Review: LEGENDS OF KARAC TOR series / by D. Barkley Briggs

The book of names (Legends of Karac Tor, 1) / D. Barkley Briggs

Corus the champion (Legends of Karac Tor, 2) / D. Barkley Briggs

The song of unmaking (Legends of Karac Tor, 3) / D. Barkley Briggs

MS (HS) Grades 7-10 Rating: 4

D. Barkley Briggs pens the Legends of Karac Tor, a fantasy series that will appeal to teens with its themes of brotherhood, loyalty, and good vs. evil. Four teenaged Barlow brothers travel to the land of Karac Tor, where each will play a role in the final battle.

In The Book of Names, Hadyn and Evan receive scrolls while working in their backyard. The scrolls read: “You have been chosen for a life of great purpose.” Then they find the ancient portal that leads to Karac Tor. They discover a sorceress who steals the names of young people, leading them into apathy and slavery. Darkness is spreading over the land.

In Corus the Champion, each brother has a role to play. Hayden travels north to warn the land barons, leaving Evan with a choice: does he sacrifice what is valuable to him to discover whether Corus, once the greatest champion, still lives? Meanwhile, the younger brothers – Garret and Gabe – enter Karac Tor. Evan and Gabe seek the legendary Sleeping King, while Hayden tries to unite rulers of different lands.

In The Song of Unmaking, a machine is being built high atop Mount Vishgar. If this machine releases the Song of Unmaking, it will be the end of creation. The brothers are growing in their powers, except for Evan who sacrificed his gift to save others. The brothers must learn to use their gifts to stop the sorceress from destroying Karac Tor. The brothers learn the importance of unity, sacrifice, and love in the face of evil.

The books pay homage to Narnia, Arthurian legend, as well as Nordic and Celtic mythology. Christian themes might not be easily recognizable, but they are present. However, sorcery and magic play a big part in the story; even the heroes have their own magic. The large cast of characters may be confusing if the earlier books are not read. The well-written series is both character and plot-driven.

The Book of Names (originally published in 2008) was reissued in 2011 when the second and third books were published. The Ravaged Realm (book 4) will be published in October 2012.

Recommended for teen collections in public and school libraries.

–reprinted with permission, Christian Library Journal, June 2012.

Disclaimer: Book reviews are my opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.