A Dark Champion (Brotherhood of the Sword, Book 1)
by Kinley Macgregor
1.0 out of 5 stars Hopelessly confused muddle
This is supposed to be the first of the Brotherhood of the Sword books, but first of all, she mentions characters from her other books, from some novella or other that she wrote as part of a book with other authors, and secondly, she says she covered the first part of the story in a book that does not exist so far as I can find it. So the whole thing is confusing from the outset.
The trouble is that there is then so much of this back story- of the ‘he is friends with Simon, also known as Sin,’ and ‘hates Damien because…’ variety that it is confusing, tedious, and waters down the little romance there is in the book.
The hero, as a result, never really gets moving in the book, and becomes so much more dull as a hero compared to the villains of the piece. The whole Brotherhood of the Sword, presumably to help each other, seems to be pointless in a lot of respects when we find out that the villains are amongst them and the so-called Brotherhood are actually all killing each other off.
All of the hero’s duties mentioned so that he has no time for a wife, are what, exactly? He never leaves the castle!
The whole issue of his brother and his sexual preferences is done to death, and never once is the fact that he is a murderer addressed! He just says, that’s okay, you are my brother and I love you. Sodomy was totally sinful in those days, though since there is never once any mention of these people having any religion, it too is lost as a conflict point upon which the action could hinge, or be escalated, meaningful. This was supposed to be the Middle Ages. All the opportunities for really deep conflict and characterization are completely lost.
The whole issue of the heroine falling in love with a warrior is over almost before it’s begun, again because there is no believable context. These people break all ten commandments with gleeful abandon, which is kind of odd for Crusaders, supposed Christians, to want to do.
The book is weighed down with secondary characters or mentions of them for so short a novel, but when we really need them they are not there!! The Heir to Jerusalem vanishes from the book completely with little logic, and then we are supposed to find out what happens to him in the next book in the series, (first chapter included at the back of the book) when he has made hardly any impression. This is just plain bad writing and planning. The couple’s love-making in the jail whilst being spied on by the voyueristic Damien is just gross.
This book has no medieval content-they are all ‘electrified,’ ‘mesmerized,’ and they talk like teens down at the mall. There are no sumptuous or relevant details of medieval life, and there is a decidely disgusting hidden patriotic message that seemingly tries to justify the current war in America which most readers would find repellent.
If you are going to write medievals with a message, keep to facts and truth, not melodrama, and certainly not this propaganda with offensively modern outlooks which devalue both time periods.
I certainly am not going to waste my time on this sensationalist bodice ripper of a series. The blurb on the back of the book was completely misleading. This may well be trying to set up a series, but as a romance it fails completely. Very disappointing.