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Book Review

Rogue Knight by Brandon Mull has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the second book in the “Five Kingdoms” series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Sixth-grader Cole was transported from his home in Arizona to Outskirts, a magical realm composed of the Five Kingdoms. He is there to save his friends from slave traders. Now, after many adventures, he travels with Princess Mira from the kingdom of Sambria to the kingdom of Elloweer. Her sister Honor is rumored to be in trouble.

Cole and Mira are accompanied by their young friends Jace and Twitch, as well as Joe, an adult member of the resistance fighters known as the Unseen. The Unseen are sworn to protect Mira and her four sisters from their father, the evil High King over the Five Kingdoms. He originally stole his daughters’ powers. Cole has promised to help Mira, but he also keeps an eye out for the opportunity to rescue his Arizona friends, Dalton and Jenna.

On the way to Elloweer, two Enforcers attack Mira and Cole’s autocoach. Enforcers are members of the High King’s secret police. The children survive the attack, and Joe sends the four kids on to Carthage, a city that sits on the border between Sambria and Elloweer, while he follows one of the fleeing Enforcers.

When they enter Carthage, Cole recognizes Ansel, one of the slavers who kidnapped his friends. Ansel confronts him and tries to discover how Cole escaped his slavery with the Sky Raiders. Cole runs away and reaches the Elloweer side of Carthage. He safely reconnects with Jace, Mira and Twitch, who have booked rooms at a nearby inn.

Joe meets them at the inn and takes Cole and Mira to a place called the Shady Lane Confidence Lounge to gather information about Honor’s whereabouts. The confidence enchants the outer appearance of all visitors so no one can be recognized. Cole and Mira can’t even recognize each other, and their appearances keep changing as they move from room to room in the Lounge.

Cole learns that Elloweer is abuzz with news about someone called the Rogue Knight. This fighting champion duels the champions of other cities to win the city for himself. However, unlike most champions, the Rogue Knight doesn’t claim his property. Instead the Knight gives all existing tax money back to the people of the town.

His Robin-Hood-like actions make him beloved by the common people and hated by the nobility. In the lounge, Cole meets Jill, another kidnapped kid from Arizona. She says that Dalton is in a confidence lounge in Merriston, the capital city of Elloweer. Cole offers to help rescue Jill, but she’s too afraid of punishment to leave her life as a slave.

Joe takes the kids to an illusionist’s show because he hopes to obtain permanent magical disguises for Cole and Mira. He wants them to be better hidden from slavers and the High King’s Enforcers. They meet Skye Ryland, a legendary illusionist and key member of the Unseen. Skye decides to join their team. She makes a perfect disguise for Mira, but before Cole can receive his disguise, Ansel kidnaps him. Joe, Jace, Twitch and Mira rescue Cole. They threaten Ansel, until he promises to give up chasing them.

Skye books passage for their group of six on a caravan bound for Merriston. A knight named Konley joins the caravan. He is on a mission to kill the Rogue Knight, who sometimes waylays travelers on the road to Merriston. The Rogue Knight wants to get the champion of Merriston to face him in combat.

Before long, the Rogue Knight halts the caravan, and Konley challenges him to single combat. But he changes his mind and surrenders. The Rogue Knight uses his magical sword to undo any illusions cast on members of the caravan, revealing Mira’s and Cole’s true forms.

The Rogue Knight kidnaps Mira. Cole follows them by using his magical Jumping Sword, which shouldn’t function outside the borders of Sambria. His rescue attempt fails, and he returns to the caravan, where Skye informs him that he may have latent magical abilities, which activated the sword.

Joe and Twitch follow Mira, while Cole, Jace and Skye go to the Silver Lining, a confidence lounge in Merriston where Dalton is working as a slave. With a lot of effort, they manage to free Dalton and connect with some of Skye’s friends among the Unseen. They hear that a monster named Morgassa is attacking cities in Elloweer, aided by her army of figments, parasitic pieces of magic that subdue and control people. Honor is being held in Blackmont Castle in the city of Edgemont, and people think Morgassa is Honor’s manifested magical power run wild, just like Mira’s power once manifested as Carnag, a monster that terrorized Sambria.

Meanwhile, they hear that the Rogue Knight has challenged the Dreadknight, champion of Edgemont. Cole and his friends plan to attend the duel because it may be their best chance of rescuing Mira from him. The Rogue Knight kills the Dreadknight in combat, and Cole talks to Mira, who is now willingly traveling with the Rogue Knight and working with him.

