April Read: Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione

Hey everyone! Here I am with the review on my April read, Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione by Chuck Black! As always, my content review and rating comes first, and then my personal review and rating will be at the end! There will be spoilers throughout the content review, so skip down to the personal one if you wish to miss them!

So without further ado, here is my review on Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione by Chuck Black!

Taken from Goodreads

The Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads)

A dangerous new order threatens the mission of the Knights of Arrethtrae. Only loyalty to the King can bring victory!

As the Knights of the Prince await His triumphant return, they are steadfast in their mission to take His story into the kingdom and recruit as many as are willing. But when a new and dangerous threat is revealed, their mission is jeopardized. 

Sir Kendrick and his young charge, the impetuous Sir Duncan, are sent on a mission to discover the identity and origin of a secretive new order known as the Conquistero Knights. They travel to the city of Bel Lione where Lord Ra has been enticing young people in the kingdom to join his festivals, after which many choose not to return home. Their families keep quiet for fear of repercussion. 

When Sir Duncan disappears while trying to discover the truth of Lord Ra’s castle, Sir Kendrick attempts to find and enlist the help of a mysterious warrior. Time is short for he must save Duncan and call upon the knights of Chessington to join in the battle against the evil Lord Ra. 

Journey to Arrethtrae, where these knights of noble heart live and die in loyal service to the King and the Prince. These knights are mighty, for they serve a mighty King. They are…the Knights of Arrethtrae!

Content Review:

Positive Messages: There are a lot of positive messages in the story! Sir Kendrick is an older knight with a shadowy past, who is very strict and solemn. He is put in charge of a more wild, fun-loving knight, Sir Duncan, and their personalities obviously don’t mesh the best. Sir Duncan wants Sir Kendrick to do more “fun” things, while Kendrick just wishes Duncan wouldn’t be so rash. As they get to know each other more, however, both begin to see the special qualities about each other. Duncan begins to respect Kendrick, not only because he is his elder, but because of his wisdom and skill. And in turn, Kendrick respects Duncan and treats him as an equal, not like a rash child.

Both Kendrick and Duncan have a desire to serve the King (representing God). Duncan, for his part, sometimes becomes too zestful, but his heart is in the right place and he desires to help others. Kendrick has a different struggle — to overcome his dark past, and forgive the man who forever changed his life.

A boy falls into peer pressure, resulting in a friend getting hurt. However, he realizes his mistake, and redeems himself by playing an important role to help save many others.

An old hermit overcomes his fears to do the right thing. He repents of his own dark past, and is able to use the knowledge he gained from it to help Sir Kendrick and Sir Duncan out in their time of great need.

Three friends work together and use teamwork to reach a goal. A man forgives a dying man for harming his family. A widowed mother truly loves her son and daughter, and it’s clear they love her too and try to do what is right. A woman gives a man her late husband’s horse, free of charge, and several times “Silent Warriors” (Angels) come to the aid of some knights.

Ultimately, this book shows the triumph of good over evil. It is not preachy, but is along the lines of a C.S Lewis book, an allegory of the Christian walk.

Rating: 5/5

Spiritual Content: As mentioned above, the whole story is an allegory. So while Jesus and God aren’t mentioned, it’s pretty clear who the King and Prince are. Neither are actually seen in the story as characters, but are merely mentioned multiple times as sources of strength. Lucius, obviously, represents the devil, and like the King and the Prince, he’s only mentioned throughout the book. There are a group of knights known as the “Noble Knights” which are also only mentioned. They represent the religious Jewish people and their prophets.

The more active players in the books are the “Silent Warriors” representing angels, and the “Shadow Warriors” representing demons. Lord Ra, the villain, is one of these. There are also the Knights of the Prince, representing Christians, and the Vincero Knights, which I will expound upon below. (Also, I don’t know why the synopsis says “Conquistero Knights”, my book said Vincero so I’m going off that.)

The festivals Lord Ra holds are also symbolic. The villain draws all the young people of the village to his festivals, where there is fun, games, wine, dances, and fighting. Few of the parents of the young people try to stop them, and those who’s parents do, will sometimes sneak off to the festivals, where it is said most of the times they get addicted to all the “free” fun and games and continually come back.

One of three things happen to these children. The most common is that, when they grow up, they return back to their village and live like normal people, but are more permissive of their children going to the festivals. I took this to represent your average “good person”, who gradually draws away from the morals of their parents, just a little, and encourages their children to go and do all the fun, fleshly “innocent” things they did as a youngster.

The second thing that happened to the children, was that some would grow so addicted to the fun and games, they’d become obsessed with them, and grew weak. Then Lord Ra would seize them and take them into his castle where he would torment them for his own pleasure. I took this to represent people who are in bondage to a certain sin, or who recognize their sinful state and want to be free, but are ignorant as to how.

