Clay Cooper and his band were once the best of the best – the meanest, dirtiest, most feared and admired crew of mercenaries this side of the Heartwyld.
But their glory days are long past; the mercs have grown apart and grown old, fat, drunk – or a combination of the three. Then a former bandmate turns up at Clay’s door with a plea for help: his daughter Rose is trapped in a city besieged by an enemy horde one hundred thousand strong and hungry for blood. Rescuing Rose is the kind of impossible mission that only the very brave or the very stupid would sign up for.
It’s time to get the band back together for one last tour across the Wyld.
Okay, so I finished Kings of the Wyld a few days ago and the main reason I didn’t write my review right away was simply because I enjoyed it so much. I wanted to give the review the time it deserved so I could do this fantastic book justice.
First things first, I’m new to the realm of high fantasy. Prior to Kings of the Wyld, I hadn’t really delved into this genre so I really wasn’t sure what to expect. Would I find myself mentally adrift amid a flurry of names of creatures I had never heard of? Would it be tiresome spending 492 pages with a bunch of old guys?
No. The answer to those questions was a flat out no.
This morning, while scrolling through Twitter like it was the morning newspaper, I saw a great Ernest Hemingway quote: “When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people, not characters. A character is a caricature.” I thought this quote was apt because it’s exactly what Nicholas Eames has done. Each and every single one of the people populating the universe in which Kings of the Wyld is set – from Clay Cooper to Taino – is unique, having been so finely crafted that they’re not simply words on a page; they’re actual people that we grow to care about. As cliched as it might sound, the guys from Saga felt like old friends by the time I read the final page. We’d gone through so much together by then; I’d laughed with them (a lot. I adore Clay’s dry sense of humor. His observations of the world and the people around him are hilarious), I’d cried with them, I’d gotten angry for them, my heart had broke with theirs, I’d celebrated their victories…anything they felt or experienced, I had too.
There are so many other things that I loved about this book. One thing was the world building, which was second to none. Reading Kings of the Wyld has given me a new-found respect for fantasy writers. When writing high fantasy, you’re essentially building something from scratch. The land – its geography, the towns and cities scattered across the landscape, the climate etc – arises entirely from the imagination of the writer. The people living in this land – from their ideologies to their religious beliefs – again, are entirely a product of the writer’s imagination. Not only that, though, the land and its people need a history. They don’t just come into being on page one. What events happened prior to the book that meant it needed to be written? It’s an excellent question and one Nicholas Eames addresses perfectly. Through various characters, we, the readers, are presented with an extensive history that helps us to understand the events of the book and the motives of the characters. I guess, in a way, fantasy writers are like gods. They create a brand new world and populate it with a vast array of individuals, each as unique as a snowflake.
Rather randomly, one thing I did find incredibly helpful was the map at the beginning of the book. I very much enjoyed being able to track Saga’s journey through the Heartwyld. In many ways, it made me feel like I making the journey alongside them and being included in their journey in such a way enabled me to become fully immersed in their world. Escapism is but one of many reasons why I read so this was a bonus!
Two things before I finish this review; a question and a fun fact (yay for fun facts!)
Question: Can I adopt Moog? He is literally the most adorable being in existence!
Fun fact: I have my very own Golden Gabe. But he’s not golden. And he’s a guinea pig, but he is pretty badass like Saga’s Gabe. A lot of people ask me why I called my guinea pig Gabriel, but what can I say? It’s a cool name.
Rating: 5/5 (or a 10/5, but that’s not really a thing)
Song: Thin Lizzy’s The boys are back in town (I mean, it is the book’s tag line after all)
This book is available on Amazon in both e-reader and paperback format. Buy it. Now. I demand it.