January Read: The King’s Knight

Hey everyone! Here I am with the first book review of 2023! For this book review, I’ll be going back to my usual content review first, then personal review at the end, so that you all can see if you’d like to read this book too!

Spoilers will be below, so read at your own risk! Enjoy my review on The King’s Knight by Matthew Blythe and Cynthia Stuckey!

The Synopsis (Taken From Amazon)

After a dramatic rescue from a putrid dungeon, a lanky former slave named Jonathan embarks on a journey toward a new identity.

Filled with awe and gratitude over the king’s pardon of his deserved death penalty, Jonathan resolves to serve the king all of his days-but his commitment does not come without difficulty.

Much to his surprise, Jonathan’s rescuers take him under their wing and welcome him into their royal military unit, dubbing him with a new name-Sir Jonathan. Despite their mentorship and heartwarming camaraderie, Sir Jonathan must still face a number of life-threatening personal dragons on his own.

Will he overcome them in time? Or will it be too late?

Filled with suspense, inner turmoil, and a determined hope,

The King’s Knight accurately and poignantly depicts the many challenges and joys faced by those who follow the true king.

Content Review:

Positive Messages: Obviously by the synopsis, you can tell this book will have many positive messages in it. Since I will go over the Spiritual ones below, I will focus mostly on the characters in this section.

Sir Jonathan is the main character who the book mostly focuses on. He begins as a slave to his goblin captors, but the King (Jesus) and His Knights (other Christians) free him. He becomes one of the King’s Knights then, and vows to serve Him. Jonathan has a lot of failures during the course of the book, but one thing remains the same, his desire to serve the King. He remains humble for most of the book, though a couple times he fails because of his pride. He also learns from his mistakes, rather than repeating them or blaming them on another, and does his best to rely on the King’s Power through most of the book. At the end of the book, the King rewards Jonathan, who is still humble and thankful to Him.

Sir Robert is Sir Jonathan’s mentor during the first part of the book. He provides a good example for the younger knight, teaching him the value of the Kingsbook (Word of God), gently answering his questions, and allowing Jonathan to learn on his own. He also helps Jonathan see his mistakes, and puts a strong belief in him, believing he will slay a dragon, even when he doesn’t look like a strong and powerful knight. He serves the King his whole life, and several other knights which Jonathan meets tell how Sir Robert helped them in their walks with the King. At the end of Sir Robert’s life, the Kingsguards (angels I think) say he has been a faithful soldier of the King.

Sir Bjorn is another character who fits the sidekick role. Though not in the book all the time, he does travel with Jonathan on several of his missions. Sir Jonathan rescues him from a prison, where he is deceived into thinking he is a prisoner. Once freed, he doesn’t feel worthy to be a knight again, yet Jonathan reminds him of his calling, and so he obeys the King. During their travels, he and Jonathan often encourage one another and help each other out of scrapes and in attacking the enemy. In the end, because of his faithfulness, he leads a group of knights himself into battle, having learned from his previous failures.

Captain Tanganye and Lieutenant Morgan are two other minor characters which both provide very positive messages. Captain Tanganye is a guard at a town of refuge. He lives there, not going out on epic battles and adventures with other knights and getting “glory” that way. Yet he is happy and fulfilled because that is the post to which the King has called him. Though maybe not as “glamorous” as what other knights did, it was what the King had called him to do, and because he remained faithful, he would be rewarded just as much.

As for Lieutenant Morgan, he represents how it’s never too late to do the right thing. The knights are ordered to attack the goblin armies, yet they’re too scared to do so. In fact, when Jonathan gently reproves the knights, Lieutenant Morgan actually mocks him, calling him “Slight” because of his small size. However, when he sees the Oath of Fealty to the King that Jonathan leaves for them all, he is convicted and goes to help Jonathan. And when the two go forward to engage the enemy, he is one of the ones who gets to see the King because he finally obeyed.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Spiritual Messages: As you can tell from the synopsis, this is an allegorical book, actually very similar to the book I read last February, Sir Knight of the Splendid Way (you can read that book review here). That being said, there’s a LOT of allegorical content in this book and scripture references. I will mention as many as I can.

