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King of Shards

(Worldmender Trilogy #1)

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  98 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Across the ineffable expanse of the Great Deep float billions of shattered universes: the Shards. Populated with vengeful demons and tormented humans, the Shards need Earth to survive just as plants need water. Earth itself is kept alive by 36 righteous people, 36 hidden saints known as the Lamed Vav. Kill but a few of the Lamed Vav and the Earth will shatter, and all the ...more
Paperback, 374 pages
Published October 13th 2015 by Arche Press
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3.46  · 
Rating details
 ·  98 ratings  ·  27 reviews

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Wow, I was loving this and thought I was going to buy it, and really wanted to know how it would end. But then it started to congeal into male fantasy. Worlds where everything is believable except actual women; heterosexual women become lesbians suddenly without the minor inconvenience of actually being lesbians. Honestly I stopped reading when the girl found her parents, alive, but entirely skinned , hanging upside down. That's just too fucked up for me to want to read further.
Oct 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
I very much enjoyed King of Shards and look forward to reading the second book upon its release.

I picked up the book on a whim after it was recommended on NPR. Having no knowledge of Jewish mythology I was a little confused at first, but the novel gave me enough information to understand the novel.

There was some language in the book and one sex scene that was not graphic enough to be arousing-- but not a camera just pans away either.

I was very interested in the story and it was complex enough t
Galleywampus -
Dec 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
As others have noted, this book delves deeply into Jewish mythology and lore. I enjoyed the saint and demon back-and-forth, with the book's demon being one of the most intriguing characters.

Some of the concepts are really inspired. I like the multi-world approach here. The complications between different demonic beings are satisfying.

I hope to get my thoughts down in more detail soon. I liked this book overall, but a few things held me back from reaching the "love" range.
Oct 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received this book in a giveaway, and I am not disappointed. The first chapter felt a little disjointed at first, but after the fifth chapter I was hooked. The story is based on mythos that I am not familiar with so reading it was interesting and intriguing. The story moved along at a good pace. I would recommend this book to people who love an adventurous fantasy story.
Devin Poore
Sep 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
My first experience with fantasy based on Judaism. Creative settings and world building, great characters, and intricate plot. A most unique take on the fantasy/sci-fi genres.
George Nap
Oct 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very involving book, well-paced, excellent character development and rich cosmology.
Rajan Khanna
Oct 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A unique and compelling take on the fantasy genre drawing on Jewish mythology for its foundation. An epic tale of fascinating characters that spans worlds.
Josh Redlich
Feb 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
OVERVIEW: Across the ineffable expanse of the Great Deep float billions of shattered universes: the Shards. Populated with vengeful demons and tormented humans, the Shards need Earth to survive just as plants need water. Earth itself is kept alive by 36 righteous people, 36 hidden saints known as the Lamed Vav. Kill but a few of the Lamed Vav and the Earth will shatter, and all the Shards that rely upon it will die in a horrible cataclysm.

When Daniel Fisher is abducted on his wedding day by the
Oct 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
King of Shards is an interesting book. The book itself doesn't really feel as if it presents unique original ideas. But the world itself feels alive in a way that very few books do. Kressel captures an image of a universe that is much like our world, mysterious in many ways, of imperfect design and full of people with questionable morality. Yet the people themselves aren't entirely bad. They just have a flawed opinion of the world and believe what they are doing is right. Each and every characte ...more
If I could, I'd give this a 2.5. Because of this, I'm going to refrain from rating it, because there's a big difference between a 2 and a 3. I'm happy that someone is writing fantasy based on Jewish mythology, and I support the existence of this book and more like it, but, in the end, I didn't enjoy most of this one. I think the biggest issue that I had with this book is in the protagonist. Daniel is supposed to be one of the Lamed Vav, one of the 36 righteous people that hold up the world. In m ...more
May 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is the first book of the "Worldmender" Trilogy. Really unusual fantasy/sci-fi, based on Jewish mysticism and mythology. Full of demons and bizarre creatures, fractured worlds with unearthly landforms, curses, spells, and dual-natured deities. Parts of it reminded me of Tanith Lee's "Flat Earth" books, because of the artfully exotic nature of the descriptions, the way the prose reads at times like a fairy tale. Some of the "set pieces" for the scenes were eye-popping and memorable, something ...more
Lore Graham
Nov 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
King of Shards is set in a fabulous, rich cosmos and features strong, flawed characters. The world Kressel builds (and I use that in the broad sense, because it goes far beyond Earth) is unlike any other I've come across. Usually I'm not a fan of stories with a "chosen one," but Kressel's particular spin on the trope works beautifully here. I eagerly await the sequel!
Dec 26, 2016 rated it liked it
I had a feeling that this one would be entertaining. As a speculative fiction fan, I was looking forward to a fantasy world that takes its cues from Jewish mysticism. I'm sure that I'm ignorant enough about much of the Kabbalah that I missed some inside references, but I got enough to hold on and connect it to its Jewish themes. Kressel did a good job, in my estimation, of making these concepts accessible to any fantasy fan who has to learn the rules of a new world.

