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The Heron Kings

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3.75  ·  Rating details ·  56 ratings  ·  32 reviews
After a warlord slaughters her patients, Sister Alessia quits the cloister and strikes out on her own to heal the victims of a brutal dynastic conflict. Her roaming forest camp unwittingly becomes the center of a vengeful peasant insurgency, raiding the forces of both sides to survive. Alessia struggles to temper their fury as well as tend wounds, consenting to ever greate ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 23rd 2020 by Flame Tree Press
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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  56 ratings  ·  32 reviews


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Edward
Feb 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, reviews
Check out my review for The Heron Kings on Grimdark Magazine at: Grimdark Magazine

I was sent an ARC of The Heron Kings from Flame Tree Press for an honest review. Thank you for the opportunity to review this book.

The Heron Kings is a character-driven story about the horrors of war. Dark, brutal and bloody, Lewis is not afraid to pack a punch (or kick, or stab, or anything else violent).

‘Give my regards to the king.’

Two nations at war and a whole lot of innocent people caught in the middle, this
...more
Vigasia
Jan 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book surprised im in a very good way. It was just my kind of a story. It shows us the world at war, but our protagonists aren't nobles or soldiers, but peasants, who don't agree to take sides and decide to form their own army of rebels who take revenge for wrongs done to them.

There is no shortage of violence in the book. It probably will put off some people but I didn't mind. It was a world at war, and deeds done there were apt for that kind of situation.

What I liked the most were characte
...more
Tana 🌻 Cozyreadings
28/04/2020

received an arc from Netgalley and the publisher, in exchange for an honest review

TW: attempted rape, descriptions of violence and gore, death of a child

This book was brutal. Be aware of that when you start this!
This is a book about a brutal war, seen from the point of view from the ones stuck in the middle: the peasants and normal working class. It shows how brutal war can be, and it does not hold back.

Most of the characters aren't like-able, they are mean, they are selfish,
...more
Traveling Cloak
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
In The Heron Kings, Eric Lewis has brought a really interesting narrative to life. It is a story of war and revenge, vigilante justice and self-discovery. The characters are fascinating, and the world building is really good, as well, making for a well-balanced book.

The Heron Kings is character-driven, and what I love about the setup is that, while for much of the story many of the characters are traveling together seemingly working toward a single goal, each person is also on their own indivi ...more
Lel Budge
Apr 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alessia, a novice in the temple of Polytheon, treats all those injured in the War that is raging. But a Lord enters the temple and slaughters all those deemed on the other side. As a result Mother Tanusia decrees only those fighting o. The side of this Lord will be treated, leaving anyone else to die at the gates.

Alessia decides to leave and do her physic-ing without restriction. Travelling alone she eventually meets Ulnoth, whose family had been killed by soldiers and is hell bent on revenge.

Gr
...more
Andy Angel
May 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
As the story starts we meet a young healer nun, Alessia, who treats all injured the same whichever side they are on in the war. When a Lord comes to their place of healing and slaughters all those deemed to be on the 'other side' the Mother (who is the Head of the healer nuns) decides to take the side of the Lord and only treat those on his 'side'.

Alessia cannot accept this so she leaves to do what she feels is right and treat all. On her travels she meets a farmer, Ulnoth, who has lost his fami
...more
D.K. Hundt
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley

‘After a warlord slaughters her patients, Sister Alessia quits the cloister and strikes out on her own to heal the victims of a brutal dynastic conflict. Her roaming forest camp unwittingly becomes the center of a vengeful peasant insurgency, raiding the forces of both sides to survive.’

If you’re looking for epic fantasy action and adventure novel with strong female characters, then I highly recommend reading THE HERON KINGS.

Jessie Sedai of the Black Ajah🥀🐍
3.5 star rating.

This review is going to be like coming home after a long vacation - very difficult to unpack.

I have some conflicting thoughts and feelings about the Heron Kings. Objectively, it's a well-written adult fantasy depicting the uprising of a peasant rebel army against the violent oppression of two political monarchs at war. Alessia is an ex-temple priestess horrified by the brutality of war who seeks to put her medical prowess to proper use regardless of political allegiances. Ulnoth
...more
Lel Budge
Apr 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Alessia, a novice in the temple of Polytheon, treats all those injured in the War that is raging. But a Lord enters the temple and slaughters all those deemed on the other side. As a result Mother Tanusia decrees only those fighting o. The side of this Lord will be treated, leaving anyone else to die at the gates.

