Bear Knight, written by James Hannibal, is the second book of the Lightraider Academy Trilogy. In this book, soldier cadet Kara Orso trains to combat an army of dragons, goblins, and other dark creatures that threatens the land of Keledev. In the book, Kara learns to not lean on her own understanding, and that she is never alone.
Kara wants to become a full soldier, which means she needs to complete five quests that put her to the test mentally, while also sharpening her faith. At the same time, she is looking for her brehna, or brother, who was captured and brought to the dark lands where the enemy army resides. Her second brother has already been killed by the enemy.
Although she appreciates the opportunity to become a Lightraider and move through the ranks, she still carries her own agenda—to free her brother from the darkness that engulfs him, using the skills and strength she has gained.
One of the quests Kara faces is a combat trial, where she must defeat a warrior elder, Quinton. Quinton chooses to make himself look like a barkhide, a disfigured human servant of the dark army. It was one of these creatures that killed Kara’s brother.
Kara, blinded by her rage and hatred, attacks Quinton full force, trying to kill the barkhide in front of her. During the battle, Quinton has to remind her of her duties as a Lightraider soldier: that she is not to kill humans in any form. Instead, she is to show kindness and guide each person toward the light so they can break free from the darkness that binds them.
After regaining control, Kara is able to pull herself back and show the love necessary to accomplish this quest. This love is the true and ultimate power.
Through the internal battle that Kara faces, she learns the way of being a Lightraider, which includes putting her faith and trust in the Maker, an intangible source of power outside of herself. Through this source, she also starts seeing the bigger picture: that she can only free her brother by overcoming her anger and trusting in the Maker’s way.
And Kara is able to overcome as she sees the Makers handiwork up close and personal. Although there are times she still wavers, she knows the truth and it starts to set her free. Like Kara, we are all on a journey. It is important to remember that we live by God’s will, and that we are never alone.
The author received an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of Bear Knight from the publisher to read, enjoy, and discuss. All insights and recommendations of this book are honest and from the heart.