Have Sword, Will Travel
by Garth Nix and Sean Williams, published 2017
“They may be young, but Sir Odo found me and awoke me. The mighty quest is his,” said Biter the sword. “By the same token, your daughter is small but seems valiant and my knight must have a squire.”
A very adventurous and humorous children’s book, this fantasy-genre story has a wonderful setup. A boy finds an enchanted sword, but would prefer to stay home, and his good friend, a girl who would love to be a knight, settles for being his squire. Off they go, with the enchanted sword, to save their village, encountering very odd creatures along the way. And of course, returning home at the end, victorious.
In general, I avoid fantasy, as the books tend to be too complicated for me. But this children’s book works well, since most of the fantasy elements revolve around the creatures the children meet, and the humor is threaded throughout the book. All the people in the book are more or less normal medieval characters, and if the book weren’t fantasy, the children’s book could almost be called historical fiction.
There is a nice element of character development in this book, as the young girl learns to rein in her impatience, and the boy finds his courage after all. They are good friends and complement each other’s characters. The sword itself has a rich character and a mysterious background, which keeps the mystery going in the book for a while. It appears there is a second book with the same characters, but I haven’t yet read it.
A good choice for children who like knights and are tired of the formulaic versions that are often present.