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Homeschool Crew Review: Terrestria Chronicles



I normally don’t like fantasy books because of the occult elements they usually contain. Nor do I like Pilgrim’s Progress. 


So when I was told we would be reviewing two books from the Terrestria Chronicles series by Ed Dunlop, I was not thrilled.  When we received the books, however, and started to read them, I was surprised.  These books combine the best of both medieval fantasy and Pilgrim’s Progress.  There is no magic or wizardry as in most fantasy.  The emphasis isn’t so much on saving your own soul as in Pilgrim’s Progress, but rather on showing thankfulness for the salvation that God has freely given. 


The children love the books because they are fun and fast-paced.  My three oldest children, all of whom know Pilgrim’s Progress well, say that the action in the Terrestria Chronicles is somewhat more predictable but each of them eagerly read both books within a day.  They understood the allegorical meanings and could relate the meanings to the theme texts, but they read the books for the story line.   They do say, however, that the story in Pilgrim’s Progress is more compelling.


From my adult perspective, these books are like a devotional.  I didn’t read them mainly for the adventure but rather for the insightful and penetrating lessons.   


There’s also a study guide to the entire series, but our family doesn’t do very well with study guides.   Our experience is that they usually spoil a book’s appeal, and these books are too worthwhile to spoil. 


On the other hand, I can imagine us reading these books out loud together. I can also imagine each one of us rereading these books several times, noticing different aspects and growing in grace each time through. 


Here’s some information from the website:


The Terrestria Chronicles allegory series was written with a three-fold purpose: to honor Jesus Christ as King, to challenge young readers to love and serve Him, and to teach them to guard their hearts for Him. The focus of the series is always on the King.  Aside: this focus on the King is one of the most appealing things in this series, for me. 


The website has summaries of each of the seven books, but we reviewed just the first two. 


Book 1: The Sword, the Ring, and the Parchment

Young Josiah is a slave to Argamor, the powerful warlord who has plans to seize the  throne from King Emmanuel. When Josiah fails in his attempt to escape slavery, Emmanuel not only sets him free forever, but adopts him into the Royal Family. The book presents an unforgettable picture of our salvation and reminds the reader what a wondrous thing it is to be redeemed.    Alive with fast-paced action in a medieval setting, Book 1 of the Terrestria allegory series encourages the reader to live as a child of the King. 

Aside:  The theme text for this book is Romans 8:15-17. 


Book 2:  The Quest for Seven Castles

When King Emmanuel sends Prince Josiah on a difficult journey to various castles across the kingdom, the young prince is unprepared for the dangers and temptations that he will face. As Josiah grows in the knowledge of his King and strives to become like him, he learns the importance of following his Book and listening for the voice of the Dove. Book 2 of the delightful Terrestria allegory series challenges the reader to examine his/her relationship with the King.

Aside:  The theme text for this book is II Peter 1:5-8.


You can go to the website for an excerpt of each book as well.  Both of the books we reviewed include a map of Terrestria, a glossary, a list of castle facts, and an ABC guide to becoming a child of the King. 


Note that both books contain some emotionally intense scenes.  I would certainly not give these books to a child under 10.


Our Opinions

These are good books, entertaining and uplifting at the same time.  The Biblical messages are presented in a memorable way, and the focus is on glorifying our King.  These books are worth rereading regularly, perhaps even out aloud, and we hope to own the whole set someday.


Of course, as one of my children pointed out, reading the Bible or pondering the theme texts themselves could be more profitable.  However, many people who would not pick up a Bible for relaxation would pick up an exciting book, and this series of allegories serves a valuable purpose both in strengthening believing young people as well as appealing to non-Christians.   Even though our family reads the Bible constantly, I found that the allegory style made me focus on aspects of the Bible that I had not been paying enough attention to.


If you are not a Christian, you will find these exciting allegories disturbing.  For the sake of your eternal future, I encourage you and your family to read them anyhow, especially if reading the Bible itself has overwhelmed you so much that you’ve given up.  The two volumes I’ve read are a simple, accurate, and appealing introduction to central truths of the Bible. May God bless you.


The summaries and excerpts on the website can help you decide if this series is for you.  You can also read the opinions of other families on the Homeschool Review Crew blog.  Note that the website is also worth exploring for the many free books it offers.  


To Purchase

Each book is available here for $7.99 US, or you can buy the complete set of 7 for $39.99 US.  The spiral bound study guide costs $5.99 US. 


Disclosure Policy:   As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received a free copy of The Sword, the Ring, and the Parchment and  The Quest for Seven Castles in exchange for our family’s honest opinions.


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