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Dare (The Blades of Acktar Book 1) by [Mingerink, Tricia]
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Dare (The Blades of Acktar Book 1) Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Length: 357 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Courage could cost him everything.

Third Blade Leith Torren never questions his orders or his loyalty to King Respen until an arrow wound and a prairie blizzard drive him to the doorstep of the girls whose family he once destroyed.

Their forbidden faith and ties to the Resistance could devastate their family a second time.

Survival depends on obedience, but freedom beckons. How far does he dare go to resist the king and his Blades?

No matter what Leith chooses, one thing is certain.

Someone will die.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1186 KB
  • Print Length: 357 pages
  • Publisher: Sword & Cross Publishing (1 June 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00YO77MO2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #130,835 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is a medieval fantasy that at its heart is a redemption story. Leith is a Blade, bound to serve his King, usually by killing. When he is badly injured and lost in a blizzard he finds himself on the doorstop of two girls he helped orphan. Luckily for him they are Christians but that doesn't make helping him an easy decision for healer Renna who knows the danger the Blade poses to everyone she cares about. Healing him could lead to death to them all. What should she do?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 4.7 out of 5 stars 78 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clean Christian, Young Adult Fantasy/Romance 3 January 2016
By Jonnelle - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is about a young man who is caught up in a violent subculture but is treated with kindness by Christians and later becomes a Christian himself. The basic plot is very similar to The Curly Wolf and Tahn ( Book #1): A Novel but the details are quite different. I really enjoyed this book, it kept my interest, in fact, I couldn't put it down. It is suitable for older teens or adults. It doesn't have cursing. It doesn't have explicit sex or a focus on a physical relationship. The romance in it is like high school sweethearts as the main characters are 17 and 18. It does have a lot of violence including murder but it isn't overly graphic. It has characters who are supposed to be Christians lying to protect other people. It has no magic or occult references. The theology of salvation in this book is extremely Calvinistic. I read the first two books in the series. Neither one is a stand alone book. Hopefully the next book in the series will wrap things up well.
Update: I read the third book. The conclusion was really good. I would highly recommend this series.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A mix between historical fiction and an invented medieval realm 8 August 2016
By Denae C - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Reader thoughts: This is a great book for Bible-believers. I think non-believers may be skeptical of some of the coincidences in the book and think some characters were convinced too easily. It depends on whether the reader enjoys characters who pray and base decisions on what God would approve of.

The characters had good inner turmoil ("Am I a coward?" or "Am I worthless?") layered with outside danger (assassins!) and also mixed with relationship issues ("Does she like him?" or "Can he be the father I never had?"). I was actually worried about them, particularly Brandi, who kept naming all the animals. Plus, the layers complemented each other well. The secrets and action and danger and trusting enemies and Bible stories made an ebb and flow of tension that kept the pace from dragging.

Daniel! Not a story I would have thought to use, but it worked very well.

This is a book that really shows Romans 2:4, that "God's kindness leads you toward repentance." C'mon, people, kindness and love can do so much more than scorn and judgment! The Faythe family showed that.

The ending wasn't too predictable, although it was a tad convenient. (view spoiler) If this were the end of the story, that would be too easy. However, I know this mess will cause major problems in the next book, which I am looking forward to reading (er, listening to).

Writer thoughts: I had some issues with age and credibility. As a writer, I wonder at the reasons behind Mingerink's choices.
The characters all could have been 2 years older, even 4. With Renna at 17 and Leith at 18, nothing would have been lost placing them older. Brandi's age (13, since her parents died 4 years ago at age 9) is just fine.

However, Leith had been an assassin for five years. I find it enormously difficult to believe that 13 and 14-year-old boys can be King's Blades, no matter how well trained. This issue came up again and again, and it threw me out of the story every time. Leith was 14 when Renna's parents were murdered. Why in the world was he part of that attack in the first place? Even 18-year-olds don't always have fully developed bodies, yet! He can stab knives into a wall at age 9 and climb a tower? I just spent a week with a bunch of 9-year-olds. This seems rather unlikely.

I do see the benefits, though. Perhaps the king's brainwashing of his blades wouldn't work if they were older. Still, they could stay in training a couple years longer. Also, this way the reader (and Renna) can more easily forgive Leith's actions since he was only 14 when Renna's parents died. Maybe this age thing can be Leith's ally.

