Review: Wars of the Realm

Author: Chuck Black

Publisher: Multnomah Books

Chuck Black has been one of my favorite authors for years. I was first introduced to his books The Knights of Arrethtrae when I was in middle school. It turned out that this was a companion series to his books The Kingdom Series, a biblical allegory. I loved these books, and I have read them multiple times. Needless to say, I was quite excited when I heard he was writing a new series The Wars of the Realm. Unlike his other series, this trilogy is not an allegory, nor is it placed in a fantasy setting. The Wars of the Realm take place in the real, modern world, though it is still fiction, making it all the more relatable for the story and message Black presents.

The trilogy revolves around a young man named Drew who has lost his father, his faith, and, shortly into the story, his vision. After a freak accident, Drew’s outlook on the world changes forever, especially once he has his vision (with some added benefits) back. But now he can see things that shouldn’t be there, feeding the paranoia of his closest friend and his own doubts and fears. He then goes on the run after being in the right place at the wrong time, struggling along the way to figure out what his newfound abilities mean for himself and the people around him and how they affect his worldview. Furthermore, he finds that he is involved in a war that, though he didn’t want to be a part of, he has always been in it, and so has everyone around him. By the end, he won’t be the same person he started as, and his life will change the world forever.

This story is full of action and adventure, and it is difficult to write about how amazing it is without giving away key pieces of the story. The story is mostly from the perspective of Drew. However, the second book (and parts of the others) sometimes come from the perspective of some…lets say, third-party observers. Though I wasn’t thrilled with hearing more from these other characters as I was with Drew, it is not unnecessary. They will add some background as the story progresses and give the reader a view into a world we honestly know little about. The story is very well written and will pull you along to the end. And thankfully, unlike myself, you won’t have to be left hanging until the next book comes out because they are all already out!

Now, for those who care about the religious aspect of the story, for there is one, I do not personally agree with all of Black’s beliefs. I love what he did with this book, but it definitely should be looked at as a piece of fiction, although an incredibly fascinating one at that. I haven’t ever seen another book written like this. Another point is that I disagree with his views on eschatology, an issue also found in the above two series mentioned. And yet, I don’t think they mean that you shouldn’t read the books. They are great works of fiction that also cause you to think, as any great book should do.

Though the following contains some mild spoilers for people, there are a couple of things to watch out for, especially parents and people triggered by certain events. This series was written for the older generation of young adults. There is a mild love interest (but I find it barely worth mentioning), a school shooting, some intense interactions with police and federal agents, a near (and actual) kidnapping, and a handful of other violent events. Nothing is gory or obscene, as that is not Black’s style, but readers should be aware of these events before reading.

The Wars of the Realm show you your own reality in a light that you haven’t seen, and perhaps haven’t even considered, before through the lens of a great story. You’ll be brought from one adventure and mystery to the next, and possibly changing the way you observe the world around you along the way. Though shown through the world of fiction, Black describes a world and war that we all are a part of; we just have to open our eyes to see it. And once we do, we will also have to decide how to respond. I hope that you will enjoy this book as much as I have!

Blessings to you and yours,

~Madelyn Rose Craig

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