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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Two Kingdoms: The epic struggle for truth and purpose amidst encroaching darkness - a medieval fantasy by DC Moore is a completely engrossing YA fantasy journey. This debut novel has all you want in a medieval story: character-driven storylines, life-defining choices, compelling conflict and dialogue, illustrations, and a religious theme woven throughout. The plot has two warring kingdoms and three young characters find themselves in the thick of it--Hugh, Marie, and Stephen; a blacksmith, a knight's daughter, and a squire. They each set out to find themselves with the aid of a map that logs their spiritual quest. After losing loved ones, Hugh is torn between vengeance and forgiveness; Marie clashes with her father over her dreams and goals; Stephen's self-doubt and low self-esteem is a barrier to tackling a task that seems too much to handle. But how can they trust in a king they can't see?
This book couldn't have come at a better time for young adult readers. Though written before 2020, the story features a pandemic, but besides that, the internal and external struggles of the characters parallel the struggles teenagers are grappling with today. I enjoyed the religious symbolism of the book (for example, "The Chronicle" representing the Bible), and the dynamic imagery, as well as the multi-dimensionality of the characters. They seem so real, and YA audiences will connect with them right away. I'm sure older readers will recognize their younger selves in some of these scenarios. As you read, you will get caught up in the danger, the mystery, and the suspense as it unfolds for each of the three teens. You'll find an evil overlord out to kill the king and his faithful followers. As the lives of the three converge, they find their trust in this king tested beyond measure. Who will they choose? What price will they pay? This book goes deeper than the average YA fantasy. You will become emotionally attached to this story, and its impact will stay with you and cause you to think about your own experiences and the choices you would make if you were in the shoes of the characters. If you're looking for an entertaining novel with a deep spiritual meaning, your search stops here. Two Kingdoms by D.C. Moore is a YA fantasy novel with substance and heart.