Darien's Rise

by Paul McCusker
Series: Passages #1
190 pages, Fantasy
Reviewed by Ariel_of_Narnia

Great read, great fun, great adventure, great lessons, and a great God!


Note: This is an Adventures in Odyssey book.

Kyle and Anna suddenly enter the world of Marus while exploring an old house outside of Odyssey...and find they have "powers": Kyle thwarts danger and Anna sees visions. The children aid Darien, a loyal general, as he runs from the mad King Lawrence and faces many other dangers. And through it all, the Unseen One is at work.


Darien is the epitome of friendship and loyalty. Even when he has the chance, he refuses to "lift a hand against" one who considers Darien as his "sworn enemy." Darien's little militia also show their loyalty.

Spiritual Content

The Unseen One (aka God) is at work throughout the story. When one character hints that he hopes for an easier way, another states that "the Unseen One rarely makes things easy for us." The "powers" that Kyle and Anna have originate from Him and are used to fulfill His purposes. There is also a woman who makes her trade by talking with the dead.


As can be expected for a story with a general as a main character, there are a couple battles. Our first glimpse of Darien is as he is sword-fighting with another man; he ends up hitting the man on the head with a vase (for his own safety) and in an act of self-defense stabs him in the side. Kyle witnesses two battles and Anna envisions others, though they are barely described. Several attempts are made on Darien's life (though none are successful). One of Darien's men is shot. The Royal Guard and the princes are cut down. Another character shoots himself in despair. Some surviving enemies refer to one battle as "Darien's Fury." Anna has a dream in which she is killed; at one point she throws a lamp at someone in self-defense and his clothes catch on fire. An older girl is killed before Anna's eyes.

Drug and Alcohol Content

At one point, King Lawrence "has had too much to drink."

Sexual Content

None, unless you count Darien respectfully kissing the hand of his supposed-wife-to-be, Princess Michelle.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

The worst it gets would be an exclamation of "Blast!"


This story will be familiar to those who know their Bible narratives. "Darien's Rise" is the retelling of the story of David...but in another world. Paul McCusker follows most of the described events with amazing accuracy though for the sake of story or time, he does occasionally change characters, times, or circumstance. In any case, he keeps the original story vibrantly alive. The lessons the characters teach each other are applicable in our lives as well.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 5
Written for Age: 11-12

Review Rating:

Average rating: 5 stars
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