Welcome to the latest review on my blog, westu hal and well met. The fantasy genre really is wonderful because of how varied it can be, the brilliance of stories on offer cannot be underestimated. Recently I have been able to read a brilliant story by a new author Marcus Lee, Kings and Deamons, book 1 in his Gifted and the Cursed trilogy.
Firstly, just to let you know that I was given a free copy in exchange for a fair review of this book.
As usual here is the premise:
Over 50 years have passed since Daleth the seemingly immortal Witch King and his army conquered the Ember Kingdom. Now, with the once fertile lands and it’s enslaved people dying around him, the Witch King, driven by his insatiable thirst for eternal youth, prepares his forces to march on the prosperous neighbouring FreeStates. It will be the beginning of a conquest that could destroy nations, bringing death and destruction on an imaginable scale. Then, when a peasant huntress whose rare gift was concealed from birth is exposed, it sets in motion a chain of events that could alter the destiny of generations to come.
This has been one of my better reads of this year, it has a great cast of characters, multiple POV’s, a hard rules based magic system, a touching romance and left me wanting more from this author, to top it all of it is quite a dark story as well. The story focuses on three main POV’s to begin with, Maya, Taran and Kalas. One of the best aspects of the story was Marcus switching the POV mid chapter, this allowed for excitement and tension building in the writing, pulling the reader in and immersing you in the world.
Full credit must also be given to Marcus for not info dumping the world of the Ember Kingdom and The Freestates on to you, while the book is character driven, you will discover the world mostly through them which is brilliant. This is certainly my preferred way of things, and it was wonderful to gain an understanding of the world as the characters lived it, even from Daleth the Witch King who you will come to know on a more personal level.
The book does explore themes, themes of conquest, desire, revenge, hope and survival are all here. The theme of revenge is explored through Kalas, a possessed warrior who is determined to rid the world of the Witch King. Revenge stories can be very simple, but this one isn’t and as I love a good revenge story, the character of Kalas resonated with me in such a good way. Joining the main POV’s are a host of secondary characters that are well drawn and all have their part to play.
Maya is where your focus may well fall, she is a great character whose journey is an important one, discovering her gift of healing affect not only those around her but the very land itself makes her a target of the Witch King. Her journey of self discovery is important, both for the plot and for her as a character as it is through her gift which lends her compassion that she is able to perform the acts that she does, this character is truly wonderful and something I tip my hat to Marcus for.
All in all this is a great read, an excellent book 1 in a trilogy that I am excited to read the rest of. A couple of things before I go, firstly let’s touch on the magic system which was brilliant. While appearing to be simple it does evolve into a hard rules based system which is explained through the characters you meet. Rules based systems are my favourite, it implies limits and ensures characters are not all powerful.
What I was surprised to find out was that this is a Young Adult fantasy book, while I am mainly an adult fantasy reader I was surprised by this. It could easily be a book for adult fantasy readers, this is easily testament again to Marcus’s brilliant writing style that flows, is accessible and immerses you in his world with effortless grace.
This is easily a book I recommend, 10/10 from me for this one and as it’s only book 1 in a trilogy, books 2 and 3 are an exciting prospect for this reader.
Westu hal and stay safe, thanks as always for checking out my blog.
As an extra incentive for you to pick the book up, Kings and Daemons is free on the Amazon store and you can get yourself a copy via this link – but be quick as the sale is only for 48 hours from 07:00 this morning.