Six hundred years ago the land of Aom-igh was threatened with invasion by the Dark Country across the Stained Sea; in their danger King Llian sought the help of the dragons and the myth-folk. Graldon, King of the Dragons, granted the human king with a gift that would help him defeat his enemies. Graldon also promised King Llian that the dragons would come to the humans’ aid should Aom-igh ever be in such danger again. Years passed, and Aom-igh remained safe and isolated from its enemies. The dragons slowly disappeared and faded into legend and myth, and people forgot magic had ever existed.
When her kingdom is threatened by the Dark Country once again, the headstrong Princess Kamarie sets off on a quest to find the man who may be able to save them all: the former King’s Warrior. Traveling with her are two companions: her eccentric maid, and a squire who resents his charge to travel with and protect the princess. However, finding the legendary hero proves to be the least of their worries. Together the companions encounter more than they ever bargained for. A beautiful gatekeeper, a sword fashioned by dragons, enemies who pursue them relentlessly and hound them at every turn, and an underground world full of mythical creatures are just the beginning of their adventures.
As they search for the answers to mystifying riddles and seek a way to save everything they hold dear the comrades will learn a little about courage, a lot about truth, and more about themselves than they ever imagined. But if they can succeed in their quest, they may join worlds together.
Copy for review provided by author.
King’s Warrior is a book in the style of classic fairy tales – plucky protagonists, magic, ancient prophecies, adventures and all that. And I like that. Also, this might not be pertinent to the book itself, but I thought the cover art was pretty beautiful. It works really well for the book.
Sure, fantasy – or any genre – needs to innovate and break new ground, but this old and simple style of storytelling has survived so long because it works. A fantasy story doesn’t need to be have “gritty” violence, moral ambiguity and all your grimdark stuff to be fun. Because, after a time, gratuitous violence also starts to feel stale. A story doesn’t have to break and overturn tropes, because the tropes are there because they work. And so King’s Warrior feels like a breath of fresh air, even the it feels a bit generic from the description.
The story starts off as simple as it gets – a medieval kingdom, a dark implacable enemy, a quest to seek help. But the characters soon grow on you. The book has multiple POVs, but the major one is a weird hybrid one, told from the perspective of the princess Kamarie and the squire Oraeyn. That felt a bit weird to me at first, since as we get to see the thoughts of two people in the same scene, but I soon grew used to it, and in the end I think it kinda makes sense, because the real highlight of the story for me was the dynamics between these two.
The writing, as befits the type of story, is simple and straightforward, and… well, fairy-tale-ish. I really can’t describe it better. You can just imagine an old kindly grandparent telling you the story. But there are some rough corners. One thing that got on my nerves was how people would just “feel”. Like, characters meet, and they just know the other person is good or trustworthy or strong willed or whatever, just like that. Once or twice I wouldn’t mind, but it happened far too much.
The storytelling also suffered from repetition. Sentences repeating or rephrasing what has always been said. People thinking and saying the same stuff over and over. This made the book feel bloated, even though it’s not – 400 pages is peanuts by the epic fantasy standard.
So the book has it’s strengths and weaknesses, but in the end the former outweighed the latter for me.