“As individuals they were each of them fallible, discordant as notes without harmony. But as a band they were something more, something perfect in its own intangible way.”
Author: Nicholas Eames
Category: High Fantasy
Publication Date: February 21st, 2017
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Kings of the Wyld, in the simplest of terms, is a goofy wild ride where a fantasy world meets with many (and we mean many) rock band references. The tag line itself references AC/DC with it’s assertion that “The boys are back in town.”
In this world, a band is a group of mercenaries, sometimes heroes, that go on quest and kill monsters and save damsels in distress, but mostly to make money and for glory. Clay Cooper was apart of the greatest band of his generation, Saga. Now, many years later, the band has broken up and he lives a humble life guarding a city wall. With a wife and child, he lives the simple and happy life. Then his old friend and front man for Saga, Gabriel, comes to him with grim news that his daughter is in danger and he needs Clay’s help. What follows is a story with monsters, mercenaries, lazy kings, cannibals, and even a dragon.
This book blends well the current references with the fantasy world. There are so many tongue-in-cheek moments that for some might get annoying, but overall a lot of fun. The world is built very well with a interesting story about their myths.
Probably the only weak part of the book is the fact that there are a few plot points that felt like an easy out for the characters; plots that did not need to be there or were ended before they really generated any tension or real problem.
For exampe, throughout the first part of the book, the Heartwyld is built up as this dangerous and scary forest where most of the monsters hide. Everyone calls them crazy for going there and when they finally do, they fly over half of it in a convenient ship. They do deal with some nasty things as they go through but it was not the terror that it had been made it out to be.
The characters are all the classic stereotypes from classic fantasy. Clay, the quiet shield guy. Matrick, the rouge. Moog, the wizard. Gabriel, the cool swordsman. And Ganelon, the bad ass berserker who is nigh unstoppable. They all have fun and lovable characteristics that you really get rooting for these guys. The journey they have is not an easy one and the author does really good with making them likable.
If you are looking for a serious fantasy world, this one is not for you. While there are many adult jokes, and graphic fighting scenes, the goofy sense of humor adds a little bit lighter tone to this story. It doesn’t take itself seriously and it doesn’t need to. The world is goofy the characters and monsters are over the top many times. But in the end there is a story that no matter what age you are, fight for your friends no matter what.
I loved this adventure the full way through. From the goofball that is Moog, to the sad deaths of friends, I was invested. The monsters where very nasty, especially in the final battle. The author did not hold back on the gruesomeness from fighting and I loved it. Made it feel all the more real.
There are childish jokes about the male anatomy and I think the author tried for a new swear word about some gods body part every time someone swore. (Example: the Summer Mother’s Armpit) I don’t know if I said I enjoyed this book enough, besides plot lines that I wish had been done better. This is definitely a series I will be annoying Dani with for a while.
First note: I didn’t like the audiobook. This was one of the rare instances where the experience of listening to the audiobook versus reading a print/ebook copy was noticeably different. I read about the first 100 pages of the print copy and then switched to the audiobook so I could listen while I am at work. By that time, I had already created a sense in my own mind of the different voices of the characters and the voices as created by the audiobook reader was vastly different and actually altered the characterization of some of the characters, most notably the wizard Moog.
Moog was my favorite character while reading the print copy. When I was listening to the audio, I cringed every time he spoke and kinda wanted punch him the face. He was an oblivious kind of character and he was silly at times but the audio book voice acting turned him into a little bit of an obnoxious dumbass.
There were also a few times where I would read a few lines that I read as kind of sarcastic and humorous but then the audiobook said the same lines deadpan.
So yeah, no audiobook for this one.
Other than that, I do think that my expectations were off for this book and led to a little bit of initial disappointment.
I heard that this book was hilarious and made so many people laugh out loud. For some reason I translated this to The Lies of Locke Lamora kind of humor which is one of my favorites and is one that makes me laugh out loud even though I have read it probably 3 times now.
But the type of humor present in KotW was much different than that. It relied a little bit on vague pop culture references and some situational, ridiculous-style humor. This humor is actually really good and I did enjoy it but it not being what I expected kind of took away from my initial experience.
Since I have finished though and I have had time to think about it and what all it really does have to offer. It is absolutely an enjoyable, sometime humorous read even though I do think it has a handful of problems. This is definitely a story that doesn’t take itself too seriously and those can be some fantastic stories which this one was. Because of this, it is easy to overlook the few problems that it has because it kind of follows the tone of the book.