The history of the world is given in the first chapter, and it mirrors the fall of man, and how all people are born with a sin nature. That is why all the people start out as slaves to the goblins, mirroring our enslavement to sin. The King and His knights go to rescue these slaves and offer them the King’s Pardon, which he has paid in full. That obviously represents Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Sir Jonathan receives some armor from the king to become a knight and serve Him. The armor is special though, because only when it is used in the King’s (God’s) power are they effective. We can’t do anything in our own power. The lesson is also taught that we should never take off our armor, because we are in a war, and must always be alert to the wiles of the enemy.

At one point, Sir Jonathan thinks he’s not doing important work when he’s escorting freed prisoners to a refuge while other knights go to battle. An older knight points out how the King has jobs for everyone, and they’re all equally important. Jonathan also reads the Kingsbook (Bible) a lot for encouragement, and is encouraged much by fellowshipping with other knights. He also learns the lesson of how important it is to do what God calls you to do, and how unfulfilled we’ll feel if we go about life pleasing ourselves and not earning treasure in Heaven.

Once when Sir Jonathan is tempted, he’s only rescued through the help of another knight. In turn, he helps that knight when he is tempted. In fact, the tempter tries to get the knights alone, so they can’t help each other. Obviously that represents how other believers can help us, and that when we’re alone is when we can be most vulnerable to temptation.

Lots of places are mirages, looking like good, beautiful places, but are actually nothing but rotten, horrible places of death, mirroring how the things of this life can look so good and fun at first, but lead to nothing but sorrow and death.

A prisoner is offered the King’s pardon, but refuses it. A group of people living in a mirage of beauty also refuse to believe the truth and are dragged away by their captors.

The book also shows how Sir Jonathan matures in his walk with the Lord. At first, he makes several rookie mistakes, and stronger knights have to help him. But as he learns, he starts to become wiser to the enemy’s tactics and knows he must rely in the King’s power more than his own. Because of that, he is able to do some great things for Him and rescue other knights. However, just after that, he allows religious pride to overcome him, and is deceived and almost killed by the enemy through their poisonous darts of pride. However, another knight reveals the antidote to the poison, by remembering who we are without Christ–nothing.

During the story, Jonathan again runs into the King, though he doesn’t recognize Him at first. They talk, and He feeds him and heals his feet, which are hurt. He also clarifies how the Lord doesn’t really “need” anyone, since He’s all powerful and all sufficient, but he WANTS people to come alongside Him and be His companions. He talks about Jesus being a Friend, and it shows how important it is even during our busy walks of life that we spend time with Jesus.

Jonathan, having learned the lesson that he is nothing in himself, is able to defeat many goblins and enemies who surround him, and he realizes that even though sometimes he forgets, they know that they can’t stand against the King’s weapons wielded in the King’s power.

A group of knights are drawn away from their commander and some other knights by a deceiver, and later hear their unit was destroyed. This shows just how deadly disunity among believers can be.

Other knights are told by their King to attack the enemy, but because of their fear, they remain where they are. When Sir Jonathan asks them why they aren’t obeying, they tell him it’s certain death if they do because the enemy has many numbers and a dragon. Sir Jonathan himself starts to go alone, and then his act of obedience and faith causes some of the other soldiers to follow suit. This obviously tells us that if the Lord wants us to do something, He will make it come to pass. It also means sometimes we will have to stand alone and take a step of faith despite our circumstances. Then others will see us and be encouraged and follow.

Finally, once escorted by Kingsguards to the City Beautiful (Heaven), Sir Jonathan sees sparkly, shining armor that looks brand new and gets ashamed of his own dirty, dented armor. However, he quickly learns that the shiny armor belongs to those knights who came to the City Beautiful, but did not engage in many battles, or even just sat back and did their own things, letting others fight the battles they were called to fight. Those who were more honored were called Overcomers, since they obeyed God and followed Him and His will for their lives, and served Him fully. And those knights had armor like his, dented and faded. Obviously this stands for earning treasure in Heaven. As the author points out, salvation is free, but rewards in Heaven are earned.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Romantic Content: There isn’t really any romantic content in this book. Once Jonathan and Bjorn stumble across a woman who Jonathan thinks is the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen, but they quickly figure out it’s a mirage and in reality, it’s a ghoul in disguise, trying to kill them. Besides that, there’s nothing!

