King of Swords : The Starfolk

  • by Dave Duncan
  • Narrated by Nick Podehl
  • Series: The Starfolk
  • 11 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Rigel has always known he is not quite human, but the only clue to his origin is the otherworldly bracelet he has worn since childhood. His search for his parentage leads him to the Starlands, where reality and fantasy have changed places. There he learns that he is a human-starborn cross, and his bracelet is the legendary magical amulet Saiph, which makes its wearer an unbeatable swordsman.
Fighting off monsters, battling a gang of assassins seeking to kill him, Rigel finds honorable employment as a hero. He knows that he must die very soon if he remains in the Starlands, but he has fallen hopelessly in love with a princess and cannot abandon her. Through the imaginative landscape of the Starlands, Rigel's quest leads him to encounter minotaurs, sphinxes, cyclops, and more fearsome creatures in Dave Duncan's latest fantasy series.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Forget the mattock; dig in with a teaspoon

Not having read Duncan before, I did not know what to expect, only that the book was recommended to me by audible based on my other reads.

One good thing about this book is that it includes all the trappings of heroic fantasy. Orphaned hero seeking his parentage, living on the edge of society because he's just a bit different, gets whisked off to a magical land where he discovers he has some special amulet which makes him extremely powerful, but also comes with its own enemies and perils. And then you throw in all the things that are supposed to be in a fantasy novels, centaurs, minotaurs, harpies, elves, sphinxes. Notably lacking: a bearded dwarf that spoke with a Scottish brogue.

Unfortunately, because of this, it seemed like a novel built from stock parts.

It is a quick fantasy read that will not challenge the reader. It moves along fast enough and doesn't bog down. It is OK so long as you don't try to dig too deep.

Another good thing about this book is the reading. Podehl does yeoman's work deepening characters that Duncan wrote pretty flat. He deserves quite a bit of credit for raising this book up in my estimation.

Now about those characters...

This is one piece where the book really fails. The characters are almost all one dimensional, many wouldn't even have that if it weren't for Podehl's reading. The evil megalomaniac is a bad guy, because he's a bad guy. His evil henchman performs odious acts, because that is what you do when you're an evil henchman. The main character acts heroically. Why? To impress a girl. That's new. The reader just can't identify with what is essentially a cast of cardboard cutouts.

I would not recommend this to anyone except maybe the convinced Duncan fan who knows exactly what he or she is getting into.

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- Benjamin "Likes to listen while doing chores; likes to write reviews while he should be doing chores."

Princess of Mars meets Kingkiller Chronicles

Any additional comments?

This book is exactly what I wanted it to be: a light, popcorn listen.

I wasn't' expecting Rothfuss or anything, just a mildly humorous fantasy book that was set in modern day, which is what this turned out to be. You have Rigel who is head over heals for the alien (It's cool, he's half alien after all). Rigel wields the most dangerous weapon in the known universe and is shunted to another....realm? Planet? Galaxy? Something. Here he is a lower class citizen in love with the upper class. Because of this he gets stuck in the middle of a great assassination plot. Where everyone wants to either use him or make sure no one else can use him.

You know what? The best way to describe this book is the lovechild (I made a joke, read the book to get my glory) of Patrick Rothfuss (I actually checked to see if it was him under pseudonym) and Edgar Rice Burroughs circa Princess of Mars.

I'll finish this series as each book comes out. And I'm not going to recommend this book to anyone, if any of what my review or the book flap sends you.... it's exactly what's on the tin.

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- Matthew "1 Star -- Terrible 2 Stars -- Bad 3 Stars -- Mediocre 4 Stars -- Great to the right person. 5 Stars -- Superb, you must pick this up."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-15-2013
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio