An Epic Fantasy Series Review
This series has all of the best elements of true Epic Fantasy. Detailed worldbuilding, wide variety of characters, good and bad, rich and poor, plus the classic struggle of good verses evil, only it is hard to guess who is on what side. Sound interesting? Well it gets better. Add in a corrupt church, myth and legend that is coming to life, romance, humor and politics and you have the makings of alot of late night reading.
This has been one of the most difficult series to review that I have run across yet. Normally, I have no problem summing up a series easily while hoping I intrigue you enough to want to explore further and read the individual reviews. This time however I am having a bit of a problem. You see the series changes focus from one book to the other. I have my favorites, which is normal; I have a few I was not so fond of, which is also normal. The problem is that the final book is completely different from the three preceding it, which is making it difficult for me to come up with a well-balanced summary.
To address this issue, I am going to do things a bit differently. Instead of an overall series review, I am going to break it down into books.
♦ Book One, The Briar King. This book is beyond excellent; it sets up the story in a very well balanced way, introducing a host of fascinating characters while building an equally fascinating world. You are sucked into a world that is built on layers upon layers of complexity and yet, you have no problem following what is going on.
♦ Book Two, The Charnel Prince. This book continues the story started in book one, adding more layers, characters, and digging deeper into the politics and religions involved in the plot. This book is a fast read, keeping things well balanced and moving smoothly despite of, or maybe because of the frequent PoV changes.
♦ Book Three, The Bloodknight. This book starts to shift focus, abandoning character development for story development. The already complicated plot starts to twist and turn in unexpected ways. This book is darker with romance and humor replaced by more dark and gritty plot details.
♦ Book Four, The Born Queen. This is the final book in the series and wraps up the story in some very unexpected ways. This book has a different feel from the previous three with things rushing towards the conclusion in a way that will feel, for some, chaotic. I found it to be confusing at times and overwhelming at others while still other parts I really enjoyed. My mixed reactions can be solved by a reread I believe. There is just so much information coming at you so fast that it is hard to keep track of it all. Definitely not a book you want to read if you have any distractions.
♦ Conclusion. All in all, a fascinating epic fantasy. There are some familiar fantasy tropes but Greg Keyes makes them uniquely his own. Story and plot lovers are going to enjoy this series immensely. Character lovers, maybe not so much. This series does rely heavily on plot with characters being more of the type that are fun to watch, but not connect with. Mythology lovers are also going to enjoy this story. I always relish reading a tale where myth and legend end up having a basis in fact. It was fun watching the process taken as people slowly come to realize this. Content is violent when the story calls for it, funny at times, especially in the first two books and touchingly romantic, again mainly in books one and two. It will keep you on your toes, up late at night and trust me, you will not be able to predict the majority of the ending.
If any of this piques your interest, I highly suggest reading the individual reviews. I also suggest seeking out other reviews because some reviewers felt strongly that this series was exceptional. Being more of a character driven fantasy lover, it is likely my issues are simply a matter of taste. In the end, you will have to be the judge! Ultimately, I would have to compare this series to life, it has its ups and downs but when it is all said and done, I benefited from the experience.
|Author: Greg Keyes
Series: Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Publisher: Del Rey
Source: Personal Copies
|Read an Interview with Greg Keyes|
Similar Reads from LibraryThing
Author's Web Presence:
I could find none. When I originally did these reviews he had both a website and a forum. Both are now unreachable.
Available in Audible and Kindle
See the individual reviews for purchasing options
More Great Epic Fantasy
Review of Epic Fantasy Series - Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone by Gregory Keyes - Reviewed by Mulluane - on April 30 2009 - Rating: of 5 Stars