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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
Ballad of the Blacksmith's Son by Rick Taylor is a young adult adventure tale with religious undertones. Set in the dark ages, the book follows the lives of the inhabitants of a Viking village. Keri Ellison is a blacksmith's son. Like other young men of his village, he spends his time chasing girls and hunting. However, his life changes drastically when King Erik recruits all the eligible men of Drakstad for battle against an unknown foe. As Keri and his friends embark on their journey, they become overwhelmed by the hazardous climate as well as being hunted by a pack of dangerous wolves. Keri must now find his spiritual self to lead and protect the men against overwhelming odds to reach their destination.
A coming-of-age tale about survival amidst the chaotic elements of nature, Ballad of the Blacksmith's Son is an entertaining read with underlying Christian themes. The sheer number of characters in the story takes a while to get used to, but halfway through the book, the pace accelerates significantly. Author Rick Taylor infuses the narrative with religious commentary throughout the book, making it particularly appealing to Christian readers. However, non-Christians can also enjoy the creative storytelling style of the author. Due to the large cast, it was a bit difficult to latch onto any other character besides Keri. But I thoroughly enjoyed Keri's transformation from a naive teenager to an inspiring leader who isn't afraid to shoulder responsibility. If you're a fan of coming-of-age stories, check out Ballad of the Blacksmith's Son.