Great Christian Fiction: The Blades of Acktar by Tricia Mingerink

This is the second post in my series "Great Christian Fiction," dealing with awesome and usually indie Christian books that might go under your radar. For the first one, click here.



A Christian fantasy series that takes place in a fantasy version of the Wild West, includes assassins, and has no magic? Sign me up!!!!!!!

The Blades of Acktar series by Tricia Mingerink is a daring adventure that denies no aspect of the Christian faith and defies convention. It destroys the world built by mainstream Christian fiction and delivers the fans of exciting, wholesome novels from boredom. Okay, that was forced, but you gotta admit--still pretty cool.


(All photos in this post by moi)

Some things to love: 

There's assassins! And they're kind of brutal too!

I never knew how much I like assassin stories until I started reading these books. The "protagonist" is actually kind of a villain, and I have to admit I love him soooooo much (more on him later in this post....hee hee hee.) There's all kinds of weaponry and real-life-fighting and injuries and sneaking through the dark, and I LOOOOOOVE it. With all my evil heart. 

The character development is to die for. 

Our hero Leith Torren starts out book 1 as a cold-blooded assassin who can't decide whether it would be right or wrong to murder the kids giving him medical care. Our heroine Renna Faythe starts out book 1 terrified of her own shadow and uncertain as to whether she "claims" her faith as a Christian. Her younger sister Brandi is a lighthearted, carefree girl who's practically perfect. 

None of them are the same by the end of this series, and they all change in different ways. That doesn't even start on the side characters--I don't think there's a single character who's actually in the book for more than a few pages who doesn't change substantially in some way. Some change for the better, some actually change for the worst. It's marvelous, and is honestly character development goals.

The Christianity is so clearly presented and so so beautiful.

The Gospel has the power to change lives. Not everyone in the church has a squeaky-clean background, and even worse, not everyone in the Church is willing to invite those with a Past in. That's part of what makes these books so wonderful. They're real to the church as it is--but they're also full of hope and beauty. There's prejudice, but it is presented as an evil within the church. That plays into what I said before about character development--EVERYONE changes.


Let's talk about Leith for a second...

I know, I know. I tend to get very infatuated with male main characters. But Leith Torren is something special. He's an assassin with thirty-four kills to his name and he serves the impostor king with all his devotion. 

But then he changes. 

I love Leith with all my heart. He's so cold but precious and he puts me into full-scale fangirl mode. He is my favorite thing about this series, and that's saying something. LEITH. <3333333

You need to read this series for Leith alone. 

The sister relationships are just the absolute best. 

Renna and Brandi are amazing both as individual characters and as sisters, but I almost love them better together. Tricia Mingerink manages to perfectly bring together the beautiful relationship that close-knit sisters have in all its glory--they bicker, they hug each other, they hide from danger together, they splash water on each other and tease each other about their crushes, they're best friends even though some days they just want nothing more than to bite each others' heads off...I love the two of them with all my heart. 

A slight disclaimer: These books are about assassins.

I know I said above that I love this aspect of them, as well as how realistic they are, but that does carry a slight problem with it: the Blades of Acktar are very, very violent. 

There's murders in the dark, talk of assassinations, and lots of wounds and bleeding. A major character is horrifically tortured at one point, and this lasts a while. An entire church is executed for refusing to denounce their faith in Jesus. Sometimes the violence feels gratuitous, but the thing is--it isn't. It's horrible and hard to look at, but it's REAL. The people who suffer in these books suffer because they profess faith in Christ, and that's not smooth sailing. This isn't violence like the Hunger Games. Sometimes, it might even be worse, especially on an emotional level. But it's there for a real reason, and it's resonating. Especially because in the real world things of equal or even worse pain are taking place for our brothers and sisters in the church. 

So if you can handle some very dark violence that's not glossed over but is also not glorified, I ABSOLUTELY recommend the Blades of Acktar!!!!!!! 

Chat with me! Have you read the Blades of Acktar? If so, what did you think? Are these books on your TBR yet? Do you have any ideas for future posts you'd like to see me do in the Great Christian Fiction series? Talk to me in the comments!!!!!! 


Comments

  1. These sound and look amazing! (also your bedspread is the cutest, btw). I'm going to look into these now, thank you!! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh goodness, thank you! I’m so glad—I think you’d really like them!

      Delete
  2. These look really good!!! I might end up picking these up sometimes because I'm always looking for new good Christian Fantasy books. Oh, and I totally get you about the character fanning. My sibs look at me funny when I start to talk about certain characters... Great post! Thanks for sharing!!!
    astoryspinner.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hee hee...it’s a struggle, isn’t it???