(Then I think and realize my own MC has to fight and kill at age 13/14, and so I shouldn't be so skeptical.)
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I felt as if this book were written for me! 11 June 2015
By JDowell - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Have you ever felt paralyzed by fear? Have you ever watched events unfold and know you could stop them or change them if only you had enough courage? Have you ever hated yourself for your lack of bravery? If the answer to any of these questions is “Yes!” then you share something in common with the two main characters of Tricia Mingerink’s debut novel, Dare.
Third Blade Leith Torren, one of King Respen’s most trusted assassins, is wounded on one of his missions for the king and finds himself at the mercy of two girls whose parents’; deaths he was responsible for four years ago. Renna uses her skills as a healer to save his life though she fears for her own and that of her sister’s should he learn of their forbidden faith. If she was brave she would not hide it from this wounded stranger. If she were brave she could forgive him for his part in her parents’ deaths. But Renna is not brave. As Leith is slowly nursed back to health he dreads the day he will be well enough to return to the king. If he was brave he would have stayed out in the cold and bled to death, rather than bring trouble on this family. If he was brave he would lie to the king about what he has seen and heard. But Leith is not brave. And the day is getting closer when he will need to make a decision.
I felt as if this book were written for me. Like Renna, I am a very introverted person, especially when placed in uncertain situations. I have felt that same fear and uncertainty that she experiences (though, in my case, I have never feared for my life), that holds her back. I have experienced that same temptation to hide behind my fear and tell myself I am not one of those “brave people” who take risks. I felt for Leith as he struggled with his own fear, for his life, and for his soul. I sympathized with the supporting characters as they tried to share their faith with those they cared about, watching them struggle to believe in a God that loves them.
From the very first line, the plot and the characters snatched me into their story. I felt as if I was living the events with them. There are characters everyone can relate to and admire, from the tortured Leith Torren to the fearful Renna Faythe, and her fearless sister, Brandi. The character development in this book was phenomenal. If you secretly love books that make it impossible for you to do anything “productive”, this is a book for you. I anxiously await the sequel!​
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I am a total sucker for redemption stories so this book was pretty much perfect for me 22 April 2016
By Ember's Reviews - Published on
Verified Purchase
I absolutely adored this debut novel by author Tricia Mingerink. I am a total sucker for redemption stories so this book was pretty much perfect for me.

There is just so much awesome with this book I hardly know where to start. So, lets start with the setting. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this novel was set on the prairie. I have never seen this particular setting in a fantasy novel before and thought that that was pretty cool, although I wasn't even sure how it would work! But she pulled it off like a pro and now I can't imagine this story in any other setting.

Leith is such an awesome main character! I just love him to death. Even with his raising and manner of lifestyle, he is still a man of honor and compassion. Tortured heroes and redemption stories are some of my all time favorites, which is probably Leith has totally become one of my top ten fiction heroes ever!

The main heroine, Renna, was a a little more difficult to get close to at first. I totally understood her, but the connection took a bit longer. She is hurting quite a lot and carries a heavy burden of fear on her young shoulders. I absolutely loved her little sister Brandi. That girl was so much fun, But it was tough to get a clear picture of her age in my mind. I often thought that she was younger than she really was by the way she acted sometimes.

I am also a huge fan of Martin and Shad. I so badly want to see Martin redeemed too.

The message wrapped up in Dare is a powerful one. Redemption and forgiveness are realistically woven into the plot. Trust is another one. Leith struggles a lot with his past as it constantly holds him back from becoming the man he wants to be. He's a Blade. This title distances him from others, turns acceptance into fear and even hate. Leith wants some thing better for his life. He wants freedom

But does he dare to fight?

Safety Ratings:

Romance: No romance yet. That will come later. ;-)
Language: clean
Drinking / Drugs: nothing I recall.
Blood / Violence: this is a book about assassins so there will be violence. There are a handful of deaths, fights, murder, the aftermath of a torture session, a variety of injuries, cauterizing a wound, digging arrows out of people and the like. I know that sounds terrible, but most of it is quite non-graphic.
Other: This is just a minor thing, but the main character is an accomplished liar. Leith hates doing it, he knows it's wrong, but it is often necessary for survival. If kids read this, a good discussion on why lying is wrong might not be a terrible idea.
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it! 7 May 2017
By FL Potts - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ahhh, this book. *clutches it to my heart* It's truly a gem. I'm so grateful I stumbled across it – last year – as a gift ebook for participating in a Black Friday sale promotion. :D

I devoured the entire 300+ pages within two days (had there not been a huge and awesome snowstorm at the same time, who knows, I may have read it ever quicker ;)) and loved. every. speck. of. it.

Up until then (January) I had read hardly any fantasy. Maybe even none (not sure...) So I started into this with some reservations and totally expecting to not like it. Peeps...I was so wrong. I fell in love with this series – hard and fast.

The whole 'wicked bad Blades serving King Respen, and the Resistance fighting back against the darkness' plot line was soooo awesome. The storyworld (Acktar) that Ms. Mingerink has built is amazing. It has a western feel with prairies and plains and horses, but it's also got a medieval touch with lords and ladies and castles. *smiles* It's just perfect-o.

The characters are amazing and well rounded. My personal favorite is Leith, is...just...ohmygoodness, I don't even knnooowwww. I love seeing his struggle between right and wrong, acceptance and rejection. *hugs book* And then Renna, she's such a dear. She too has struggles and challenges to face throughout the book. I enjoyed her character in Dare, but more so in Deny. :) And there's Brandi. Golly, do I love that child. Can I please adopt her? She's so sweet and caring and funny. Gotta love her. <3

And THAT ENDING!!! Gaaahhhh. As I was nearing the end I'm like "oh, yay, it's going to end so happily!" *fake laugh* Haha, nope. More like end with me screaming. "What?! No?! This can't happppeeennnn to meeeeee."

(A few cautions... There are some described murders, stabbings, torture, etc. and for those reasons I wouldn't recommend it to a younger – under 11/12 – audience. But for teens? Yeah, it's a great book. ;))

A hearty five of five stars!! :D