Have Sword, Will Travel, by Garth Nix and Sean Williams

This hasn't been my best blogging week; I've been sick as a dog.  But I was comforted and sustained in my troubles by a really fun book--Have Sword, Will Travel, by Garth Nix and Sean Williams (Scholastic, middle grade, Oct 31, 2017).

Odo is the unremarkable son of the miller of an unremarkable village.  But his life becomes most remarkable indeed when he fishes up a sword from the mud of the unusually low river.  Not just any sword, but a magical one that talks!  The sword, now bound to Odo by blood (just a knick) immediately decides Odo must be a knight, and proceeds to dub him as such, much to the envy of Odo's friend, Eleanor, who (unlike Odo) actually dreams of being a knight herself.  Now that Odo is a knight, with Eleanor stuck in the role of his squire, they set of on a quest--to determine what is causing the dangerously low water level of the river on which their village depends.

Led by the opinionated sword, which is doing its best to train Odo in how to wield it, the two journey upstream, following rumors that a dragon has blocked the river.  Satisfying adventures and dangers await, testing the wits of the two kids, who are heroic within the believable limits of their minimal skills, and Eleanor's dream comes true when she too finds a magic, albeit "cursed" sword of her own.  And at last they do meet the dragon they were seeking....but it's an encounter that turns out to be not at all what they were expecting.

The three main characters (Odo's sword is a personality in its own right) are great fun to adventure with, and there's enough subversion of typical hero quest tropes to make this an interesting story.  Very much recommended to kids, especially those on the younger end of MG, who are just finding their feet as fantasy readers (and to sickly grownups in need of pleasant diversion) who enjoy personality-driven fantasy adventures!

Short answer: I liked it lots.

disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher


  1. This does sound like lots of fun. Hope you feel better soon!

  2. The book is quite good, but in my opinion it is more for die-hard fans of this genre. My friend Patrick is just such a person :D


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