The Rogue Knight, along with Mira, Cole and the rest of their friends, go to Blackmont Castle to find Honor. A demon called Trillian the torivor has kidnapped Honor. Trillian is caged in a place called the Lost Palace.

Legionnaires sent by the High King besiege Blackmont Castle, but Cole and his friends escape the castle and soldiers. They also rescue a little boy named Brady, a child from Earth who formerly possessed great magical power but suddenly lost it.

Cole and his friends approach the Lost Palace, and Cole steps inside to talk to Trillian as Mira’s representative. Trillian recognizes that the monster Morgassa presents a huge threat to Elloweer, so he offers to release Honor to help defeat Morgassa, if Cole, Jace and Mira can win her freedom in a contest.

They are to search through three locations, and each of them will have one chance to try to recognize Honor, touch her and say her name. Trillian has altered Honor’s appearance so she may appear to be a different person or even an animal. While they search, they will also be hunted by an unknown threat.

In the first location, the three kids have to relive the day when the High King captured his daughters, faked their deaths and sequestered them to steal their magic. Cole guesses Honor’s identity incorrectly, and they move to the next location, a memory of Cole’s childhood, his neighbor’s scary yard.

Jace guesses Honor’s identity incorrectly, so they move to the third location, a dangerous sky castle from Jace’s memories. They run through a maze while chased by a monster. Mira solves their dilemma by guessing that the monster is Honor.

As an added bonus for winning her freedom, Trillian gives Honor a magical object called Spark, a talking sphere of light that can lead her to Callista, the lost Grand Shaper of Elloweer. Spark leads Cole, Honor, Mira and all their friends to the Fog Lake where Callista lives in hiding.

Callista tells them that Morgassa isn’t a manifestation of Honor’s lost power, but of Brady’s, and that Honor’s power manifested itself as the Rogue Knight. In order to protect Cole and his allies from Morgassa, Callista gives them enchanted masks, which transform them into the characters emblemized on the masks, such as knights and animals. They leave the Fog Lake to find the Rogue Knight, who offers to help bring down Morgassa.

An army of figments and changelings, people who are magically altered and mind-controlled into serving her, precede Morgassa. Cole and his friends, most of them in animal form, fight Morgassa. Just when Morgassa is about to win, Cole gathers power to himself with his latent talent, imbues his Jumping Sword with magic and attacks Morgassa.

Honor simultaneously stabs at Morgassa, destroying her. Morgassa wounds Callista, and she dies after naming Skye her successor as the Grand Shaper of Elloweer. The Rogue Knight chooses to give up his magically enhanced existence in order to restore Honor’s power to her.

Cole is badly injured from the encounter but recovers gradually. Honor makes plans to turn the resistance in the Five Kingdoms into a full-blown rebellion against the High King. The whole group intends to go to the kingdom of Zeropolis to rescue Princess Constance.

Christian Beliefs

None

Other Belief Systems

In Sambria, a kind of magic known as shaping permeates daily life. Shapers can make semblances, magical creations that can look and act like real objects, animals or people.

Enchanters in Elloweer make seemings, or illusions, and changelings, living things that have been magically tampered with.

Citizens of Elloweer think Trillian the torivor is a demon, but he’s more like an alien or a very powerful enchanter from a realm that exists outside of linear time.

Authority Roles

Joe protects and guides the four kids in his charge.

Skye’s mother is an overbearing noblewoman who enjoys criticizing Skye’s life choices and mocking her involvement with the resistance.

Brady has such negative memories of his first-grade teacher, Mrs. Morgan, that his magical power creates a judgmental monster in her image.

Mira and Honor’s mother, Harmony, loves them and uses her magical power to protect them from their father.

Profanity/Violence

Characters die in swordfights. A slaver’s neck is snapped when Jace uses his magical rope to throw the man against the ceiling. The Rogue Knight’s followers kill other knights in combat. The Rogue Knight kills the Dreadknight by stabbing him with a sword. Sultan, one of Cole’s allies, bleeds heavily from an arrow wound and later dies. Callista is stabbed in the side with a sword and dies from her injuries.

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

None

Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

8 to 12

Author

Brandon Mull

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

Aladdin, an imprint of Simon & Schuster

Released

On Video

Year Published

2014

Awards

Unknown

Reviewer

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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