Book Review #2

I know it’s been quite a while since I posted, so this one is special. I’m taking part of Bethany House’s Blogger Review Program again (Free books for me, just a review here and on a retailer’s website). This month, I’m reviewing Jill Williamson’s new book, King’s Folly. (Warning, spoilers)

The official blurby description thingy, from Bethany House’s website, is below:

Their Battle for the Throne Has Just Begun.
But Will It Matter if the World They Rule Collapses Into the Sea?

The gods are angry.

Volcanic eruptions, sinkholes, ground shakers–everything points to their unhappiness. At least that is what the king of Armania believes. His son Prince Wilek thinks his father’s superstitions are nonsense, though he remains the ever dutiful First Arm of Armania.

When a messenger arrives and claims that the town of Farway has been swallowed by the earth, the king sends Wilek to investigate. But what Wilek discovers is more cataclysmic than one lost city. Even as the ground shifts beneath his feet, Wilek sets out on a desperate journey to save his people and his world. But can he do it before the entire land crumbles?

For any big fans of fantasy, this is a must read that stands out. It has the feel of a fantasy series that doesn’t need to be concluded in one book, but rather the longer, more languorous feel of a true fantasy epic that won’t be easily forgotten. With this comes the slow, slightly confusing beginning that sets some readers off right away, but for those that stick around, a story of twisting and hidden loyalties, manipulation, discovery, and even a little bit of love blossoms on the pages.

The complicated culture, full of superstitions and practices and wars that was created by the author was probably my favourite part of the book. The ritual offerings of people to the god of soil, Barthos, and the picking of one’s five gods to follow, each with their own personalities and domains, a complicated system of ages and rankings, not to mention a completely different system of magic than I’ve ever seen before made the world very unique.

My favourite characters were probably Prince Wilek, despite him sounding slightly whiny in the beginning (he gets a lot better, trust me), and Prince Trevn and Miss Mielle. They really made the story enjoyable, to watch them grow and learn to rely on each other. While there were a lot of characters to keep track of, it was definitely worth it to see the interweaving between the characters in the end.

This book defied my expectations somewhat. I went into it thinking it would be another general Christian Fantasy, which in no way are bad, and most of my favourite books fall under this category. However, I soon realized how wrong I was. The expectation of “oh look, there’s the God of the world, the main character is the only devotee/going to convert while going through large amounts of hardship, but in the end the prince comes back and takes back his crown and marries the pretty lady, and they live happily ever after” was only half fulfilled in this book. It is not immediately obvious which of the numerous gods that exist is the true one, however with time it does become clear, and the several main characters – mainly Princes Wilek and Trevn, along with Kal and several others drift closer to acknowledging the truth. Wilek goes through much, including the loss of his beloved, being soul-bound to another, and kidnapped by mantics (sorceresses). In the end though, he comes back, and becomes the Heir, claiming his rightful position as crown prince of Armania. His pretty lady however, is not all she seems, and this along with many other mysteries are left off at the end of the book, which ends simply with these words:

“Not the end”

So if you’ve enjoyed Jill Williamson’s work in the past (I know I certainly have), I highly recommend reading this first installment in her new series, The Kinsman Chronicles.

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