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Jacob Riverson, Knight Paramount of the Shadow Guard, The Sounthern Kindoms guardians against, after killing Kurzad, one of the four Dark Lords (think super powered Ring Wraiths) in combat, He faces the King Below, the trixter God of Evil, in the final battle of the fourth age. The King below kills him by running him through. 250 years later, he becomes aware again, standing on a mountain top, facing the trixter god in his not battle guise. Jacob is told by the God that he is a wraith and that he replaced the last Kurzad as his Dark servant, and has been a dark force of evil fighting for the King Below against the forces of light. As they speak, two dragons come flying up, with knights riding them, fighting each other. As the smaller dragon is killed, it's rider, a female knight, calls on Jacob to help her, thinking he is a knight of the Shadow Guard. He decides to help her, and uses his powers to kill the other knights and their Dragon. Thus starts his journey with Regina, a current Shadow guard, who have fallen greatly since Jacobs time in the guard. She tells him the King Below was killed by the nine heroes, and then they usurped the rule of the Southern kingdoms. So starts a huge series of adventures and tribulations, as Jacob has to deal with the evil did as the Dark Lord, and figure how he can use that power for good. Along the way, they travel the kingdoms, fight one of the usurpers, meet Sarah, a dark powers witch who isnt evil, and go to The King Belows Kingdom, where Jacob decides his final fate. The final battle of the book is epic, with huge revelations about the forces behind the events of the last 250 years, about Jacobs past, and about future directions of the series.
This book has everything fans of epic, dark fantasy clamor for. Flawed characters, deeply complicated politics, falls from grace, chances at redemption. The author also has complicated interpersonal relationships, incluing intimate ones, along the lines of A Crown for Cold Silver. They are as natural as breathing, not something added to create a "message". Watching Jacob's voyage throught this book is great, since he is such a great flawed character, having done aweful things, both for good and evil reasons, and seeing him strive for redemption. His companions are also fully realized, no just cutout props. There is great magic of various sorts throughout, and a surprising amount of snark for a dark epic like this. All in all, a definite 5 star listen. Kevin Collins Narration was great, and I can't wait to check out his other work. If your looking for something to compare this to, the closest thing would be Alex Marshall's A Crown for Cold Silver. I can't recommend it highly enough.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
I mostly tried this book because I read the authors other series a parody of superheroes/villians. This was very fun for anyone who is familiar with fantasy and Lord of the Rings. The story starts quickly and keeps you moving along while introducing more new characters and filling in the history and backstory for the world and the characters as you go along at a nice pace. I do think they could have focused on some characters a little bit more to make them feel a bit more real but hopefully that will come with the sequel.
Basically the main character is a goodish guy who did questionable things to fight a war against this worlds equivalent to Sauron and then got killed and made into this worlds equivalent Ring wraiths. Basically the Evil God is defeated and wants the protagonist to take his place and be the evil overlord. This seems comical at first but get more deeply serious as the book goes on and we learn much more about the heroes history and the true history of this world and its gods. I look forward to this books sequel and its surprising dark and bright shades of gray.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
Finally trying to catch up on my reviews.
I picked this up because I'm a fan of Charles work and Audiobook are my best friend.
The story here is grimdark, with lots of epic battles and much more!
Some of the things I really love about Charle's style is his humour. I think that with every book I've read/listened to there's just this fun side that oozes off the page to your ears.
It took a little while for me to get used to Kevin's tone and sounds, but his characters were distinct and I totally did enjoy the performance.
Jacob is an interesting character, totally thrown in at the deep end waking to find himself missing a huge amount of time... and that he's not human and that he's been doing the horrid deeds of the guy he was trying to kill.
I love the banter between the characters, there are some really good bonding moments and though sometimes I think the action is a bit too quick. It was such an easy listen I just wanted more.
So where is the next one :)
Thank you for a great listen!