telling with its setting and the gifts the characters have, which, in turn, create fitting twists.
So far I have read two other books of Michaelbrent Collins and found he is masterful at providing the foreshadowing to set up excellent twists. Even when you know what the twist is going to be, there are enough red herrings scattered through the story to keep you guessing. And, when you are suckered by one of the misleading hints, it’s even more enjoyable.
The Sword Chronicles: Child of the Empire is a fast paced hero story. If you’re not running to keep up, it will grab you and drag you along for the adventure.
Michaelbrent Collins hangs his hat on a traditional story type and tells it in an intriguing fashion that is enjoyable and fun. I found myself not wanting to put down the book as the story kept ramping up. I applaud his unique application.
Child of the Empire is a good read for everyone. There is violence with the fights taking place and starts with an arena fight of two packs facing off against each other. The descriptions, however, are not graphic.
I have books two and three in line for reading and reviewing. I’m looking forward to when they are at the top of the pile—I might adjust the pile.
I give The Sword Chronicles: Child of the Empire 5 out of 5.
Child of the Empire is available on Amazon (link).
About the Author (from the book)
Michaelbrent is an internationally-bestselling author, produced screenwriter, and member of the Writers Guild of America, but his greatest jobs are being a husband and father. See a complete list of Michaelbrent’s books at writteninsomnia.com.