I was in the middle of a Wheel of Time first ever re-read and I told myself that I would power through it while I have the chance and the motivation.
Then along comes a review on r/fantasy about Kings of the Wyld. The review was singing its praises and a bunch of people chimed in that they enjoyed it too. So, I went and looked it up to add it to my TBR pile for later.
One of the critic reviews labeled it “Pratchett meets Abercrombie”
Woah, there. That’s some solid praise, and one that immediately catches my attention as I’m in love with Pratchett and a big fan of Abercrombie.
So, I broke my promise to myself and bought Kings of the Wyld hoping that all the hype wasn’t just hype.
I loved every single thing about this book.
The characters were fucking fantastic. They were diverse and believable, likeable but not without flaws. Although the book was very action packed it wasn’t without heart. There were moments that were raw and real, introspective moments that provoked real emotions.
There was also absurdity in all the right ways. It wasn’t over done, it was lightly done in the right moments. There’s a character named Moog, who was my favorite of the bunch, and whenever he’s on the scene he’s stealing the show for me. He’s also what makes people think Pratchett. He’s an older wizard with a bag of tricks, he’s also sort of senile and insane. His husband had died of a an incurable disease almost 20 years before the novel takes place, and he’s dedicated his life to finding the cure. He has a heart of gold when it comes to animals and the people he cares about, and he’s also absolutely fucking hilarious. He’s the comic relief when you need it during some of the more tense moments.
The main character Clay Cooper is a retired merc who’s made a quiet life for himself married with a daughter. His past is full of blood and glory, but he’s genuinely put that behind him before his friend shows up to drag him back into the action. But, not without good reason, it’s not for the glory anymore, it’s for family. Gabe comes to Clay in a desperate situation when his daughter, who became a merc like her father, has gotten herself trapped halfway across the continent in a city that’s under seige by the largest Horde the world has seen in living memory. Goblins, orcs, dragons, wyverns, centaurs – every monster you can think of is trying to reclaim their home that was taken from them, and she happens to be in the city where they’ve chosen to reclaim.
The only reason Clay decides he will go is because if it were his daughter, nothing in the world would stop him.
They can’t do it alone, so they pick up Moog along the way, who’s happy to help and needs no real convincing reforming the old merc band.
Three old men can’t defeat a Horde of that size, so they go on to get the remaining members of the band – one has become a king, and the other is an enslaved arena fighter.
Matty is now a King to a bitch of a wife who rivals Cersei in her horrible, self centered, cuckolding bag of fuckery. Matty has to find a way to escape the hell that is his life as a King. He’s actually made a decent king despite his drunken and unruly behavior. Compassionate and competent he’s actually ruled his lands well. However, he’s miserable and needs to find a way out.
The last member, Ganelon, an arena fighter not there by choice is the most difficult to get on board due to him being a hostage fighting for the city’s entertainment.
Once the band is all together, they need to trek across an entire forest of monsters, magical creatures, seriously intense storms and every other dangerous situation you can imagine.
Not to mention they are being hounded by a bounty hunter who’s a powerful daeva (which is a magical creature) that’s infuriatingly hard to kill and determined to reign in her bounty.
This book has adventure and action galore. There’s not much of a downtime during this book, so although it’s about 500 pages it reads fast, the pacing is just great.
The humor is on point, the jokes land but they aren’t overdone. It’s got punch lines, meta jokes, and even some references to other nerdy stuff IRL, for instance “the cake is a lie” made it into the dialogue, as did “stick them with the pointy end”. Those sorts of nods were lightly sprinkled throughout that made me smile when I caught them.
The dialogue was brilliant, each character had their own ‘voice’ and if you took a bit of dialogue out of context it’s likely you’d know who is talking, which is a sign of good dialogue and character development. And it’s not done with accents either.
The plot although not exactly original – there are lots of rescue missions in fantasy – it was made great by the obsticles they had to face which were enormous but not so enormous it broke down to being unrealistic.
I really can’t say enough good things about this book, and I usually try and taper my reviews to be audience specific, bringing up reasons someone may or may not like this book.
The only reason I’d think people would want to steer away from his book is if you don’t like a ton of action and violence, don’t like cursing, and don’t like a menagerie of magical creatures. Elsewise, I think this book has mass appeal and most people who pick it up would enjoy it.
6/5 stars, I can’t wait for the next book to be out.
The goodreads ratings are seriously impressive. 4.43 with a whopping 58% giving it a 5 star rating and 88% of people giving it either a 4 or 5 star rating
HOW is this a DEBUT novel? This feels like a seasoned author who knew exactly what he was doing.