Goodness, it’s been a while. I finished my summer college class (English 464), got a job, crocheted almost a whole afghan, and wrote like 10K words of a novel. I can talk more about any of these things if you’re curious, although I highly doubt any of you want to hear about American modernist literature.
Anyway, today we have a book review for a book I finished a month ago but just…didn’t…post. 😛 The author contacted me asking if I was interested in reviewing his book, and of course I said yes because I absolutely love doing that. So let’s get to it!
About the Book
A brutal contest determines the King. Does a god control the outcome? A thrilling epic fantasy world of magic and war.
Theo’s empathic power lies untapped, but she knows of his abilities. Is she god or something worse? The only thing that’s certain: the rage and terror warring inside Theo can obliterate the Drasque Empire—if war doesn’t first.
Theo couldn’t imagine the consequences when he stowed away. His freedom from Losik wasn’t worth war, but he didn’t know magical forces were waiting for him. In a time when whale oil and muskets replaced torches and swords, an ancient way of thinking still prevails, forcing men to kill other men for a chance to be king, and allowing a god and her blood magic warriors to bend the world to her will.
- Goodreads | Amazon | $3.99 or free in Kindle Unlimited
- Ebook, 192 pages
- Genre: epic fantasy
- Where I got it: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
An entertaining, quick read that would be great for fans of Eragon and the Chronicles of Narnia. The plot is fast-paced; the entire thing happens over about two days. But LOTS of stuff happens. We have a brutal contest to decide the next king (to which the book owes its title), a sentient tree that can bring people back from the nearly-dead, and two regions of people who are at war.
The summary doesn’t really tell you that much about the book, honestly. Basically, there are two perspectives: Theo and Tess. Theo stows away and gets into some, uh, trouble, let’s just say. Tess’s brother is competing in the titular contest, and we get that side of things from Tess’s chapters.
The characters are likable. The book passes the Bechdel test, which a shocking amount of fantasy books don’t, so that’s excellent. Theo is my favorite. He’s a 12-year-old boy who’s having a REALLY bad couple of days. Nagima is a really excellent character, too, and I hope to see more of her.
I appreciated how diverse the cast was. There are lots of different races. Theo, the main character, has darker skin and he meets up with a group of pale, blonde-haired warriors who he’s fascinated with. However, the characters aren’t exactly super-nice to the one fat character. Their descriptions of him are not flattering. He’s also not a good guy, so I guess he deserves it from that perspective, but the comments could be about his character instead of his size. The culture of the tribe Theo runs into is really fascinating and well developed. I think it’s the highlight of the book.
I’m also never a fan of accents being written out phonetically. So Tess’s chapters were a little painful in that regard. She drops her “H”s and that was written out. That’s a stylistic choice I’m not a fan of, but other readers might not mind.
I’m having trouble deciding how to classify this book – MG, YA, or Adult! The characters are young – Theo is around 12 – but the story is pretty violent. Game of Thrones has young narrators, too, but it certainly isn’t for kids. I’m going to bridge the gap and stick it in YA. That being said, this would be an appropriate read for teens. Probably 12 and up. The only objectionable content is violence, and nothing is gratuitous. There’s just a lot of fighting and stabbing.
Content Warning: for anybody afraid of heights, honestly! There’s a lot of climbing around on cliffs, and the descriptions were good enough that my stomach kept lurching. Job well done, Mr. Clem. Stabbiness, fighting, and some violence ensue.
3.5 stars, rounded up to 4