The final group of children are those who excel in the violent fighting. Lord Ra would take those children and train them into a group of elites known as the Vincero Knights. These knights would commit all sorts of atrocities across the country. I assumed that these represented the people who most people would consider “bad” people, such as criminals, corrupt politicians, and people who purposefully do things to benefit themselves and hurt others.

One of the knights speaks to people about the King and His Son. The same knight also tells other people about the Prince, and how he’s convinced He exists and is true. Again, it’s not preachy, but flows well with the story.

Another character believes the Prince and Lucius are just myths.

Rating: 5/5

Romantic Content: A knight and a young lady fall in love. It’s entirely clean and chaste, overseen by the lady’s mother and the knight’s guardian. It’s not really expounded much upon since it’s not a major part of the book, which in my opinion kind of works against it since I didn’t really care much for it.

There are mentions of teens flirting with one another. As knights pass through a crowd to get to a tournament, maidens flirt with them, and one young knight is said to be intoxicated by the attention. Someone says people began to “get affectionate” with one another at a party. A young knight is asked by a seductive young lady to dance, making a couple suggestive movements as she does so.

Rating: 3.5/5

Violent Content: As another medieval book, there are plenty of knightly battles, tournaments and violence. However, it’s all very light and would be fine for a middle schooler to read.

In a tournament, a cruel knight thrusts his sword through another knight’s shoulder, eventually killing him. A Shadow Knight starts to choke someone, then throws them to the floor. He gives orders to torture and slowly kill the person. A person is kicked in the face. Some Shadow warriors are killed, along with a horse. A knight is slammed against a tree. A knight recounts the murder of his wife and infant son.

A man is attacked by a fantasy wolf, and he manages to kill it by running his sword through its throat. The force of the attack causes his arm to go out of joint, and he has to realign it. He is also bit by the creature.

In a dungeon, lots of people are tortured and emaciated. Two men find a knight, bloodied and stretched on a column as he is being beaten with a whip studded with metal. The torturers are then killed by the two, and the knight rescued, though badly hurt.

A boy sets fire to some shelters. A battle ensues, but there isn’t many violent details. A horse is killed, some men are killed, and sword fights take place. An enemy knight stabs another knight in the chest. An evil knight is killed with a blow to the chest. A major character is run through the abdomen, then the knight who kills him is also killed. The major character dies, blood trickling from his mouth.

Rating 4/5

Language Content: As far as I recall, there isn’t any language to be found in this book!

Rating: 5/5

Other Negative Content: There’s not really any negative messages in this book. There were a couple style issues, but they were very minor and hardly noticeable.

There were only two negatives for me. The first was that the book could have been longer, which is actually probably a positive for the author, because I would have liked to read more, or at least gotten the world and especially the characters fleshed out more. This isn’t to say they were flat, they weren’t, but I would have loved to read even more about their different interactions and learn more about them, especially since the next books in the series don’t focus on them at all.

The second negative is connected to the first one, in that, like I mentioned above, the romance wasn’t very developed, and I felt like it was just stuck in there. Like the story would have worked just fine with the two young characters just being friends. In fact, I actually liked the young knight with another girl knight better, just from one scene I saw of them together. I just didn’t feel the romance really… worked.

But of course, the romance wasn’t a major part of the story, so it’s not that big of a negative as it would have been had it been more major than it was.

Rating: 4/5

Total Content Rating: 4.42/5 Stars

Personal Review:

I actually liked this book more than I expected to! I really enjoyed the plot, the characters, and of course, the allegory. I thought the whole festival concept was really cool, and even though the plot twist was sort of expected, I still liked how they wrapped it up for a satisfying end! And the Blood Wolves were a really neat fantasy creature, I liked how developed they were.

I just wish the book could have been a little longer. I would have enjoyed to have the characters a little bit more fleshed out, especially since I heard the rest of the series follows different characters. The world would have been neat to explore more too, but maybe in the following books I’ll get to see more of the world. I say this as a positive since clearly the book made me want to know more about the characters and their lives.

The only small negative I didn’t like about the book was the romance. It just felt like it was stuck in there with no real development. As I mentioned above, I liked the young knight better with another female knight in his one scene with her at the dance than I did with the girl he liked. If the author could have developed the romance, I maybe would have liked it more. But because it wasn’t a major plot point and it wasn’t much expounded upon, it’s a very small negative.

I would definitely recommend this book to people who like allegories like Pilgrim’s Progress and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, as well as those who like medieval stories about knights and adventure.

Personal Rating: 5/5 stars

Thank you so much for reading my review! Do you think you will read this book? Have you read it before? Let me know in the comments below! God bless! ~ Kay Leigh

3 thoughts on “April Read: Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione

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