The Archer’s Cup is the third Jo Shanks book in the Green Ember Archer series. It is the ninth book published, and it occurs as the second to last book chronologically. And, true to form, it is both wildly entertaining and informational. The Green Ember Archer series serves to give the reader additional information and perspective on our favorite characters while also giving us some relief from the intensity of the main stories. In this side series, S. D. Smith shows us the brotherhood of soldiers complete with the banter, the jokes, and the side stories that make the overall series even more authentic. Whenever I am reading a Jo Shanks book, I feel like I am watching a great old war movie from the 1960s like “The Great Escape.”
In this sequel to The Last Archer and The First Fowler, Jo, Cole, Heyna, and Emma are on a mission to unite the citadels in their stand against Morbin Blackhawk and his vile allies. When they arrive at Blackstone Citadel, however, things are not as they should be, and there are immediate internal problems that are much more pressing than the looming war outside. This story ends up feeling more like a “whodunit” story than a war book, and that is equal parts fun and interesting. With a deft hand, Smith contributes to the big picture while also giving us a set of new characters to be interested in and care about. And this goes back to my comments in The Last Archer that I think that if Smith wants to, he has many more delightful stories to tell us in this world of Natalia.
After a near-death experience for our friends and a prolonged mystery seasoned with thwarted love, the story finishes up with a badly needed community-building event: the Ultimate Archer’s Cup. In The Last Archer, we learn about Halfwind Citadel’s annual Archer’s Cup. In that book, young Jo is desperate to beat the rightly famous Nate Flynn. In the time since then, Jo has moved into a special fighting force, The Fowlers, under the leadership of Lord Captain Helmer, while Nate has remained with his special archer team, The Bracers. In this story, Jo and Nate join forces with other famous archers from other citadels, and they compete in a harried contest. It is known as the Ultimate Archer’s Cup because it pits most of the best archers from all of the prominent citadels against each other. Enemies on the field but allies in the cause, the contest is wild and the competition is intense.
This fast-paced and exciting story is a joy to read and will help readers better appreciate the final battle at First Warren in Ember’s End. It also has some lessons on love to share. As always, our beloved and fallible characters learn and grow and come out better rabbits in the end. I have a dog named Samwise Smalls and another named Heather Rose (Rosie Cotton). If the next one is a boy, I think that it will be Jo Fingal.
You can learn more about S. D. Smith and find more of our reviews of his books here. You can purchase this book directly from Sam’s store, Story Warren, here or from Amazon, here. You can learn more about the book at Biblioguides, here. Sara has done some Green Ember bookclubs, you can find more here.