Are you a fan of epic fantasy, looking for your next grand adventure? Look no further than The Heir War, the second of three installments in King’s Folly, a fantasy tale of massive scale and unlimited potential.
Important note: Don’t read The Heir War unless you’ve read Darkness Reigns. Otherwise you won’t have any idea what’s going on.
Jill Williamson is one of my favorite living authors, and when she turns her attention to fantasy, the results are enough to make this bookworm salivate in anticipation of what’s to come. The Heir War provided the next glimpse into the danger-fraught world of the five realms.
With Prince Wilek still searching Armania for a murderer, his brother Prince Trevn finds himself pulled deeper into the dangerous politics of who will be Heir. Trevn, though, is far more interested in his studies with a local priest and the attentions of a young honor maiden.
The book that he has been copying during his lessons is not the book that teaches of the god of the soil. Instead, it teaches of a one true God. If accurate, then it means there is no soil god to satiate. There is nothing they can do to save their world, and all of King Echad’s sacrifices have been futile.
With a planned series of three books split into nine total parts, of which The Heir War is only the second, many aspects of the plot remain murky. Reading this book was like wandering through a labyrinth, not exactly sure what the end destination will look like, but not caring because what was happening right then gripped me tighter than an iron fist.
Surprises, mysteries, conspiracy, treachery, political positioning—talk about a juicy combination. As far as epic fantasy stories go, this is a prime steak.
Above all, I enjoyed the scope. It’s so big, so sprawling. I can’t get enough, not only because of the current events and the intrigue they hold, but also because of the hints of what awaits.
I. CANNOT. WAIT.
One thing that sets a book apart for me, especially if it’s fantasy, is the fact that it can build on the world presented in the previous book, broadening the reader’s scope, revealing a more distant horizon.
New places to explore, new cultures to experience.
As with the plot, I’m impressed (insanely jealous according to my writer alter-ego) with the sheer scope. Five realms, each as distinct as a room in a house. I felt like a professional explorer discovering new lands as I followed the characters on their journeys, and that feeling is one I can never get enough of.
A particular strong point is the magic used. There are several types, each distinctive in its own way, and with nothing that makes me think, “I’ve already seen this done before.”
Bravo and gold stars.
I’ve raved before about the effortless way characters come alive in one of Jill’s stories—and I’ll do it again. The cast is unique, varied, well-rounded. Though coming from myriad backgrounds, with different perspectives, motives, and beliefs, they each stand out in a way that causes me to connect with them.
They feel as real as people I’ve actually met. If I didn’t know better, I would never guess they were merely constructs of a single mind.
With his spunk, ambition, and willingness to go against tradition, Trevn has become a favorite. I’d love to take him out to coffee sometime. He’s quite the intelligent, mischievous rogue.
I thought the first part, Darkness Reigns, was great. The Heir War was better. As with Darkness Reigns, darkness is present in obvious ways. Corruption, immorality, greed.
However, it’s handled with tact. I appreciate the story for the willingness to face tough questions and address touchy subjects, but in a careful way. We venture under the rock where the nasty things hide in the dark to show the world for what it is, and more importantly, to make the shafts of light stand out more sharply.
Couple that with a compelling plot, an absorbing setting, and a magnetic group of characters, and The Heir War is hands-down a winner. 😀
It earns a well-deserved spot on Shelf Excellent.
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If you’ve already read The Heir War, what did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts.