5 Stars Out Of 5
June 5, 2017
King's Blood ... what's left of the five nations have set sail for a new world, since their continent was destroyed. Will they find one or die at sea? And just because the five nations are at sea doesn't mean they have ceased to exist as nations or have learned how to get along. The three princes of Armania still vie for the throne, Charlon still hopes to give birth to a "deliverer," and pirates have begun invading many of the ships in the fleet.
One thing I can say is that King's Blood is just as complex as King's Folly - and it's longer, the publisher's longest book, in fact. There are close to twenty POV characters to complement the plots and subplots. And the storyworld with it's magic, different races, and monsters was fascinatingly well-done. If anything can be classified as High Fantasy, King's Blood can.
Amidst the slough of characters, I found myself drawn into the lives of nearly every one of them. Wilek, Trevn, Kal, Zeroah, Mielle, Hinck ... I loved them and always wanted the best for them. I felt sorry for them sometimes, too. I even developed an attachment to some of the villains. Charlon comes to mind. I don't exactly want her to succeed. I just feel sorry for her and wish that she would go to Arman (God) for her sorrows rather than trying to succeed on her own, ruining everyone else's lives in the process. Yikes, right?
Racism played a part in the story. It existed among all the nations and between them and the people's they discover in the other parts of the world. It seems as though people's natures are to reject anything different than themselves, unfortunately. The racism went both ways, too. Perhaps it could have been treated better, but for a group of fantasy characters with no concept of real-life, modern ideals rejecting racism, the characters did all right.
One thing I would make mention of is the magic. There was magic given directly from Arman, which was good and had few to no negative consequences. But the other form of magic was from the shadir, aka demons. And not the fantasy re-imagining of demons, where they aren't actually "evil." I mean the evil, manipulative, would-destroy-humanity-but-it's-more-fun-to-use-them kind of demons. In order to use magic, the human characters have to take a hallucinogenic drug that allows them to see the demons and partner with them (sell their soul) in order to gain their power and avoid dying form the drug. Sounds cheery, right? So, yes, dark magic is a thing in this book. It was not written for children. Keep all that in mind if you like reading really clean books or are looking for your kids.
Finally, there was a bit of biblical allegory. It's sort of a cross between Exodus, because of the "sailing to a promised land," and the Judgement and Exile, because they were being forced out of their land because they turned their back against God. Very well-done in my opinion.
I really enjoyed this book. Not just anyone could pull off that level of complexity so well. It was fantastic, and I highly recommend it ... but not to the faint of heart.
I received a complementary copy of this book from the author. I did not receive compensation, and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.