The Orphan King by Sigmund Brouwer

Thomas, an orphan raised by greedy monks, embarks on a quest to discover who he is and uncover the many secrets surrounding his family name.  With his cunning ways and intriguing use of knowledge, Thomas enlists the help of a knight, a young thief and a stunningly beautiful girl who is much more than what she appears to be.  Together, they set out to fulfill Thomas' destiny--to retake the castle of Magnus.  Will they succeed, or is Magnus a more wicked place than they could have ever imagined?

When reviewing a book, I usually have a very firm judgment about it one way or another.  I either like it or I don't.  Such is not the case with this book.  Being a huge Merlin/Camelot fan, I was eager to delve into this story, but I quickly discovered the book was not what I was anticipating.  The story line was solid, and the characters were well-written.  There was depth to the plot and detail in the descriptions.  Overall, it was a good story, but I did have a few qualms with it.

For starters, I felt disappointed at the end.  The entire book builds up to this great moment where Thomas will finally fulfill his destiny, but when the time comes, it just happens.  It's far too easy.  After being strung along for the majority of the book, my thoughts at the end were 'That's it.  That's the big finale.  That's the grand destiny.'  It just seemed way too rushed at the end.

Secondly, while the story was good and the book well-written, I just wasn't compelled to read it.  The story didn't draw me in.  In fact, even though this is only the first book in the series, I feel no real desire to read the rest of the series.  Sure, I still have a few questions that I would like to discover the answers to, but the story just wasn't intriguing enough to make it worth my time.

On the positive side, I did like how the author interwove Christian elements into the story.  Thomas is an excellent picture of anyone who has ever asked, "Why do bad things happen to good people?"  His struggle to understand God is one to which many can relate, and it gives this story a unique flair in that the hero has little to no faith.  Brouwer did an excellent job sprinkling these elements throughout the story.

So, do I recommend The Orphan King?  Sure.  Will I read it again?  Probably not.