The Songs of a Warrior – Katy Morgan

The Songs of a Warrior by Katy Morgan
Also by this author: The Promise and the Light: A Christmas Retelling, The Friend Who Forgives Family Bible Devotional: 15 Days Exploring the Story of Peter, The Songs of a Warrior: Saul and David: A Retelling, The Friend Who Forgives Family Bible Devotional: 15 Days Exploring the Story of Peter (Devotions on the cross and forgiveness, for Lent and Easter, ... at home.) (Tales That Tell the Truth), Any Time, Any Place, Any Prayer Family Bible Devotional: 15 Days Exploring How We Can Talk with God
Published by Good Book Company on February 1, 2023
Genres: Children's
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This dramatic retelling of the accounts of the first two kings of Israel follows the intertwining stories of Jonathan, Saul, David and Michal documented in 1 and 2 Samuel.
In this imaginative yet biblically faithful book, readers will find themselves immersed in the hearts and minds of the key players as they experience battles, intrigue, plots, betrayal, love and friendship.
This resource is a great way to help kids aged 8-12 engage with God's word. They'll be left thinking about what it means to trust God and realizing that only Jesus can really be the king God's people need.
Makes a wonderful gift for children aged 8-12. Includes a Bible-reading plan for the life of David and notes that differentiate the known facts from the imaginative parts.

The Good Book Company hit my radar several years ago with their excellent children’s books—Tales that Tell the Truth, in particular. They’ve recently expanded into middle grade/YA literature beginning with The Songs of a Warrior, a retelling of the story of Saul and David. The description of “retelling” is an important one. Katy Morgan’s primary goal isn’t to tell a sweeping epic of biblical fiction, but to provide a fleshing-out of the biblical narrative using the genre of biblical fiction. That’s an important distinction because, while the story necessarily expands on the biblical narrative, it does so in a way that creates length rather than depth. Morgan does a great job expanding on the historical/cultural background (aided by her Classics degree from Cambridge), but her characters feel modern in their actions and behaviors.

Her prose is also clunky at times. For example, when David rushes in toward Goliath after killing him, the Morgan writes: “David was still running; he reached the Philistine before the shield-bearer could. Goliath was dead. He was dead. His hand lay limp around his sword hilt.” I, for one, initially read “He was dead” as referring to David rather than Goliath. If the phrase would have been italicized to indicate they were David’s thoughts, as the emphasis seems to indicate, it would have provided clarity. If the sentence was more than just a repetition of the previous sentence, there would have been clarity. It’s a minor issue, but writing issues like this crop up occasionally throughout the text. The language wavers between stilted—common for biblical fiction—and simplistic. The length of the book gives off the impression that it’s meant to be YA. The language and plot structure are more akin to middle-grade. I think if The Songs of a Warrior was 200 pages shorter and more clearly a middle-grade book, it would have been a lot stronger of a novel.

In all, The Songs of a Warrior isn’t awful, but it seems to lack an identity of its own outside of the biblical narrative. The goal of teaching the narrative is evident throughout and distracts from the actual telling of the story. I like that there is biblical fiction directed at younger children. This isn’t the worst biblical fiction on the market, it’s an okay story, it’s just a genre that’s so difficult to get right.