Alessia decides to leave and do her physic-ing without restriction. Travelling alone she eventually meets Ulnoth, whose family had been killed by soldiers and is hell bent on revenge.

Gr
...more
Alyshia
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Warnings: attempted rape, implied rape, violence, gore, language

Rating 4.5 stars: Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the free arc in return for an honest review

The Heron Kings is definitely a different type of book. It takes place during a war between the red and green. It’s bleak and vicious. There is no mercy nor is there any glossing over events. I really appreciated that. So many books seem to make things less than. Less fighting. Less swearing. Less pillaging. Less whatever. The H
...more
Rowena Andrews
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
*I received an e-arc in exchange for an honest review*

The Heron Kings is a brutal book. It does not shy away from the horrors of war, especially for those caught in the middle. That said, it will not be for everyone. There is a lot of violence and gore, with attempted rape, death of a child and one particularly horrific scene involving a Pregnant woman that may discourage some readers. At times, it feels a little too extreme, even when considering that within the context of a war that has been r
...more
RRK
May 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewnetg
The Heron Kings is a story of a bunch of underdogs who refuse to bend to the circumstances forced upon them by the greedy and tyrannical nobility. Alessia, a surprisingly foul-mouthed nun is caught up in the war between two wannabe rulers.

Caught between her need to heal people and to not get involved with either side, she unwittingly gives hope to a bunch of peasants and common people to fight against the nobles that oppress them. She becomes the leader of a covert insurgent group named The Her
...more
Fabienne Schwizer
If you are looking for a fun romp through gritty fantasyland, The Heron Kings might just be what you need. Featuring a ragtag team bumbling through a land at war, trying to survive between enemy factions while healing, plundering and tricking their way to survival and accidentally landing themselves in deeper waters than they expected, this really does remind me of the dynamic of a D&D campaign where the DM has lost control and the players have taken over. While entertaining, it does make it a b ...more
Eryn Bradshaw

War stories are often told from the perspective of those fighting the war, whether it be the soldiers or leaders. The Heron Kings, however, take the perspective of the common folk trying to get by, not taking either side in the war. Alessia, a young healer, meets Ulnoth, a farmer, and together they start a group called the Heron Kings. They take in the sick, injured, and displaced people. Together, they uncover a conspiracy plot and take matters into their own hands and attempt to end the war.

Th

...more
Hannah Bennett
May 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Heron Kings is a fantasy story set in a world ravaged by the violence of war, and it’s told from an unlikely protagonist – a former nun who was previously devoted to caring for the battle-wounded soldiers from both sides of the war. If you like war-time fiction and epic fantasies, then I think you’ll love this book.

While The Heron Kings tells a story that feels familiar– with bloodshed and battle camps in a fantasy world– it approaches these themes in a wholly unique way. It has themes I lov
...more
Kaffeeklatsch and Books
This is a grim-dark story in a war-torn country where the common rabble is the biggest loser. They find themselves between a hammer and an anvil, Queen Engwara and King Pharamund.
We follow Alessia, a novice healer nun, and Ulnoth, a man who's lost everything, gather the broken and leftover war victims to start their own rebellion. Their goal is to end this war.

I really enjoyed reading this story, although there are some gruesome scenes in there.
Content warning for attempted rape, torture, mutil
...more
Jenna Jeffries
May 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
At first I wasn't sure how to rate this. It's well written but really dark and violent, especially in a few places. But I decided it made sense given the harsh world the characters live in- the only way a bunch of regular peasants could become killers was if they were driven to the edge with no other choice. I really enjoyed this one, it was super fast paced with realistically written characters and dialogue. The main characters are a nun/nurse, a farmer and a soldier who all leave their regular ...more
Henry Lazarus
May 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Eric Lewis borrows the horrors of the 30-year war on a peninsula where two potential kings are fighting to rule. Peasants are either in the way and killed, or made an object and crucified. There’s a small group called The Heron Kings (hard from Flame Tree Press) who get good at stealing from both armies to survive. Then they capture a messenger with proof that both sides in this war are being manipulated. The fun is in getting the message to the Queen of one side and the King of the other. The f ...more
TheDigressiveApproach
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All of the views expressed in this review are my own.
---
I was very excited to read this as the blurb led me to believe I was in for a nonstop action packed novel.