Rating: 5/5 stars

Violent Content: Being a story about knights and an allegory about our spiritual walk, this book has a lot of battles against creatures like dragons, ghouls, trolls, imps, wolf-beasts called “greys”, skeleton creatures called “shifters” and goblins, representing the forces of evil. Most of the battles are not descriptive though, other than maybe a mention of blood or lifeless eyes of dragons or whatnot.

At the very beginning, goblins taunt slaves by pretending their days of execution have arrived, preparing them for it, and then slamming an axe down next to them, just to torment them. Knights burn down the strongholds of these creatures after freeing their prisoners. A man nearly is killed by a hammer, and knights follow a blood trail of a wounded enemy.

Knights are ambushed by goblins and other enemies, and must battle them. Again, minimal details are given other than like, “his lance hit the beast’s chest” or “arrows hit the creature with a thud”. A couple knights are hit with poison darts, but the poison wears off or becomes ineffective after awhile. A creature is hit with an arrow in an eye.

Knights drop into a castle with the enemy to open the gates for a raid. A knight gets shot twice and is sent to the City Beautiful. Two knights set fire to some tar and create a giant bonfire, killing many of their enemies and freeing some captives at the same time.

A knights feet are badly blistered and cut. A story is told about how some knights deserted their commander, and later learned the rest of their group was killed, and their commander’s bloodied saddle is brought back to them. A dragon shoots fireballs at knights before being killed.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Language: There is no language here, so all good on that front!

Rating: 5/5 stars

Other Negative Content: There wasn’t really any negative “content” in this book, per-say, just a few style issues. For example, there were a couple of minor typos, and in a couple of places, the writing could have been tightened (such as “they were walking” could have just been “they walked”) but it’s really not that big of a deal and in most places you wouldn’t even notice it.

Also, it was written in what I assume was supposed to be omniscient third point of view. For those of you who don’t know what that means, it basically means you can see the thoughts of multiple characters at once (otherwise known as head-hopping) and there are phrases in the book such as “but this evil would prove to be his most dangerous encounter yet” or the narrator noting “but that is a story for another day”.

Also one thing I didn’t care for was a couple times I felt there could have been more description added. For example, the main character fights a dragon, and then in the next chapter, the Kingsguards come to escort him to the City Beautiful to rest and recover from his wounds. But they never actually explained what his wounds were. Also at the beginning of the book, the story is being told by a girl named Kal, explaining about how she was freed and became a knight, making me assume that Sir Jonathan freed her. And there is a little girl at the end of the book he helped free… but they call her Rachel. Did someone forget to change a name, or perhaps the authors are planning a sequel? Maybe, who knows. If that’s the case though I could understand it better.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Total Content Rating: 4.75/5 Stars

Personal Review:

This book definitely exceeded my expectations. It really reminded me of some other allegorical books I’ve read, like Sir Knight of the Splendid Way, Pilgrim’s Progress, and Hinds Feet on High Places. This book had very strong spiritual principles, relatable characters, entertaining battles, and some good fantasy elements, like magical armor, dragons, and monsters. Everything was very Christian and handled in a way that even kids can read and enjoy without being scared or reading gruesome violence.

There were a couple small typos, and a few places I wish they had added more details. A couple times too, I was confused about a fact or two that seemed like they may have either dropped off or forgotten to change. But those were very few and far between, and easily overlooked.

In all, this was a really encouraging story which made me want to continue serving my King the best I can, through His strength, of course. I recommend this book to anyone 8+ who loves allegories, Pilgrim’s Progress fans, and those who love fantasy medieval stories.

Personal Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Thanks for reading my review! Have you read this book before? Do you think you will? Let me know in the comments below! God bless! ~ Kay Adelin

2 thoughts on “January Read: The King’s Knight

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