      And glad you’re going to try them!

      Delete
  3. Ahhh!! I love this series so much. <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :) I was hoping you’d like this post...

      Delete
  4. NOOOOO I HAVEN'T READ THIS BUT NOW I APPARENNTLY MUST!! Leith sounds like totally my kind of mc hahaha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YOU MUST!!!! I think you’d love them. :D

      Delete
  5. I haven't read this series either, but I've heard a lot about it. Great reviews, Faith!

    Catherine

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, they’re fairly popular. Love them!

      Delete
  6. Okay so I've been interested in these books for a while but now you've 100000% convinced me I NEED THEM IN MY LIFE ASAP. I, too, really enjoy assassin stories! And ooooh my goodness, big characters arcs is my FAVORITE THING TO EXIST IN FICTION EVER. This looks like it has some amazing ones.

    And I appreciate books that aren't afraid to be gritty. We NEED that more in Christian fiction. It's actually something I've been thinking about a lot lately. I just read the Out of Time trilogy by Nadine Brandes and so, so appreciated how gritty and dark those books were. But with a PURPOSE for all the darkness. I'm tired of fluffy Christian romances. We need DEEP books that make an impact.

    So allll that to say. I OBVIOUSLY NEED TO READ THESE!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YAY!!!!! I think you'll really enjoy them. Big character arcs are like my favorite thing of all time as well. <3

      I know! I just read Out of Time too and asdklfdkghj it was SOOOOOOO dark. But so good. And I loved that. It wasn't being dark just for the sake of being dark--it's darkness that shows that the world is evil. That's the kind of book that I aspire to write. My stuff won't be easy to read, and it won't be light and fluffy like most "Christian" books. It will be heavy and dark and violent, but for the purpose of making the light shine all the brighter when it finally shows through.

      YES YOU DO! ASAP!

      Delete
  7. I'M SO EXCITED TO READ THESE!!!!!!!!! I have the first one already....just need to read a few more from my TBR to get to it (I'm reading them in order of purchase...) BUT I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!!!! They really just sound up my alley, and ah.....they just sound EPIC!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh, that's actually not a bad idea! I don't buy all my books, but I might have to try that one. :P I think you'll love them! I know you've been on the fence about Goldstone Wood because of the magic, but this one has absolutely no magic whatsoever!

      Delete
  8. THESE BOOKS SOUND AMAZING!!! I MUST GO AND LOOK THEM UP. Thanks for sharing! XD

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're so welcome! Yes, go and find them right now! XD

      Delete
  9. I'd heard of this series before, but not heard anything ABOUT it. Now I want to read it even moooooore!!!! :D It's Christian??? And there are assassins??? Yes, please!!!!

    Lila @ The Red-Hooded Writer

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you'll really like it, Lila! It's SO GOOD!

      Delete
  10. A friend just sent me a link to this post, and it really made my day! Thanks so much for the fangirling, and I'm so glad you loved the books!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And YOU have made my day by commenting on this!!!! I'm so glad this review made you happy. I can't tell you how much these books mean to me. <3

      Delete
  11. I love these books!!!! They’re so amazing and epic..*happy sigh*
    If you’re looking for another series that is really good Christian fantasy, try Jaye L. Knight’s Ilyon Chronicles. There isn’t any magic (unless you consider dragons magic, but they seem to be part of the natural world in the series), and they are crazy good (and fat, who doesn’t love fat books?). I’d rank them with these beauties any day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They really are SO good. <3

      I read some of Ilyon Chronicles and enjoyed them muchly! I've still only read the first two because I'm poor and want to own them all in paperback so I have a matched set, but my hope is to get the third and fourth ones by the time Bitter Winter releases (which is indefinite... :( )
      Thanks for reading! :D

      Delete
  12. Love the series-- agree with pretty much all you said in your review!Tricia is an awesome writer who puts her whole self into everything she does.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This is an awesome review on this series. I LOVE the Blades of Acktar! LOVE IT! Leith, Martyn, Renna . . . just everyone . . . especially Leith and Martyn . . .

    Have a great day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Leith and Martyn are both amazing. <3 I kind of avoided saying anything about Martyn in this review for fear of spoilers, but man do I love him anyway....XD

      Delete

Post a Comment

Hello, friends! Do make yourselves comfortable and stay for a while--I'd love to chat with you! I simply ask that you keep it clean. :)