Mark Lawrence's Reviews > Kings of the Wyld

Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames
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I liked this a lot, and I can see why it has done so well. Eames is an excellent writer and funny with it too. I very rarely laugh out loud at books, but I did once with this one. Right near the end there was this (that is much funnier in context):

What’s that, honey? What was I doing while Uncle Gabe was duelling a god with all of civilization at stake? Why, I was wrestling in the muck with an exceptionally tenacious cow.

& it also sets up something that reminded me of a certain horse kick...

The conceit of the book is to model monster-fighting mercenary bands as rock bands, with the same fan following, flamboyant style etc, even stretching it to being booked for gigs by agents.

There is a very D&D flavour to the setting both in the range of monsters (sampling heavily from the Monster Manual ... though perhaps copyright dictates that is done only where there is some prior mention in old tales). Magic is highly prevalent, more generally through the medium of enchanted items than through spells. There’s an abundance of magic swords, enchanted armour, and “miscellaneous”, for example a horn that spews an insect swarm and a hat that serves up an endless array of food. A lot of it isn’t exactly original, but the combined effect feels fresh and entertaining.

The vibe is distinctly Pratchett-esque though with a darker edge. It starts with the frontman of what was once the world’s most famous band, Saga, attempting to reunite the gang, something that put me in mind of Simon Pegg in the fine 2013 film, The World’s End. His daughter is in some serious shit and needs rescuing.

The only issue I have with the book, and it’s very definitely one of personal taste, is that I had a hard time engaging emotionally with the story, and that’s important for me. It’s very hard to move successfully from humour to something that matters emotionally and back again in the space of a few pages. And the weirder and more wild the world the more distance the text has to bridge in order to make things feel “real” so that the reader cares. Additionally the abundance of magic makes it unclear how important any given thing is. Is that leg going to grow back or will our hero be on crutches to the end of his days? Is that slow poison +really+ fatal or will the next treasure chest reveal a potion of neutralize poison? It all factors into the caring issue if you don’t know what’s at stake.

The last few chapters build to a very exciting finale with a massive sprawling battle. Eames’ fight scenes are excellently executed and endlessly imaginative. You should give the book a try, and not only so you get the owlbear jokes. It’s a hoot.


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Reading Progress

October 14, 2018 – Started Reading
October 14, 2018 – Shelved
November 23, 2018 –
page 150
29.88% "All this time I've been reading the baddie as the Duke of England... doh."
December 11, 2018 –
page 150
29.88% "I've lost the book :o

It must be somewhere!"
January 2, 2019 –
page 341
67.93% ""The daeva reigned herself in"

despite my profession it's rare for me to spot typos in books."
January 8, 2019 –
page 474
94.42% "Books rarely make me laugh out loud, but on pg474 this one managed to.

"What’s that, honey? What was I doing while Uncle Gabe was duelling a god with all of civilization at stake? Why, I was wrestling in the muck with an exceptionally tenacious cow."

Funnier in context."
January 8, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-10 of 10 (10 new)

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Abdul Malik This book was fantastic!!! Can't wait for your review Mark.


Alex I have a feeling you will really like this one, and will LOVE Bloody Rose.


Taylor Dodge Are you going to read Bloody Rose?


Holly (The Grimdragon) If you are looking for emotional impact, Bloody Rose is incredible!


Adam Wheeler Bloody Rose has a lot more emotional impact but is not as humorous as KotW. I think this is part of why it has gotten mixed reviews. I lived BR even more and it sounds like you might too.


Stefano G. Great Review Mark!


Alex You will love Bloody Rose, so much heart in that one!


message 8: by Clay (new)

Clay Sanger I had a similar reaction - thoroughly enjoyed the book, had a hard time connecting emotionally with it. The notable exception for me came along with the line: "Hit it like you hate it" as that memory became relevant near the end. I wanted more of THAT book. Cheers.


Alex Yeah I have to agree with both Mark and Clay. For me book#1 was about the world building, and the style of writing than super complex character arcs,

I think that is the reason why Bloody Rose is so well received, because everything that was missing from book#1 is in book#2, it's like seeing a real-world author level up during the writing of the series.


message 10: by Yuri (new) - rated it 4 stars

Yuri I felt the same way about not being able to engage emotionally.
Eames really did improve upon that issue with Bloody Rose, everything is just better.


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