Karina, Tristian, Rashka, and Sam venture forth into the wilderness of Soter on the next leg of their quest to retrieve the Armor of the Creator. With the ancient evil already affecting the kingdom, nothing in Soter is what it seems—from what skulks beneath the canopies of the woods to what lies within the sleek white and gold of the capitol city to the people Karina and Tristan have known since they were children.
Danger lurks around every corner. Discerning who to trust is paramount to staying alive and discovering the location of the Temple of Soter. Yet, to Karina’s horror, Faramos’s reach finds them time and again. The longer they are forced to dawdle, the more people are affected by the growing panic in Soter, and the closer Faramos is to taking over the Three Kingdoms. Can Karina retrieve the information they need while Tristan keeps his brother at bay? Or will the entire quest disintegrate before they even arrive at the temple?
Whether she's wielding a fantasy writer's pen, a freelance editor's sword, or a social media wand, Ralene Burke always has her head in some dreamer's world. She spins fantastical tales to encourage people to SHINE BEYOND.
When her head's not in the publishing world, she is wife to a veteran and homeschooling mama to their three kids. Her Pinterest board would have you believe she is a master chef, excellent seamstress, and all around crafty diva. If she only had the time . . .
Ralene Burke knows how to weave a story! In this sequel to Armor of Aletheia, Karina and Tristan continue their quest for the armor. The tension and adventure intensifies along with their feelings for each other. There's new characters, new challenges, and plenty of drama and action. Sword of Soter was an enjoyable read that kept me turning the page to see what will happen next.
I received a complimentary copy from Prism Book Tours.
Sword of Soter by Ralene Burke is an admirable sequel to Armor of Aletheia. Whereas in Armor of Aletheia the band of protectors and Queen Karina are rarely apart for long, we aren’t too far into Sword of Soter when we find them all going separate ways out of necessity. This understandably sets a different tone for this second book in the trilogy – the mood is a bit more troubled, friendships are tested like never before, and new players are introduced as doubt of their trustworthiness swirls through the once-solid group. In this sense, it reminds me a lot of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and how the mood shifts from book to book, how the fellowship is tested amongst themselves just as much as from any outside enemy, particularly in The Two Towers (also the second book in its trilogy).
The writing style feels like maybe it is geared for slightly younger than what the content lends itself toward, so I was a bit confused at times on which age level would best enjoy the story. I also felt like the characters weren’t quite as dimensional as they could have been – the plot is well-layered, to be sure, but oftentimes the characters seemed a little flat or their reactions didn’t quite make sense. Still, they kept me engaged in the story nonetheless, and I very much want to know how it all plays out in the third book.
Bottom Line: Armor of Aletheia and Sword of Soter present an action-filled allegory of faith set against the backdrop of good vs. evil, of magic to be avoided and Creator-given gifts to be embraced, of villains and heroes, of queens and elves, of priests and elders and dangerous creatures. As each character ventures in their own way closer to or further from the Creator, their quest for the Creator’s armor takes them to places they never thought they’d have to go and tests both long-held and newly-formed bonds. While some of the writing elements could have been more fully developed, the author has clearly drawn some intricate world-building and left some intriguing possibilities for the third and final book in the trilogy. A great choice for young adults, to entertain as well as strengthen their faith.
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book)
My favorite characters are back in this harsh yet brilliant sequel that I have been anticipated for a long time...Karina, Sam, Tristan and Rashka have to continue their dangerous yet necessary quest for the holy armor The Creator has sent them to collect. Little do they realize that Faramos is spreading evil around the kingdom faster than they can prepare themselves. Really felt that this sequel was MUCH like Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers because these 4 friends end of splitting up and they are EACH tested beyond anything I expected. There are also some great new characters introduced in this plot.
Fave character is Yosef, he takes a chance helping out someone and it changes everything for him. He is forced to leave his home, but the moment he decided it was the right thing to do is the moment I knew he was called to be part of something bigger.
Most HATED character (other than the villains), Sabreen EASILY wins this one! Didn't trust her for a second and even though she wins over someone in the story and I was HOPING she would have a change of heart instead of being so deceitful, it doesn't quite go that way for her.
