The Kingdom of Liars

This debut novel is a lengthy tale set in a new fantasy world. While the basic story is enjoyable, the author takes you on several side roads.

Michael is a Kingman, a family designated to serve the king. But he and his siblings are outcasts after their father killed the young prince.  While Michael’s siblings move on in image_processing20200302-48-1qdvrygthe world, Michael feels a deep desire to clear his father. But there is a rebellion on and the moon is breaking into pieces around them. In a world of magic and intrigue, Michael is in way above his head.

This book is massive. The bare-bones are good.  A young man wants to save his family and learns magic. He makes a deal with a High Noble to do so and help him try to solve this layered in mystery. Did his father actually kill the young prince and deserved to die when Michael was just a kid? The twist feels good as I hadn’t expected it. I liked the author thinking outside the box.

But the secondary stories seem to take over. His friends cause a variety of issues that don’t add to the main story and seem like video games side quests. So much of the content just takes up space and wastes time. Several branches don’t affect the overall story or ending at all.

But where I really needed more info it wasn’t there. I needed more information about the rebels and the politics at hand. I needed to know more about the moon and why people weren’t more distraught in its destruction.  I wanted to know more about the magic system.  So much content could have been replaced for a shorter and more precise story.

Author Nick Martel is setting up and epic fantasy saga but the first book is too clunky and often loses my attention. While I might be interested in the base story, I’m not sure I’d be willing to wade through such a thick and overly wordy tome again.

 

Publication Date:  June 23

I received an ARC from the publisher; all opinions are my own.

The Night Window

The Night Window satisfyingly concludes Jane Hawk’s story. While the lead up is not overly exciting, the ending is well done.
Jane has been fighting against the Arcadians, a techno-terrorist group who had her husband killed. On the run, she is trying to prove the depth of the conspiracy that has overtaken the United States and, eventually, the world. Finally, she has what she needs to bring them down; the data regarding who is an Arcadian and who is on the Hamlet (kill) List.night window
The Night Window is a huge improvement over the last two books in the series. Jane is moving forward and actually getting somewhere. This material isn’t filler; it’s actually part of the story. That being said, Koontz does create an adjacent story that becomes the stereotypical man-hunting-man quest that just drags down the pacing. The beginning of this sub-story started off wonderfully; it was an imaginative and fun way to recap what had happened in the last four books. But then it dragged out into a story that didn’t have any impact on the overall arc of the novel.
The ending is perfect. The conclusion makes sense and is the only way the situation could have been countered. While there is plenty of blood and violence, the solution is cerebral and very satisfying using the Arcadian’s tech against them.
I wish the cast of characters has been better integrated. There are characters I really liked that only got a one sentence write-off in this book. Unlike Odd Thomas, this series makes no sense as to why it suddenly dumps characters that were helping her. This is unfortunate; I was rather invested in them.
The Night Window ends Jane’s saga and ends it well. It was about time as the third and fourth entries in the entries were meandering and underwhelming. While I enjoyed the first two novels and was investing in Jane, Dean Koontz overreached and drew out her story for too long.
Publication Date: May 14
I received an ARC from the publisher; all opinions are my own.

King of Fools

The Shadow Game #2

In the sequel to Ace of Shades, Amanda Foody ramps the violence and danger for the story’s protagonists.
In New Reynes, City of Sin, Levi and Enne have gotten away from the Shadow Game with their lives intact. But their infamous actions will both hinder their new lives while at the same time driving their status in the North Side gangs. With the senator dead, Levi works with an estranged member of the donna who holds his life in her hanKing-of-Foolsds. If Levi can ensure this family member wins, then Levi will win his freedom in return. Enne finds herself building her own gang of women from the ground up and must combine both who she was with where she is now and show everyone who she can be.
While this is not as good as its original, I enjoyed reading the story of Enne’s growth. I loved to see her take her past and fit into her present to make a better future. Instead of foolishly trying to reinvent herself, she molds aspects of her life into one whole. I was a little disappointed that she wasn’t a bit stronger where Levi is concerned but their romance is a driving force of the story.
Levi’s was less enthralling this time around. He second guessed himself at every moment and seemed to put away his humanity. But his lack of balance was filled out by the addition of Jac’s perspective. It was great getting to know him and see his own story.
Overall, the political game and gang wars was less compelling than the Shadow Game but Foody seems to be steering the finale back to the game and enthralling all those encapsuled in the gang war.

 

Publication Date: April 30

I received an ARC from the publisher; all opinions are my own.