Sword Fight (Kingdom of Engines, Book 1)
By: Nathan Van Coops
My Rating: Four out of Five Stars
Best For: 14 and up
Nathan Van Coops, time-travel extraordinaire, has changed gears with his latest–Sword Fight: Kingdom of Engines. It was the perfect summer popcorn read, and I had a BLAST with it!
What’s a popcorn read, you ask? Same thing as a popcorn movie—it doesn’t try to make you think, it never gets too deep, and it doesn’t have an agenda. It’s just entertainment: sit back, eat some popcorn, and enjoy the show! A popcorn read!
Sword Fight: Kingdom of Engines is Mad Max plus King Arthur plus a little bit Beverly Hills 90210/Dawson’s Creek/One Tree Hill/Riverdale (depending on when you were 17!) It’s a mashup I loved and didn’t even know I needed.
Imagine a modern world where Kings still rule by the sword, a duel can settle any disagreement, the rich families own the land, and the peasants are poor and looked down upon, and the knights drive War Cars instead of horses. Sounds fun, right? Yes it does!
It took a little bit to overcome disbelief enough to let my mind accept this unconventional reality. But once I got there, I found myself thrilled by the Mad-Max-war-car style battle races, enamored by the cool swords, and happy to follow along with the protagonist on her top-to-bottom-to-top journey toward redemption, righting all the wrongs, and winning back her family’s good name. If you can suspend disbelief a little further, there’s even a popcorn-book, snuggly romance to enjoy in between the races and the sword fights. The whole story was so much fun I didn’t even care when I saw the “big twist” coming from miles away!
Parents may want to know there is some PG language (none of the “big” 4-letter words), heterosexual romance (just kissing), and violence (lots of stabbing and getting stabbed). There is a same-gender married couple and a stereotypical best-friend-gay-guy who never actually says he’s gay but dresses in drag when he’s not working on cars.
I enjoyed checking out with Sword Fight: Kingdom of Engines immensely and can’t wait to start book two!
Best for 14 and up.