I am going to venture to guess that G.K. Chesterton would have liked this book.
Not because it is the most sophisticated book. Not because it is the most elegantly written book. Not even that it is the best book of Mr. Smith’s #RabbitsWithSwords offerings. I think that Chesterton and his wife Frances would have loved how much this book loves children and the fiction that feeds their souls. And Chesterton, MacDonald, Lewis and Tolkien would have loved Story Warren and how S.D. Smith really is on our side.
S.D. Smith is remarkable. He is not the most complex, flashy and high brow writer I have loved but he has to be one of the most humble and honest storytellers I have let into my heart. His writing style is beautiful and compelling and I see much CS Lewis in it. His tender and moral stories come from a deeply held love of his audience and a skill honed by the classic authors who nourished his soul. His classics loving style and tender care for those who will engage with the story work magic on the reader’s heart.
This is a story which bears the hallmarks of a love of Middle Earth but not the same intention or mission. I think that the Lord sent JRR Tolkien into his time and place to create Middle Earth to answer the need of that time. To inspire the readers of post-war Europe who were complicit in the eradication of the Shire and the diminishment of the values that dwelled there. I think that the same Lord has raised up S.D. Smith into this time and place to kindle hope and virtue in the moral imagination of this generation of young readers. I think that his stories will help today’s children love what is lovely and respect what is good and true.
Black Star is smaller/shorter than The Green Ember and has a different feel. It is less developed than The Green Ember and the characters are not quite as well drawn. That said, the story arc is really engaging and very powerful and the characters are equally likable. This origin story has a lot of action and a call to arms that resonates with even my four year old.
This is, without a doubt, the kind of book which will support the good we are trying to do in our homes. It is the kind of story which lives in the imagination and continues to whisper truth to the readers long after the book has been returned to the shelf.
Bravo, Mr. Smith. Bravo and many thanks.