This is an action-adventure st
Chris Branch
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
While the setting is interesting and the premise innovative, I didn't enjoy this book as much as I'd hoped to. The supernatural elements are creative, but leaned too often and too far toward the horrific for my taste. Perhaps by design for comparison with the upstanding Daniel, most of the other characters were unpleasant. Too much death and misery, and whenever the characters weren't killing or torturing, they were obnoxiously insulting each other.

The writing was often evocative, but at times
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: jewish, adult, fantasy
I'm not sorry I read this book, but I would never have finished it if I hadn't been interested in the Jewish myths and Kabalist visions that it's based on. I mostly listened to it, which is why it took me so long. It was so overwritten I would get sick of it and put it aside. But I found the idea of the Jewish fantasy so interesting, I kept going back to it. Finally I found an actual book (paper, pages, ink and everything) so I could finish it. The end was even more phantasmagorical and confusin ...more
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, judaica
Did not finish. Daniel is supposed to be one of the righteous souls who maintain the integrity of the universe, but he's whiny and passive. Matthew Kressel's writing style is solid, but this book just could not inspire me to keep reading. I gave up about 2/3 of the way through.
Seishun Omutsu
Nov 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
I couldn't finish this. It was boring. None of the characters could hold my interest.
Alex Jackl
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good fantasy

Interesting concept - mixes Jewish mythology with multidimensional fantasy. Interesting images, some cool concepts but it doesn't string together all that well. Classic problem of ancient wise people who should know better do I g stupid things. Nice imagery and some decent moments of writing despite a a coincidence driven narrative.
Feb 21, 2016 added it
Shelves: dnf
Failure to finish at page 127 (33%). I was excited at the prospect of a Judaically-inspired epic fantasy, and I'm pretty sure I've read stories by Kressel that I've enjoyed. Also, this small imprint has published a couple books that I've really liked. Unfortunately, this one isn't for me. (A pretty reliably litmus test, I think: if a character in a book refers to or thinks of another character as a fool, that book is probably not for me.) The protagonist comes across as quite the nebbish; maybe ...more
Jul 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Why is epic fantasy one of my favorite literary genres? I think it's because these stories truly transport me to new worlds where magic and mysticism make anything is possible. The challenge is finding unique worlds, especially when so many fantasies reflect a Medieval/Arthurian/Middle Earth influence. I've found such diversity in worlds based on Islamic theology, Romantic Era and even Freudian/Jungian psychology, ... and now, thanks to Book One of the Worldmender Trilogy, in Jewish mysticism.

Scott Wannan-Johnston
Apr 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library, fiction
A really really good fantasy tale. Does suffer a little bit from some tropes standard to fantasy, the chosen one has to travel back to his home with several companions who may or may not be evil. The characters are great, the writing flows like water and I desperately want to read the rest in the series.
Mar 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
I have always enjoyed epic fantasy, especially when it's done in a non-traditional way. This tale, with its roots based upon Jewish mysticism, certainly breaks the standard fantasy mold.

An excellent read and a page turner that I found hard to put down. I look forward to the next installment.
Jun 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Mills College Library
Fiction K9243k 2015
Dec 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
Not my cup of tea.
Jan 02, 2016 rated it did not like it
Couldn't finish this one. It just couldn't hold my interest and the main character wasn't all that interesting.
Oedipuss Wrecks
Apr 02, 2016 rated it liked it
I probably won't pick up the sequels. :-(
rated it really liked it
Nov 24, 2015
Jim Fraser
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Oct 30, 2015
rated it liked it
Mar 30, 2016
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The Short:

I’m a speculative fiction writer with three Nebula Award nominations, one World Fantasy Award nomination, and a Eugie Award nomination. I am the co-host of the Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series. And I created the Moksha submissions system. @mattkressel

The Long:

I’m a writer of speculative fiction, i.e., science fiction, fantasy, and horror. My fiction has been nominated three times
“Grug scowled. “You’re a sick people. You’re richer, healthier, and have more luxuries than trillions of beings across the Cosmos, and yet you find yourselves perennially unhappy. To salve this unhappiness, you acquire endless material possessions and numb your minds with tawdry entertainments. But in the end they only echo back to you how empty your existence is. The truth is, though you make appearances to the contrary, your sole purpose is tending and caring for yourselves.” 0 likes
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