The Seven Swords: Otherworld Chronicles, Book 2

Book review by
Barbara Lawrence, Common Sense Media
The Seven Swords: Otherworld Chronicles, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Series continues with more action, adventures, and battles.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

The Sven Swords is based on the King Arthur legends, but author Nils Johnson-Shelton takes liberties in developing these modern-day characters. Readers new to the Knights of the Round Table will learn about King Arthur's court. Those familiar will the Arthur legends may enjoy the up-to-date interpretation. 

Positive Messages

King Artie and his knights are loyal and risk their lives for one another. Together they set out on a dangerous quest to save our world from destruction. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

These are average kids who rise to greatness to save the world. In this this second book in the Otherworld series, the female characters step up and show bravery and resilience, particularly Qwon, a teen girl captured by the evil Lordess Morgaine.  


As with the first book, The Invisible Tower, there's a lot of violence as Artie and his knights fight the evil powers in the Otherworld. Battle scenes are gory. One of the knights who had his arm severed in the last book loses his leg in this one, though it's quickly healed by Artie's magic. The descriptions of the violence are not overly graphic, but may be disturbing to readers with active imaginations. For example, there's a creepy, hairy monster with a screaming eye who keeps creating more of his kind in battle. These, in addition to evil dragons and saber-toothed tigers, make for action-filled battle scenes, which injure many. Merlin, who gets creepier in this book, cruelly steps on an elf, killing him. Dred also smashes a beloved pet when he discovers the pet was a spy for his mom. Battle scenes include two soldiers being struck by a cow-like auroch and, upon impact, "making an awful noise as their bones crunched and shattered."


Qwon, who is held captive by Morgaine, finds herself attracted to her son Dred, who's her jailer. 


There are a lot of products mentioned on these pages. As in the first, Mountain Dew seems to represent more than a drink. The knights are thrilled when a case appears, and Kay and Artie seem almost addicted to it. The kids mention their longing for a "Happy Meal from Mickey D's" and Coke. iPads are used extensively in this adventure. Merlin jailbreaks the iPads so the kids can use them to navigate in the Otherworld as well as actually play the Otherworld game while on their quest. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Dred drugs Qwon with some magical liquid in order to keep her subdued while she's held captive. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Otherworld Chronicles #2: The Seven Swords is an action-packed adventure story with battles against all manner of fanciful creatures, including evil dragons and saber-toothed tigers. One character cruelly cruelly steps on an elf, killing him. The battles are similar to the first-person video games that Kay and Artie are obsessed with. There's some blood and gore as well as injuries, but in general the violence is mild. Some scenes with monsters and creatures are disturbing, such as a rat attack during a visit to an old crypt in the Otherworld. Artie and his group are attacked by dozens of rats that pour from every hole and dig their claws into Kay's scalp -- nightmare material for some readers. Artie and his brother, Dred (short for Mordred), are actually clones that were created by the evil Lordess Morgaine from the DNA of the original King Arthur's parents. Dred finds Morgaine's lab, where he discovers giant test tubes full of children, partial children, and other assorted humans and monsters. This grotesque imagery may be too much for some readers. Qwon's kidnapping by Morgaine is unsettling, as is Qwon's attraction to her jailer, Dred. This might be too mature for some readers. 

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What's the story?

In this second book in the Otherworld Chronicles, King Artie and his knights must find seven magical swords to save the world. These swords are scattered around the world, and each quest to find one presents a new adventure and danger. Also chasing the swords is the evil Lordess Morgaine, who has created Artie and his twin brother in a laboratory from the DNA of the legendary King Arthur's parents. Once Morgaine has the sword Excalibur, she can kill Merlin and take over the world. The action is nonstop as Artie and his knights encounter all types of mythical and ancient creatures, including dragons, monsters, and fairies, in this blend of old and new Arthurian tales. iPads and camo-clad knights are as important as ancient aurochs and Numinae, the forest lord.

Is it any good?

This novel continues the action and adventure from the first book, and the fast-moving quest to find the Seven Swords will keep viewers engaged. Character development takes a back seat to the action. That said, the characters are funny, wisecracking teens who rise to the challenge to save the world. Ultimately, this is a fun read that will attract lovers of fantasy and maybe lure a few gamers off their consoles.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why there is so much violence in media. Does it enhance the experience for the reader/viewer? Is it necessary for the story?

  • How does Nils Johnson-Shelton's modern King Artie and his knights compare to the King Arthur in more traditional stories? Try sampling some other King Arthur legends (such as the books listed on this page) or look up the origins of King Arthur on Wikipedia.

  • Families can talk about what teens learn from video games. Can some games be educational and informative as well as entertaining?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy and adventure

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