Sunday, August 15, 2010

Book review: "The Blood Knight"

I just keep being late with this blog... I already started a new book and still haven't written a post about this one, which I've read two weeks ago. But, here it is... The second paragraph is for those who haven't read the first part. After that, text contains spoilers about first two books.

"The Blood Knight" is the third book in high fantasy series "Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone" by author Greg Keyes. I picked this series because I wanted to read something of a "classical" fantasy: medieval knights, princesses, few myths and monsters. I was a bit fed up with original and innovating books and I wanted to read something easy, for a change.  In my opinion, this series is quite similar to Feist's original trilogy ("Magician", "Silverthorn" and "A Darkness at Sethanon") or even much more to Williams' "Memory, Sorrow and Thorn" (in setting, mostly). These are very nice books and I enjoyed reading them. This is not a series to provoke flame wars or to have a large fan base, but this is not an objection. It's a nice and short series that you will enjoy reading and then forget after few days or weeks (depending about your reading rate). And after few years you will be able to reread it with them enjoyment...

For first two books, you can read my reviews here and here.

Unfortunately, I'm writing this around two weeks after reading a book, so my memory of it is already a bit cloudy. I found this third book the best so far in the series. The reason for this is because I get the feeling that stakes got much higher now. In first two books it was "just" about a human empire and maybe about the end of the world (jokingly). But this book introduces some interesting "rewards" and show some of the background-players that we were unaware before (they were there, but we just didn't know what was their intention and meaning). There is still much to explain, but I think what all will fit neatly in last book. Keyes really hit the bull's eye with his pace of revealing... well, everything. The world, plot and key characters are nicely introduced in first book, but they just keep growing with every book and it feels very smooth.

In last book princess Ane with her company (Austra, Neil and Cazio) met with Apsalar and his friends (Stephen, Winna and Ehawk) in Crotheny. Now they are separated again. Anne will try to conquer back Eslen with help of still loyal nobility, while Aspar and Winna go to save Stephen who has been captured by slingers (people who gave over to Briar King and got "wild" in return). Stephen will found out that he is not really captured and will proceed with revealing what is behind the magical events (strange creatures, Briar King...) started in first book. Leoff was captured by prince (king now) Robert at the end of last book and now he is employed by Robert to make him a composition which will win him the affection of lower classes. Robert is doing random stuff, with no concern for his life (not that he has to) or crown.

Plot in this book doesn't advance much, but it's no dull either. Most focus is put on explaining the rewards that confronted parties are after what they mean to them. Anne is excited with her new powers and prospect for even bigger strength available, but she's also afraid of losing herself in the process. She is right in asking herself what's the price of her new skills; eventually, she will learn that everything has a price. Stephen is getting a lot of things explained to him, which is the primary way how we are getting to know the world better. I was quite surprised with some explanations. And I was very surprised with the chance he is offered to. Of course, he also learned that things don't come without the price. Aspar is still roaming through woods, killing monsters and is still hanged between his past and future. Other characters are not so important in this book. Both Neil and Cazio get some growing up; Leoff and Alis also have their own minor adventures. I think I got all of POV characters with this, except for Wina, but she even less important in this book that before (only as Aspar's important person).

I was surprised with sex in this book; I didn't see that coming. Not that I mind, but I don't like author putting something in front plan in third book with no prior mentioning; it looks like he is just trying to increase his selling. Although, it could be this is just a preparation for something in last book.

In short, it is a more than decent continuation of themes started in first two books. If you like them, I don't see any reason to not to like this one. More so, I liked it even better that the first two.

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