This is a blog with spoiler free reviews. Most will be Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror, but there will be some books in other genres, including the occasional Non-Fiction review. There is an ongoing series of Cover Reveal Round-Ups, and sometimes I'll write an article on something that interests me.

27 April, 2012

REVIEW: THE KING OF THE CRAGS

Dragon illustration: Dominic Harman
Cover design: Sidonie Beresford-Browne
 
THE KING OF THE CRAGS
MEMORY OF FLAMES BOOK TWO
BY
STEPHEN DEAS
 
ISBN: 978-0-575-08379-0
Pages: 366
Publisher: Gollancz
First published: 15 April 2010
This edition published: 10 February 2011

On the cover:
*SPOILER WARNING*
If you haven't read book one, The Adamantine Palace, this will contain spoilers.
(The review will be spoiler free, so you can still read that.)

Prince Jehal has plotted and murdered his way to power. Speaker Hyram is dead. Queen Shezira faces trial for treason. Jehal is married to her daughter, Lystra, and has the new speaker, Zafir for his lover. He has everything he ever dreamed of. And is learning that dreams can become nightmares...
 
On the edge of the World Spine the fires of rebellion are burning. A fire fueled by an ancient prophecy. The Red Riders are coming. And the flames that will come on the wings of dragons are flames that could engulf the world.
 
For
 
Out of the sun there shall come a white dragon, and with the white dragon a red rider. Thieves and liars shall quiver and weep, for the rider's name shall be Justice, and the dragon shall be vengeance.

   This book picks up where The Adamantine Palace left off, and throws you right into the action. And there's quite a bit of action in this book, but it is nicely balanced with the courtly intrigue that we came to know in the first book.
   There is a lot going on with the royal intrigue in this novel. What we saw in the first book escalates nicely, and you really feel that the events are starting to build to something momentous.  Deas also manages to make it near impossible to predict what is happening. There are some twists to the plot here that are not as much telegraphed as they are a telegraph-pole coming out of nowhere and hitting you in the face.

   Deas is very good at pulling off the unexpected turn. This makes reading a joy, as the discovery of what is going to happen makes it for a novel that becomes a fast read. Of course this is mostly because you will be driven by the suspense to read "just one more chapter".
   There's more than enough happening here to make a much thicker Fantasy novel, but Deas doesn't waste his time. We don't get the padding that some Fantasy authors do, Deas concentrates on getting the plot moving. And the reader gets a whirlwind of a ride that doesn't leave much room for rest, something that is in my opinion a very good thing.

   Dragons are again a very central part of what is happening. We get more information on how they function here, and the gradual revelations of how dragons function in Deas's world is very interesting to read.
   The dragons do not at all feel like the cardboard-cutouts they can sometimes be in Fantasy. They are an integral part of the world, and they have a history of their own. Linking this history to the rest of the story is done in a way that makes them feel like a natural part of the plot. And there is more than enough originality in that part of the story to make for a very interesting addition to the lore of dragons in Fantasy.

   Deas has managed to write a great second book. There is plenty of action here, and the plot is full of unexpected twists and turns. While the novel does do some building up to the next book, that is hardly noticeable when you read, you are far to busy taking in what is happening at the moment.
   This is a great continuation of The Adamantine Palace, and at the same time it gives you an urge to know what is going to happen next. As a second novel in an Epic Fantasy series, this is certainly one of the best I have read.
   The Memory of Flames has just gotten even better with its second installment.


No comments:

Post a Comment