Tales of Vantoria 2 - The Lucky and the Strong
By Robert J. A. Gilbert
Mary is a pixie with a penchant for getting into trouble. Her complete dependence on God to get her out of scrapes would be commendable if not for her constant habit of getting into them. But when she steps through a portal into another dimension, she discovers that God has a plan for her, and part of that might mean doing some of the 'heavy lifting' for a change.
Gilbert's sequel to The Sarian's Sword delivers a fast-paced entertaining adventure, populated by the characters from the previous book, but revolving more around Mary and Renaud. Once again, villages are being burned and Wenchell and his friends are out to find out why, when Mary pops through a dimension door and bumps into them. Renaud spends much effort as God's Agent trying to save Mary from her own risk-taking.
As in The Sarian's Sword, violence is expected and delivered, and much of the story contains battles, but not in the least graphic or gratuitous.
Adult content: none, really, as before. There are a few embraces and kisses exchanged, a touch of romance, but clean and not gratuitous, G rated. (Even Belle and Beast kissed at the end of Beauty and the Beast.)
The center of this book, as in The Sarian's Sword, concerns Dependence on God or Self, at the two extremes. Renaud is from the dimension of War, and has been trained to be the one everyone else must depend upon. He looks to no one else, even God, for help, and expects that God has equipped him to handle anything God throws at him. Mary, from Jantz, depends entirely on God, and assumes God will never throw anything at her that God won't handle on His own, and therefore usually doesn't think before she acts.
I did not find Mary very likeable through the first portion of this book, as I am more from 'War' than 'Jantz', but I expected that both she and Renaud would have an epiphany somewhere in the middle, and I was not disappointed. The book is well-written, fast paced, and an entertaining read with a good thought-provoking moral lesson.
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