I have to start this review with a very special thanks to Dave @TheWriteReads for his amazing blogtours that helped me branch out waaay more in my reads than I would normally have done. This epic fantasy would probably not have been on my radar if it wasn’t for this tour – simply because I don’t usually pick them up. But I would have missed out big time, so big thanks, Dave! Also, thanks to the author for providing us bloggers with the ecopy of his book in exchange for an honest review. (Neither influenced my opinion of it in any way.)
Let’s start with the BOOK BLURB – for everyone who hasn’t read this yet!
The King is Dead. Long Live the People!
Mareth is a bard, a serial under achiever, a professional drunk, and general disappointment to his father. Despite this, Mareth has one thing going for him. He can smell opportunity. The King is dead and an election for the new Lord Protector has been called. If he plays his cards right, if he can sing a story that will put the right person in that chair, his future fame and drinking money is all but assured. But, alas, it turns out Mareth has a conscience after all.
Neenahwi is the daughter of Jyuth, the ancient wizard who founded the Kingdom of Edland and she is not happy. It’s not just that her father was the one who killed the King, or that he didn’t tell her about his plans. She’s not happy because her father is leaving, slinking off into retirement and now she has to clean up his mess.
Alana is a servant at the palace and the unfortunate soul to draw the short straw to attend to Jyuth. Alana knows that intelligence and curiosity aren’t valued in someone of her station, but sometimes she can’t help herself. And so she finds herself drawn into the Wizard’s schemes, and worst of all, coming up with her own plans.
Chance brings this unlikely band together to battle through civil unrest, assassinations, political machinations, pirates and monsters, all for a common cause that they know, deep down, has no chance of succeeding – bringing hope to the people of Kingshold.
I have to start with the thing that I liked the most. That was definitely the strong and multifaceted characters that Woolliscroft created masterfully. They made the book for me for sure. However, I have to admit that at first, when every new chapter was focalised through another new character, I was a bit confused and thought – ‘uh oh, who’s this now?’ – but after I while I got used to this way of storytelling and the different characters and started liking them – one more than the next! I also really enjoyed the character development I could observe in many of the characters.
One thing that slowed down my reading process, however, was how the first half of the book made a kind of slow progress altogether. The descriptions are very detailed and you can see everything in front of you – which is nice, but only if it’s done to a certain degree, because it made it hard to get into the book in the beginning. I often found myself wondering – when will the pace pick up? However, when it finally did, I sped through the rest and really enjoyed it.
Another thing that made me think ‘oh, is this book really for me?’ – was when I found the quite few umm… profanities … that came up again and again…and again. If you know me, you know there is only one swear word I (very seldom) use, and reading them in books makes me uncomfortable most of the time. However, if it fits the situation I could overlook or ignore it… just at times, some of the wording seemed a bit off to me because it either didn’t really seem to fit the setting or the characters. (This was the case with ‘normal’ words at times, too.)
But back to the reason why I sped through the second half of the book. It has wizards. It has bards. It has assassins. It has dwarfs, demons, pirates, magic (and a huuuge turtle even!) – so this book has everything a fantasy could need! Drama, danger and conflict were interwoven nicely throughout the story. It’s definitely helped keeping me on my toes in the second half of the book, where it really gained momentum. At times, I did find these super interesting elements in the story to be on the sidetracks rather than the centre of the story, whereas the politics – the elections – could have taken a tiny step back in my opinion. However, that is just a personal preference of mine, I know that many readers enjoys these types of political fantasies.
Summing up, I can say that it did take me a bit to get into this novel, but once I did I was really hooked and so glad I was able to take part in this blogtour! I recommend this novel to people who like epic fantasies with lots of politics, multiple points of view and lots of great characters that really show off some amazing character development – just what you want to see in a novel of this kind. I loved that it contains many fantasy elements you’d expect, but then it takes unexpected turns at times, which makes it all the more enchanting. 4 stars from me.
Author Bio D.P. Woolliscroft
Born in Derby in England, on the day before mid-summers day, David Peter Woolliscroft was very nearly magical. If only his dear old mum could have held on for another day. But magic called out to him over the years, with a many a book being devoured for its arcane properties. David studied Accounting at Cardiff University where numbers weaved their own kind of magic and he has since been a successful business leader in the intervening twenty years.
Adventures have been had. More books devoured and then one day, David had read enough where the ideas he had kept bottled up needed a release valve. And thus, rising out of the self doubt like a phoenix at a clicky keyboard, a writer was born. The Wildfire Cycle is David’s debut series.
He is married to his wife Haneen and has a daughter Liberty, who all live with their mini golden doodle Rosie in Princeton NJ.
David is one of the few crabs to escape the crab pot.
Again, thank you so much to the author and Dave for this great journey. I can’t wait for more The Write Reads blogtours.
Thank you all for reading!