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405 pages
Oct 2007

The Restorer's Son (The Sword of Lyric Series #2)

by Sharon Hinck

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The Restorerís Son is the second book in Sharon Hinckís ďSword of LyricĒ series. When there is trouble in the country of Lyric, the One has promised to send a Restorer to save His people. The previous restorer was a woman named Susan, drawn to Lyric from our own world. She now has passed that mantle to the half-breed and outcast Kieran. But he would rather die than shoulder the Restorerís responsibilities. Around the same time, Susan finds that her teenage son Jake has wandered his way into Lyric, where he is clueless and completely vulnerable. Susanís quest to find her son unwittingly entangles her in Kieranís flight from the Oneís call. And none of them may survive.

Unfortunately, the premise of this story and the actual book that is presented are rather unrelated. Thatís not to say itís a bad bookójust that The Restorerís Son canít be judged from its back cover copy.

The Restorerís Son is written from two separate first-person points of view, with Kieran and Susan each narrating their own stories. This isnít bad at first, but when the two stories intertwine, it slows the book considerably, as the reader is constantly trying to remember whose story is being told. In spite of clear labeling at the beginning of each chapter, it was somewhat confusing at times.

Susanís plotline, though seemingly the main thrust of the book, doesnít enter until six chapters in. Even then, it doesnít make much sense for another three chapters and doesnít contribute much to the book. She and her husband Mark are rounded but uninteresting characters, and their son Jake really just serves as a convenient device for explaining the storyís world to the reader. Susanís plotline is predictable and flat and could have been better handled as a secondary story running in the background, as it is clearly just a set-up for Hinckís eventual third book in the Sword of Lyric series.

The main story in The Restorerís Son is that of Kieranís fleeing from, confronting, and finally accepting the mantle of Restorer that the One has laid on him. This story, though also scattered for its first few chapters, is a compelling narrative moving from rebellion to submission. Engaging, interesting, and holding several surprises, it leaves the reader satisfied and hopefully a little wiser.

Kieran is a realistic and relatable characteróhow many times have Christians in this world wondered what on earth God was trying to do with their lives? His struggles with his calling by the One and his eventual submission are the high points of the story. He changes believably over the course of the story, and the man he is by the end is dramatically different from the man he began as. The one little hitch in Kieranís character is that at the beginning, the reader is given the general impression that he is around 20 years old, while his actual age is closer to 35. However, considering that Hinck has created a strong, flawed, compelling character for her lead, the age confusion isnít much of a drawback.

For being the second book in a fantasy series, The Restorerís Son stands on its own two feet. The world is slightly confusing at first, but that smoothes out quickly. Within a few chapters, Hinckís science fiction-fantasy fusion (swords and laser-like guns, magnetic locks and magic) is firmly established and serves as an intriguing background to the story. Also, all pertinent plot points from the first book are explained when they are needed, so the reader doesnít feel completely lost in a continuing series of events.

Hinckís greatest triumph in The Restorerís Son is her integration of a true biblical faith into a world-traveling fantasy. The One of Lyric and his people of the Verses are crucial to the story, and very believable. When the spiritual connections between God and the One become apparent, it is never preachy, never unnecessary, and never clumsy. Kieranís journey into the Restorerís responsibilities is a journey of faith, and this faith is central to the entire story and world. The scene where Kieran challenges the One is reminiscent of Jacob wrestling with God, and is one of the high points of the book.

All in all, The Restorerís Son is a decent book. It suffers from some writing issues, but on the other side, the integration of faith and fantasy is superb, and Kieran is a marvelous character. As overtly Christian fantasy, Restorer's Son is well-done. Rachel Niehaus,

Book Jacket:

Plunged again into the gray world of Lyric and Hazor, Susan and Mark search frantically for their teenage son, Jake, as all signs hint that a trusted ally has betrayed them and threatens their son. Assassins and political intrigue, false leads, and near misses beset their path, which will lead them into the dark prisons of Hazor before the Oneís purpose is revealed.

Cast out by those he trusts and preferring to cross swords with the One rather than submit to His will, Kieran flees to enemy Hazor, only to find that the One knows no borders. Pursued by his calling, Kieran journeys to Sidian, where he finds a boy without a home, a king with burning questions, and a nation torn by darkness. As he embraces the tasks the One has set before him, this new Restorer learns that the One requires his allóperhaps even his life.