Title: The Sunsword Trilogy: The Quest for the Sun Gem
Author: Belinda Murrell
Published: 28th April 2020
Synopsis: Magical and exciting, full of wonderful creatures, mysterious codes and puzzles, and with four courageous young heroes and heroines, this series will delight all 8- to 12-year-olds.
After their village is attacked, a young brother and sister set off on a dangerous quest to save their captured family and friends – and free their land from the Sedah invaders.
Where are Ethan and Lily’s parents being held? And where have the Sun Sword and its magical gems been hidden? Joined by their friend Saxon and the determined Princess Roana, Ethan and Lily must solve puzzles and riddles, escape legendary sea monsters, and outwit bandits along the way.
But the greatest threat to the children is the sinister Sedah tracker, Sniffer, who is close on their trail … Can the four friends find the Sun Gem – before the Sedah can find them?
When Ethan and Lily’s village is attacked and their parents go missing, they head off to find them – and are soon joined by Ethan’s friend, Saxon, and Princess Roana. The four children and a beloved dog must set out on a dangerous quest to find gems to help them defeat the Sedah – but along the way, they have puzzles and codes to solve that will lead them to the items they need to free Roana’s family and restore the royal family to the throne as the kingdom is threatened.
I’ve been searching for this trilogy for a while, and finally found it! So I’ve managed to read it and I loved the first book. It had everything a good fantasy should have, with unwilling heroes, with at least one who has a vastly different experience to the others, a dog – always a plus, magic, special gems, and everything else. It is a great start to the series, as it establishes the characters and the general plot, and leads into what is to come in the next two books. Belinda Murrell’s world is vibrant and exciting, where everything is original yet drawn from tropes and stories that we know well, which is something fantasy tends to do, and for me, it is all in how the story is executed, and what is done with the known tropes that shows what is doable.
When done cleverly, like in Belinda’s story, it works really well, and even the familiar works well, and feels comforting. You know that it is going to lead to something big – something that even if you have seen it before, is still exciting because it’s the anticipation of seeing how this particular story unfolds that kept me reading. I have all three books, and hope to get to two and three soon – in between all my other review books that arrive weekly from publishers. What I loved about this one was that the boys and girls are equal – they’re all driving the narrative, and all have a big part to play. They are all equal, though Roana has a lot to learn and her journey will become very interesting, I think. She’s an interesting character who has already shown growth, and I look forward to seeing where the story takes her.
I also loved that Lily, Ethan, and Saxon were generally supportive of Roana – knowing what she had been through, and they’re all willing to help each other get through this and save their families and their home. It was a beautiful celebration of friendship and family, and the things that can unify us, even when there might be differences that feel very stark. It shows that getting to know each other is more powerful than something like class or being royal – that the surface aspects of who you are likely to not matter when things go wrong and the world changes like they do in this trilogy. It’s interesting to see how different people react to these circumstances in fiction, and I can’t wait to see what more we learn about these characters!
A great start to the trilogy!