Oh my gosh, can Faramos PLEASE give the good guys a break??! And another dark character from Aletheia shows up here eager to create more havoc and trouble for our good guys than they need (this person gets killed and I hope they stay dead). Honestly, I was shaking my head in this reading more than I was smiling, it was harsh. And even though the Creator is not as tangible in this story as He was previously, there is still hope felt throughout.
The tests in Soter's maze is much more dangerous than the previous temple, I was really surprised by that. However, I was pleased with how the 2 champions handled it all. You don't think, you just follow the rules and stick together. LOVED how Reina joins and cannot WAIT to see who the other champion will be for the conclusion of this EPIC series! It was difficult to see my beloved characters, Karina and her friends, endure what is thrown their way. I didn't enjoy it all, but I understood it and I was glad to see they never lose their faith even though they struggle during the journey.
I was given a free copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review, the thoughts and comments are my own.
After reading Armor of Aletheia earlier this fall, I was eagerly anticipating Sword of Soter. Ralene Burke did not disappoint. Burke continues the epic adventure begin in book one. Some of the characters continue in Sword of Soter and new ones are introduced. I was disappointed in the path that at least one of the characters from Armor of Aletheia takes in Sword of Soter. It was hard to take but it did give a new character a more involved role. Much like she did in the first book, Ralene Burke sprinkles paraphrased Scripture throughout the text without being preachy. I appreciate this aspect of her work. If you enjoy epic fantasy like Lord of the Rings or Chronicles of Narnia, I highly recommend Sword of Soter. Sword of Soter is book two in the Sacred Armor Trilogy and covers the second of the three quests Karina must go on for the Creator. I can’t wait to read the others in this series. I would not hesitate to add Sword of Soter to my K-12 Christian School library, and most likely will. I want to thank Prism Book Tours for the e-copy of Sword of Soter. This is my honest review of the book.
Beginning the Sacred Armor Trilogy, Armor of Aletheia sets Karina on a journey to find the Armor of the Creator in order to save her people. Then, in the second book, Sword of Soter, that journey continues—with a generous dose of adventure and danger, helpful friends and hurtful foes. The series proves to be quite the epic fantasy.
Though somewhat unremarkable as far as fantasy goes, Armor of Aletheia and Sword of Soter kept me entertained nonetheless. I enjoyed getting to know Karina and the characters that surround her on her quest, as well as the challenges they face and overcome. An uplifting spiritual thread, too, can be found throughout the two stories. All in all, these books left me ready for the next one.
I have some mixed feelings on the sequel of the Sacred Armor Trilogy.
I am not sure as to why, but I experienced such a disconnect with these characters for much of this story and was deeply saddened by that. I have brainstormed as to what exactly had me not as attached and invested to these characters as book one and I don't know. I realized that many times I felt some of the characters were not quite themselves? At least, I felt they weren't. One character felt so wishy washy to me and was sadden by that because in one moment he made one kind of decision that was shocking and the next moment he made a decision that felt like the REAL him. Granted, I read Armor of Aleitheia over a year ago, but I don't have memory of him being so…fickle?
Something that I think contributed to this disconnect is that I wonder if some scenes were not drawn out enough? There is one distinct part that I physically cheered because finally, our heroes reunited! But it was such a quick reunion and was so taken aback by it because even if there had been an urgency to the said situation, I wasn't prepared for it to be so brief. I deeply wanted more and admit I felt very disappointed by that.
However, that is not to say I did not enjoy Sword of Soter! The challenges were definitely by far my favorite! I absolutely loved that part of the book, especially since Yosef is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters. I just love his quiet boldness and his quiet faith in the Creator. He is inspiring and seeing his faith encourages me.
One thing I walked away with after reading this story is that Sword of Soter does an amazing job showing God is stronger and bigger than an evil that may try and overcome. Evil will NOT win. That does not mean things will be easier, our emotions less chaotic, or situations will not be as stressful. It does mean that God is always with us though and that He truly will never leave us or forsake us.
Despite that I was disappointed with certain aspects of this story, I think it is a good continuation in this trilogy and look forward to Faramos getting his butt kicked. (LOL!) I hope that our characters continue to grow and be the people the Creator is calling them to be and will use the gifts they have been given to stop the evil from spreading any further.
