Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
The discovery of an intelligent enchanted sword offers unexpected adventure for two children. When friends Odo and Eleanor find the sword called Biter, awakening it from a centuries-long slumber in the river, they're not prepared for what comes next: Biter "claims" Odo as his new owner and dubs him a knight, despite Odo's reservations and Eleanor's desire to become a hero. Nevertheless, all three set out to discover why their village's river threatens to run dry, an adventure that offers ample opportunities to confront evil and hone their skills. Nix and Williams (the Troubletwisters series) offer a fast-paced, tongue-in-cheek adventure featuring memorable heroes, an entertaining premise, and not one but two magical swords with way too much personality. "Fine steel such as myself must be cared for and protected," Biter informs the children. "As well as a scabbard, I will require sandpaper and tung oil, and a sharpening block, and..." (Biter's dialogue appears in an Old English font, making it read all the more portentously.) It's a enjoyable spin on the age-old hero's journey, filled with action and humor. Ages 8-12. Agent: Jill Grinberg, Jill Grinberg Literary Management. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Review
Gr 3-6-Nix and Williams twist the standard "quest set in a medievallike European-ish magical world" formula by adding a talking sword and a culture of gender parity. While the talking sword, whose dialogue is rendered in a fancy faux-illuminated font, plays the comic foil (pun intended), it's the female knights that makes this otherwise average adventure stand out. The two protagonists, Odo and Eleanor, a boy and a girl, are merited equal verbiage and heroism throughout. Eleanor wants to be a knight like her mother was. Overall, predictability reigns, as there be dragons, dwarf/elf-like silver-blooded "urthkins," magic stones, wattle-and-daub villages populated with peasants, a wise blind old lady, a creepy forest, and plenty of swordplay. Nix and Williams keep the action going with a good balance between introspection and adventure. Happily, they utterly avoid the cliche of romantic feelings between the two friends. The ending leaves ample room for a sequel. VERDICT This otherwise typical middle grade quest adventure is light, accessible, and, refreshingly, challenges the gender norms of the genre. Lovers of classic fantasy should enjoy this.-Rhona Campbell, Georgetown Day School, Washington, DC © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Eleanor: bold, sharp, filled with dreams of adventure and knighthood. Odo: a little timid, a little unsure, not particularly fond of thinking about the future. But alas, when the two tweens stumble upon an enchanted sword, it's Odo who cuts himself on it and is granted instant knighthood by the sword itself. The sword, whose name happens to be Biter, has no problem talking and fighting, although he does seem to be having a little trouble remembering his clearly illustrious past. At any rate, domineering Biter, reluctant knight Odo, and sullen squire Eleanor have a quest to complete if they want to save their kingdom if they can figure out who they're fighting. This first series installment is a true-blue errant-knight tale, complete with dragons, sassy enchanted objects, and a destiny that comes before anyone is ready. In this world, knighthood is given regardless of gender; it eludes Eleanor not because she's a girl but because of bad timing. Hand to just about any middle-grader looking for a swashbuckling adventure.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2017 Booklist
Horn Book Review
Best friends Odo and Eleanor are fishing for eels when they find a magic sword that changes their destiny. Suddenly knighted, Odo and his squire Eleanor take on the quest of discovering what's drying up the river. Filled with adventure, deception, fights, curses, and magical creatures, this is an entertaining new series for readers who enjoy fantasy, medieval times, and sassy talking swords. (c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
Two best friends with opposing appetites for adventure are thrust into a crucial quest by a gregarious sword. The once-hearty Silverrun River through Lenburh is steadily running ever lower. As diminutive, feisty Eleanor and her best friend, brawny, bumbling Odo, fish for eels in the muddy trickle, they unearth a sword. After Odo pricks his finger and subsequently bleeds on the blade, the heretofore-slumbering sword wakes up, proclaiming its name (in Gothic type) to be Hildebrand Shining Foebiter (Biter for short) and knighting Sir Odo. Eleanor, whose deceased mother was a knight, is at once thrilled by the enchanted sword and infuriated that she's been designated squire. Assessing the river's pathetic state, Biter pronounces their quest to unblock the river's source. Eleanor is gung-ho, Odo is reluctant, Biter is persistent. The trio bid adieu to Lenburh's bucolic boredom and head toward their fatewhich could very well mean death by dragon. In this medievallike fantasy world, gender equality abounds. Like the bulk of medieval European art, however, this cast is white (with the liberal inclusion of female Sirs, it would seem that some black and brown characters could have been included, too). Written by a duo, the narrative is presented from both Eleanor's and Odo's perspectives, although this isn't a he-said, she-said division by chapter; there is a more fluid back and forth. En garde for an implied sequel that is already too bloody far away. (Fantasy. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.