“Matrick plied his knives like a parade drummer, his rhythm so fast his enemies didn’t know he’d murdered them until their god asked them if they took milk in their tea”
So what’s the book about?
Clay lives a quiet and familiar life. No one would suspect that he was once one of the famous members of the mercenary troupe Saga. Almost twenty years since Saga split up, Gabriel shows up at Clay’s door wanting to reunite the troupe to rescue his daughter from a hopeless siege. After the mercenary group disbanded, each of the 5 took a different path. Clay and Gabriel wanted to build a quiet life with a family. Moog focused on his studies, which were mainly on curing scabies. Mattrick became king and has ruled his own country ever since and Ganelon continued to dabble as a mercenary until he killed a high-ranking person. Before Gabriel’s daughter can be rescued, Gabriel and Clay must gather up the troops and offer to help. But it seems that it is not so easy to reunite this gang.
Why I wanted to read this series?
I found the book at a time when I was not yet active on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads and still had to discover my books myself. I was very taken with this cover, because look at it too, it looks really outstanding. Also, I hadn’t read many books in English at that time, because I always read the German translations. I actually wanted to read a book that wasn’t quite so heavy, but while reading it I noticed that the story, which seemed so witty on the blurb, had more facets than I first thought. And this richness of facts struck me again, especially during my latest re-read. But despite initial difficulties in English, the book was able to captivate me so that I then began my journey into the original titles of English fantasy.
These aspects attracted me the most while reading.
- The world consists of various fantastic creatures. The monster menagerie seems somewhat familiar if you consume a lot of fantasy media (books, games, pen & paper), but here too there are always surprises and twists and the author’s own creations. The theme of the elves is present, but modified enough as another race that it arouses interest. But in doing so, the use of the whole monster collection just makes the book stand out, as in today’s books, you often find only one race or sometimes none at all. This gives the book a certain freshness and, moreover, these races are included in such a witty way that one looks forward to new races!
- Clichés of the fantasy genre are served in a good way. The book does not take itself too seriously and takes the classic high fantasy for a ride. In the story, the author exaggerates at all corners and edges and often scrapes past nonsense. In fact, there is hardly a section without exaggeration or hyperbole. But this is what makes this book, because the characters also fit this exaggeration, as does the entire world with its peoples. And what can’t be missing in a classic fantasy novel, of course, a bard. And of course we also got this one in the clichéd book.
- The path of the heroes is peppered with several stopovers and side characters. These all know how to entertain well. The real strengths here, however, clearly lie in the interplay between the characters. Each character has his or her own strengths and, of course, weaknesses. Especially the little anecdotes from the past of the respective ex-heroes were very amusing, but also their current life situation. With the troupe itself, you would like to run right along with them. The characters are humorous, punchy, likeable and yet also serious. On the one hand, I could laugh with delight, on the other hand, I had to fever whether everything would be all right. The characters really grow on you. But I especially liked Moog the wizard. Who could help it with someone who is a little crazy and has no problem with starry pyjamas?
- What makes this book a special highlight for me, apart from the spot-on humour, is the very well depicted conflict of generations. Our old heroes are confronted with the further development of the paths they have taken, which have taken an unexpected course – in short, a world that is no longer quite as they remember it. The food for thought and the way of looking at things can be wonderfully transferred to the here and now. Especially in the fights, it happened that despite years of experience, the fear of the fight came up or that the back simply didn’t want to play along as it should. I felt quite sorry for Clay in the fights. But even if the old men have their best days behind them, they have always done well against the youngsters.
So what are my final thoughts about it?
I noticed how much love Nicholas Eames put into this piece. You can see that in the main characters, but also in the various supporting characters. Even if they are sometimes not described in such detail, you notice the author’s love for his characters. I had to laugh, cry and be shocked – I just had to live through every emotion in this book. Although “Kings of the Wyld” puts the fun factor in the foreground, the seriousness of the story and the action are not neglected. Humour is a matter of taste. And if one or the other is too much or too shallow or too predictable, then the fun can probably suffer a little. But even then there remains a world you want to know more about, protagonists who make further adventures inevitable and a simple, but in itself mostly sensible and heartbreaking story. For me, there was just a little too much humour and not enough seriousness, but that’s why I’m looking forward to the second volume all the more, as it seems rather darker.
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