Recommended to YA readers who love Christian fantasy.
I’ve been so curious to continue this series since reading Armor of Aletheia and I’m excited that I finally read this one. Following the continuing adventures of queen/prophetess Karina, former bounty hunter Tristan, and their companions, was another wild ride!
Tristan is my favorite—I wish he’d been in it more!—and I loved seeing more of Rashka, who is a super cool elf Guardian; she definitely has some tricks up her sleeves. ;) We also meet new characters who keep the reader guessing. And if you want to read about a chilling villainess, this is the right book, ack! Plus, I mean, we've got scary wolf-like lupens, a griffin (!), and a fun talking horse, a.k.a. Dom (everyone needs a horse like Dom).
I’m afraid I . . . disliked pretty much the entire subplot involving Sam, particularly how it ended up; it just kind of stressed me out, personally. *cough* Maybe that’s just me. But the rest of the book was very interesting and an enjoyable read!
The classic fantasy quest feel, but with new things too, was neat. I loved the castles and caves and tests and escapes. (Mazes, though!) So much adventure! The world was so vivid, and the twists kept me on my toes so I was never quite sure what was going to happen next.
Since it had been quite awhile since I’d read the first book, I didn’t remember as many details about that as I should have . . . So I suspect I may have liked this one more if my memory was better or if I’d reread book one first. And like I said, I wasn’t a fan of the Sam subplot. But for the most part I enjoyed it. :)
I’m so excited to read the next book, especially with that unexpected ending twist that’s leaving me very curious about how things will be affected . . . Meep! I can’t wait to find out what’s in store for Karina and Tristan and friends!
(I received an e-ARC of this book for an honest review, and later won a paperback copy. All opinions are my own.)
Two brothers: Faramos, who is an evil warlock, and his sibling Tristan, who formerly worked as Faramos’ assassin but has had a change of heart.
One young queen, and one long, complicated quest that spans three novels.
Queen Karina must find and obtain the six pieces of armor that will allow her to defeat Faramos. Two are hidden in each of the three kingdoms. In Armor of Aletheia, Ms. Burke’s first book in this trilogy, two pieces were located: the Shield of Faith (a ring with the power to heal and protect its wearer) and the Belt of Truth, which allows the wearer to see into another’s thoughts and past. Using these special pieces of armor when appropriate and relying on the guidance of the Creator, Karina and her companions continue to the kingdom of Soter (so-TAIR) in the current book to search for two more artifacts.
Faramos is never far off the trail, and Karina runs into more than one hair-raising situation as her team completes the tasks required to obtain the two pieces of armor that have been hidden in Soter. The king of Soter has been deceived by enemies, so he’s not even willing to talk to Karina about the possibility of attempting to retrieve the armor.
This is speculative fiction, so you will read about elves, goblins, ogres, shapeshifters, talking animals, and individuals who can use portals or appear instantaneously among their foes. There are many interpersonal relationships that go through dramatic changes: betrayal, romance, and increased reliance upon the Creator. There is bloodshed, and there is victory; but it is hard-won.
Ms. Burke’s writing style is simple, yet has an air of formality because she doesn’t use a lot of contractions, even in dialogue. She is able to weave spiritual truth and encouragement into her tale without sounding preachy. The story is very engaging, and I look forward to the release of Ms. Burke’s third book to see how the saga ends up.
When I read Armor of Aletheia, I didn’t like it as much as I hoped I would. While it was a good book, there were some things in it that didn’t resonate with me as I hoped they would, but I decided to give Sword of Soter the benefit of a doubt.
And I was pleasantly surprised.
I honestly thought the characters were going to be cliche, as they all fit into the regular tropes, but they surprised me in their individuality. Each one serves an important role in the tale that made it stronger than the first book.
The descriptions were eloquent in their own unique way, bringing the world to life. While some parts still felt a little flat emotionally, there were other parts that had me longing to know what happened next.
Despite the flaws, Burke’s passion for Christ shines through the pages of Sword of Soter through her characters, especially the main character Karina. Sword of Soter is a pleasant story and great for reading on rainy days.
NOTE: I received an ARC copy from the author through Prism Book Tours for review purposes only. All thoughts and opinions are my own.