Although it started out well, unfortunately the plot veered into so many directions that it was difficult to keep track of them all. The characters were also not very developed and I found it hard to relate to or empathize with the
...more
 Reading Reindeer 2021 On Proxima Centauri
The strong and willful heroine of this epic heroic fantasy, Alessia, reminds me of two strong women in Michael Swanwick's IN THE DRIFT, which I had just read. All three are leaders by nature as well as design, healers, women to whom followers naturally gravitate, women who risk their lives for their righteous causes. It's refreshing to me to discover women characters in such roles in fantasy, science fiction, and apocalyptic speculative fiction. ...more
Maurynne  Maxwell
Aug 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writers-to-watch
I think Lewis has pulled off an existentialist classic in this gritty exploration of what a “Robin Hood” life would really be like. The reality of extended conflict and the futility of the “nobility” are the central theme of this novel where the dispossessed gather in an attempt to salvage one another in the midst of a war that seems it will never end.
It’s dark but not hopeless. Highly recommended.
Jennifer Shepard
Sep 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I purchased this book because of the amazing reviews on Amazon and oh boy, they were all right. Such a good book with great characters that keeps you obsessed with every page since the first one. I couldn't put this down until I ended. Alessia, the main character is one of the stronger female I´ve ever read in this kind of books. I loved her! this is a Epic fantasy and if you like this gender this is definitely a must read! ...more
Belinda Richee
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WOW!

This is an amazing novel! The storyline was awesome! Fast paced with lots of action and adventure, picture an updated "Robin Hood" type story for adults. Only better. And by that I only mean bandits hiding in the woods and stealing from others. But the characters are great, both the good and bad. It was just a great book. Fast paced and keeps you hooked from PG 1 til the end. Its even worth a sequel.
...more
S. Naomi Scott
DISCLAIMER: I received an advanced reading copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest and unbiased review. My thanks to Flame Tree Press and NetGalley for giving me this opportunity.

An excellent read. Full review to follow shortly.
Helen Simpson
Apr 28, 2020 rated it liked it
This book had so much potential but i felt at times it was very difficult to read. Some subjects are gruesome and graphic. At times i felt the dialogue throughout the book was excessive at times.
Jade  @theelderbooks
Mar 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you liked The Lord of the Rings, I feel like there is a chance you might like The Heron Kings.

I really enjoyed reading this adventure book. It all starts with Alessia, a temple priestess tired of the ongoing war, who decides to take her life into her own hands and go out in the world to do more. After she meets Ulnoth, who's lost everything to the war, she starts healing people and assembling people around her. When they stumble upon a proof of conspiracy, they start getting involved in the w
...more
Britta
Jan 13, 2020 rated it liked it
** I received an Advanced Reader Copy of The Heron Kings via netgalley.com and Flame Tree Press in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated in any way.**

So, I wanted to love The Heron Kings, let's get that out of the way from the get go.

The world Lewis has created is fascinating, from the dueling crowns at the top to the day-to-day struggles of the little guy at the bottom. It is easy to believe in Bergovny and Argovan, thanks to Lewis’ deep dive into the history of the struggle bet
...more
Jenn
Mar 04, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The Heron Kings by Eric Lewis – Review
Heron Kings starts out with potential in the first chapter, but ultimately went downhill from there. Our main character is Alessia, a sister at a convent temple in a land torn in half by war. There are two main factions, but their grip on their land is unsure, and towns fluctuate from one sides grip to the other, leaving the people unsure who to support (or purport to support) for safety. To make things worse, readers find out the conflict between the Argov
...more
Candice Ryan
A young healer sets off on a quest to heal those injured in the war. She teams up with other rebels who have no cares about who wins the war, but just want it to stop., to help end the war before there is no one left to rule over.

I liked the story well enough. I had a hard time connecting with any characters due to a lack of any romantic relationships. As far as action and intrigue goes.... this book had all of that.
Laura L
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, rich characters and an intense timeline, excellent world building.
I am super excited for sequels to this book!
I am very grateful to netgalley for giving me an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion
#netgalley #theheronkings
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