20 years has passed since Moral was banished across the Dark Sea, never to return again. Since then the kingdom of Myraid is flourishing. Lochland is doing a fantastic job ruling his prosperous kingdom from his late father's throne. His only set back is that he is young and feels the need for adventure. Fearful of growing old on the throne without truly meeting his people and facing adventure stalks Loch. Desperate for escape he goes errant, leaving the kingdom in his mothers aging hands for weeks at a time.
Alastair and Abbegael are proud of their son Telywn as he masters every skill he puts himself to. Only when Abbegael fears for her life Alastair and Tel go on a dangerous hunt for their eternal enemy, Cythraul. Sadly they are to late to stop the dangerous powers Cythraul has released in the last 20 years. A mighty dragon queen is one of these, Raudrim-Quevara is wrecking havoc on her homeland and will not rest till she destroys all who hinder her goal of bringing the world to ruin.
As a long time fan of Wayne Thomas Batson I was thrilled when Errant King came out. I loved "The Sword in the Stars" and was ready to learn more about Alastair and the world of Myraid. Upon receiving Errant King I saw it was over 500 pages I thought, "This is going to be great or just okay." Okay is what it turned out to be, I feel this book fell short of what it could have been.
First off the characters that we are introduced to overwhelmed me. I spent half of Errant King trying to figure out who on earth were Tango and Meli, not to mention what were they.
We start the story by meeting Arianna and learn of her fight for women rights and the past that haunts her. Next is Lochland, Maren, Sebastian, Ealden and the other lords of the land as they rule according to the One. Then we travel across the mountains to meet Tango and Meli, little ones who must flee their homeland and the blood hungry queen-dragon. Following this long line of characters to keep track of is Alastair, Abbegael and Telwyn and all the troubles they will have to face. Please, let us not forget the villains of this story, Cythrual and the dragon queen each have their own stories to tell.
This made it hard to attach to the 11 or so main characters, and harder still to keep track of their individual plots. At times I got tired of reading a about a great fight Alastair was about to have only to then jump to a kitchen and learn of Tango doing the dishes that I skipped large sections of the book (+30 pages at a time) to continue on with that character and then come back and read the parts I had skipped.
Unrealistic moments also had me in conflict. Some archery shooting skills portrayed in the book as normal are beyond impossible with modern fiber-glass bows, sights, and carbon arrows with plastic fletching, much less with traditional wooden arrows and recurves and without sights. As a archer and fencer I have grown to love Wayne Thomas Batson's style of using realistic fighting and shooting techniques for all his previous books, it hurt me to see him turn from something that I hold in high regard. Sadly fighting and shooting weren't the only things that took a turn for fanciful wish, someone being a master smith, swordsman, and expert in every weapon is also to unreal for me to over look. Another is fighting for over an hour straight. I do fencing, and I am out of breath within 5 minutes of hard fighting, doing an hour straight with broad sword is just too much for any man. Falling in love at the equivalent of first sight is there too, but I'll leave that view up to the individual reader.
The world was also very hard to follow for most of the book. With no map and multiple characters running around the map I got to the point that I didn't care where in Myriad they were. (Though I have since learned future copies of this book will have a map.)
Now for the pros of this book. The plot was very well laid out, with the multiple characters lining up according to the time line and other important things was done very well. The fight scenes, which is 90% of why I love Batson's recent writing, were masterfully written with amazing moves (though some-as stated-were above a little far fetched), tricks and cunning ideas. Also Batson is a natural at getting even the most reluctant reader hooked in the moment and to feel the joy, hope, pain, and despair at any given time that the characters are dealing with. Lets not forget the colorful world that keeps growing but still has secrets to tell. Finally, the ending of this book made up for many of the things I didn't like, as always it was fast paced and revealing while giving us just as many questions as it answered for the next book in the Dark Sea Annals.
This book has a big closing that I hope will lead to a bigger opening for book 3 in The Dark Sea Annuals.
