Title: King’s Blood
Author: Jill Williamson
Date read: April 26, 2017
Rating: 2 stars
Genre: Fantasy (Christian)
Year pub: 2017 (Bethany House)
Pages: 601 (paperback)
Series: The Kinsman Chronicles, #2 (Book 1: King’s Folly. Book 3: King’s War, coming soon)
Fave character: *classified, for reasons which shall be revealed*
Source: Received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from author—many thanks! 🙂
Links: Goodreads • Amazon • Author Website • My review of book 1: King’s Folly
Regarding my rating: I’m sorry! I just don’t do well with dark, sad books. So for me personally, I did not end up enjoying this book in the end; but keep in mind that this is only my opinion!
This book was too dark, gritty, and depressing for me, plus my favorite character got killed off, which is Not Okay.
This book was generally well-written, suspenseful, and I enjoyed some parts of it, particularly the occasional humor and three characters who were my favorites and therefore classified.
But when one-third of the people you actually like in a book DIE (after spending 1000+ pages with this character), it’s not a pleasant prospect. -_- This book left me a furious, devastated, sobbing wreck at the end, which rarely happens; and unlike the majority of the reading population (it seems), this did not actually please me and make it an automatic 5-star read. I don’t actually like having my heart torn to shreds and left feeling desolate and without hope. What can I say? I’m weird like that.
The incident of the Not Okay character death wasn’t the only thing; overall, the book is a very heavy read. I know it’s supposed to be an Adult Fantasy book, so I suppose it can get away with grittiness and darkness and other, more mature content, but it was just a little much for me, personally. I’m not a teen anymore, but that doesn’t mean I like reading things like this. (I don’t recommend it to teen readers.) It’s much like King’s Folly in that way, though maybe a bit darker.
If you liked the first book and didn’t mind the darkness and more adult slant of the story, then you’ll probably like this one, so I will not stop you reading it. 🙂 Just be aware that it seemed (to me) like nothing good happens in this for any of the good guys, really; the bad guys triumph a lot, and the idea that Arman (the allegorical God) is in charge and loves them is kind of a laugh, given how awful everything is. It seems like nobody’s in charge except the author making everyone miserable. I’m sure it’ll get better in the last book, and this is just the mid-trilogy hour of darkness? But at the moment it seems like there’s basically no hope and it’s super depressing, honestly. At least, that’s how I see it. Again, just my personal opinion! In general, I think Christian fiction is supposed to lift you up and encourage you, but this one did exactly the opposite for me (even though others might think differently). It’s not just that it’s depressing (yes, there will be dark times for characters in any book) it’s that it’s so long to spend going through 600 pages of darkness like this.
It’s also possible that we’re supposed to feel this way at this point in the saga; perhaps this hopeless feeling is exactly what is intended, so that it can set up for a contrast with some wonderful turn of redemption and eucatastrophe in the final book. Maybe it has to be this dark to show the light that is coming. We shall see. 🙂 (But it’s going to have to be pretty big of a turn-around, is all I’m saying.)
Anyways, don’t let me stop you from reading this if you liked the first one! (Or if you’re interested in reading the first one.) Very likely the rest of the world will like it, and it’s just me, myself, personally, who couldn’t really enjoy it in the end. But this review is meant to be my personal, honest opinion, so there it is. By all means read the series if you wish. 🙂 Just be aware it’s dark, and start with the first book, not this one, because when I started this one, even I had trouble remembering all the characters and stuff going on at first (since it had been a year since I read book 1), though I picked up on things fairly quickly.
Things I Liked
Don’t get me wrong—there were definitely parts of this that I enjoyed!
- I liked the first book, and started out really excited for this book and enjoyed it a lot at first. 🙂
- I was so happy to be back reading about these characters, who I didn’t realized I’d missed until I was reading about them again.
- Sometimes it was funny and made me laugh. 🙂 (A lot of the dialog was great in that respect. :D)
- As mentioned, three certain characters were my absolute favorites, and I loved reading about them. ❤
- Most of it takes place on ships at sea, which was really interesting (if eventually a bit monotonous because they’re super tired of being stuck at sea. XD).
- The writing was good.
- I’m almost tempted to slap another star on my rating just for that gorgeous cover. I mean, look at it! I love it. 😀
- I was super proud of myself for reading all 600 pages of this thing. 😄 Nothing like that feeling of accomplishment when you make it through a huge book. 😉
- It was super neat to start getting more hints at things moving toward how they are in the Blood of Kings Trilogy. Names, things, places, people… Very cool! Some of those parts were highlights for me. 🙂
- Not to give spoilers, but overall, I really liked the stuff near the end there that made it a lot more like the Blood of King’s Trilogy—makes me want to read By Darkness Hid and the rest again! ❤
In closing, this is likely a very good book, by many readers’ standards, and I don’t want to dissuade anyone from reading it, exactly. If you like dark epic fantasy, it may be for you. This is simply my personal feelings on the book. 🙂 It was just too dark for me and ripped my heart out, which I did not appreciate.
I’m still curious to find out what happens, and I look forward to reading King’s War whenever it releases; and after that, re-reading the absolutely awesome Blood of Kings Trilogy. ^_^
(I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book. These opinions are my own.)
So how about you, readers? Have you read any of Jill’s books? (She’s an excellent writer, even if this one didn’t quite make it for me.) Has a beloved character’s death ever tipped the scale in your view of a book? And have you read any good books lately? Let’s chat in the comments! 🙂
(And if you’d like to chat specific spoiler-y aspects of this book, you can do so in the comments of my review on Goodreads, which is the same review as this, but in the comments spoiler tags rule. ;))