Monday, October 24, 2016

Review: The Emblem Throne: Runes of Issalia II by Jeffrey Kohanek

The Emblem Throne: The Runes of Issalia, Book II (Volume 2)
By Jeffrey Kohanek

As they strive to become Masters within the Ministry, Brock and his friends resume their training at the Academy, an institution founded on magic, science, knowledge, law, and combat. They soon discover an expansive web of conspiracies and deceit within the Ministry, hidden behind a veil of benevolence and piety. The exposure of one of those secrets forces Brock and his friends to flee the institution with their lives in the balance.

Joined by a fierce Tantarri warrior, the group embarks on a quest to locate a mysterious throne that has been lost for centuries. Guided by the cryptic words of an ancient prophecy, and backed by a forbidden magic that they are still learning to wield, they journey across the continent to save humanity from extinction.

My Take:
The Emblem Throne picks up where the Buried Symbol left off. As Brock and his friends return to the Academy, he is quickly exposed as an Unchosen and imprisoned, to be shipped off to work in a mine. But Brock's friends break him out and they escape the academy. On the run and hunted as outlaws, and one step ahead of invading hordes of nightmarish monsters bent on humanity's extinction, Brock and his friends race against time to find the Emblem Throne and uncover the means to deliver mankind from its greatest threat.

Drug Content:
PG - There is a minor amount of drinking in this book, and a few heavily inebriated minor characters.

R - The invading hordes are merciless in their horrific violence, though the graphic nature of the battles are not gratuitous. Swordfighting and magical attacks abound, and there are quite a few decapitations. The violence is a bit less graphic than in the first book.

PG - there is not any cussing that I recall in the book.

Adult Content:
PG. The main character has a steady girlfriend, and they have a physical relationship, but the story doesn't pursue anyone into the bedroom. Other characters also find partners in the story. There is some discussion that the Unchosen are forbidden from marrying officially, but they do often publicly declare their vows, even if the State doesn't recognize their unions.

Christian content:
None at all. The main god in this book is Issal, the god of Order, and Order and Chaos are set against each other in the book, somewhat like Yin and Yang. Order is described as the life force in all living things, similar to the Jedi religion of Star Wars fame. Chaos, the hidden symbol and power from the first book, is more power and death, and is pitted as the thing that will save humanity. There are moments when characters mention praying to Issal to save them. Or to receive fallen comrades.

Final analysis:
The Emblem Throne is, if anything, a more riveting read than the first one. It is well-written, immersive, and a page-turner. As in most middle books in a series, the story line resolves some things, leaving the plot at a stopping point but with the major conflicts unresolved. I'm already looking forward to the next book, really enjoying this fantasy series. From a Christian perspective I would only give a caveat that this book would be appropriate for older teens grounded in their faith. Five Stars.

About the Author:
Jeffrey L. Kohanek

Jeffrey L. Kohanek grew up in rural Minnesota where comic books sparked his young imagination, inspiring fantasies of heroes with super-powers saving the day. His tastes later evolved to fantasy epics featuring unlikely heroes overcoming impossible odds to save worlds born from the writer's imagination.

Now residing in southern California, Jeff uses that imagination to weave tales of engaging characters caught in fantastic plots to inspire young adults and the child within us all.

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