Adventure, monsters, legends, kings, evil twins, a prince in disguise and a plot to take over the world. Oh, and of course the most charming, handsome, and amazing man in fantasy. The Errant King takes you on a journey you won't forget, bringing back loved characters from Sword in the Stars and weaving a loosely allegorical story of love, sacrifice and adventure. With an ending that will leave you begging for the next book, The Errant King is a book I would recommend to anyone!
Storyline - King Lochland is overwhelmed by the work of the kingdom of Myriad. So he goes out and lives among his people, taking up new trades to blend with the town's folk. But old and new enemies are rising up and causing destruction and heart ache wherever they go. Hinterlanders, who live on the other side of the mountains, have an old queen, known as the Red Queen, returns, worse now than she was before. Now part dragon, she rains fire on whoever rebels against her. Alistair and Telwyn go off looking for Cetheral when Abbageal's dreams are haunted by him. But a worst evil is coming from the Dark Sea. Can this evil be turned away? Will the Halfainin be found and be called forth?
Personal Opinion - Good but perhaps too many characters to follow. Don't get me wrong, the characters were great and diverse, and I enjoyed them very much. But, because of so many character, it seemed a little long. Besides that, the story lines were intriguing and new beings were introduced as well as characters I hope to see more of. The Hinterland people were so interesting and fun (they reminded me a bit of Hobbits). I am curious as to how some inhabitants of the land have fared after the terrible battles. The story was good and is leading up to more, dangerous adventures for the next books in the series. So many questions need to answered with the ending of this book.
I am always reading all the time. Ever since I was seven, I've pretty much always had a book in my hands. And its an extremely rare occurrence when I finish a book to sit fifteen minutes in a chair just thinking about it.
Well, that's what happened with "The Errant King."
"The Errant King" is the second book in the "Dark Sea Annals" and sequel to "Sword in the Stars." Like "Sword in the Stars," "The Errant King" was filled with believable and lovable characters, a breathtaking fantasy world, and daring adventures. I could relate to all of the characters, from the struggling Alastair to the reluctant king Lochlan to headstrong Ariana. Mr. Batson did an amazing job with his world-building too. Each chapter begins with an excerpt from an almanac, diary, historical record, or just a saying heard at an inn. I thought this was a very clever and effective way of drawing you into the world of Myriad. Also, for other Christian fantasy fans, their were subtle and humorous references to characters from books by Bryan Davis, Donita K. Paul and others.
The violence in "The Errant King" is about the same as in his other books, sword fights, dragons, etc. There are references to a drug known as Witchdrale throughout the book (and in "Sword in the Stars"). One of the characters has an addiction that he must overcome from it. Its always shown in a negative light.
I was only disappointed with one thing in the whole of the story. There is one part where a woman heavily flirts with Lochlan, and he advises her to stop and not do it again. Its to demonstrate Lochlan's stability and wisdom, but I felt like it was maybe a little much.
Other than that one small scene the book met and exceeded all of my expectations! Mr. Batson is an incredible writer, and if he keeps this up, I'll be stuck in a chair much longer than fifteen minutes with his next book!
I was quite impressed with The Errant King, Batson's newest work. Knowing that many reviewers said there were too many characters, I disagree. There were certainly many "extras," if you may, but the amount of important characters was not overwhelming. This was aided by the fact that most came from separate settings and situations, which each showed us new pieces of Myriad. For this reason, among others, this book has become very important to the series. We don't encounter the same old problems, character flaws, and reasoning as we would have, had the story dawdled in Anglinore (the capital). The land of Myriad has matured in the series, as have the characters themselves. I found Loch's excursions and remarks comical and enjoyable, Shepherd Sebastian's advice compelling, and Fred's jovial manner refreshing.
When it comes to the story itself, The Errant King is a big set-up. Many pieces come in place, but the final result is still a mystery. The tragic ending served its purpose, and hinted at what a massive chess-game this series will become. Batson has become good at chess, it appears. I await his next move eagerly.