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The King of the Crags Paperback – 15 Apr 2010

4.1 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Paperback, 15 Apr 2010
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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (15 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575083786
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575083783
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.7 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,317,241 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

With excellent and realistic characters, the plot races along with more action and intrigue then you can shake a stick at (British Fantasy Society)

Book Description

The empire is falling, the dragons are on the rise - a superb new fantasy series for all fans of George R.R. Martin.

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4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The dragon realms are moving towards war. Speaker Shezira has been deposed and is held prisoner in the Adamantine Palace, whilst her daughters summon their armies and dragons to free her. A religious fanatic is intent on seizing control of the rebel dragon army known as the Red Riders and unleashing fire and blood on those who do not accept the word of the Flames. And, amidst the towering peaks of the Worldspine, a dragon has freed itself from bondage and plots to free all of dragonkind from humanity's yoke once and for all.

The King of the Crags is the follow-up to last year's Adamantine Palace. In my review of the first book, I cited the author's furious pace as being a major plus, but it might have come at the expense of the more detailed worldbuilding required to make an epic fantasy novel really shine (although there are plenty of other fantasy books where such worldbuilding takes over and bogs down the narrative, so it's a difficult balancing act). Also, with 70 chapters in 350 pages, the pace was a little too fast and furious at times.

The sequel is a stronger work. 50 chapters in 370 pages means events are given more weight, characters have more time to develop and the world is able to come through a lot more. The addition of a map helps the reader place the various locations and work out the significance of one realm's power and allegiances over another, whilst characters are more fully fleshed-out and developed. Deas even has time for some metatextual commentary on how dragons are treated in other fantasy novels (the line about the docile dragons being ponies with wings was quite amusing, and a common criticism of other fantasy novels), which works better when we get to see the wild dragons, who are considerably more alien in thought and deed, in action.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The second book of a trilogy is always intriguing. Will there be a change of tempo or a new direction, or will it simply carry on from the first book? In this case, the answer is - both. The prologue overlaps directly with the last section of book one, and is perhaps the second best opening I've ever encountered after 'Tigana', although - obviously - for very different reasons. It's funny and tragic at once, it summarises some of the story so far while also capturing the essence of the characters involved. I won't spoil the surprise by saying any more, but it is brilliantly funny, in a macabre sort of way.

And then it's straight into new characters, new directions, a new religion even, and the fallout from book one, and - hmm, suddenly it's all a bit dull. Whenever the dragons are around, it's terrific, but I'm just not that into the humans. Trouble is, they're either very mad or very shallow, and all of them are slightly flat, and when it's just the same old deviousness as in book one, it feels a bit repetitious.

The fast pace of the first book is much more uneven here, so that there are moments of breathtaking action interspersed with long passages of quite dull description ('To the north, he could see... And to the east...'). Yawn. Especially when a lot of it seemed to contradict the map (and I don't think I had the map upside down). And quite a lot of the backstory came out by means of one character explaining it at length to another, or, worse, soliloquising (or, as often seemed to happen, talking to himself in a dream - lots of dreams in this series). It's not that it was uninteresting, in fact some of it was fascinating (the bits about dragons - the family history was just laundry lists of names), but it did slow the action down.
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Format: Paperback
Having loved Stephen's original novel, I just had to rip the packaging off this one to get to the meat of the tale as soon as it landed. What I got was an even bigger tale of politics, double-dealing, murder and mayhem than was present in his first tale and was pretty much glutted by the final page.

Beautifully written, excellently plotted and above all a descriptiveness for the world that is almost photographic. Bind that with a passion for the scope of the tale and you really will not go far wrong. As a now firmly established fan of the series, I really cannot wait to see where it goes. If you like political manipulation, cracking combat and a massacres worth of blood with solid storytelling then few do it like Deas. A real pleasure.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Unlike many fantasy trilogies, this one holds its narrative tension right to the end. Well paced, with several well drawn characters, who develop through the story. Notably, these include Jehal and Kemir, whose journeys are interwoven in the larger plot from different ends of the social scale. Recommended!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
May contain spoilers for those who have not read the first book.

Well, what a great read this one was! I thought The Adamantine Palace an excellent first novel but found the list of family trees indispensable as there were SO MANY CHARACTERS thrown at me at once. Unlike many others, I felt no real need for a map but I do like the `Mappa Mundi' touch with East at the top - wonderfully confusing.

It's quite rare for me to enjoy a sequel more than the first in a series but perhaps it was because I now have the main characters fixed in my ageing brain. The pace slows a little but there is still plenty of action; we have more time for conjecture and learn a few secrets. Prince Jehal has matured a great deal and we get to spend so much time right in his head that I have really warmed to him now. He was already my favourite in the first book [a lovely `Alan Rickman' type of villain] so I was pleased to see him again in KOC. I felt Jaslyn could have played a more prominent part. OK, she was understandably grief stricken on losing her favourite dragon but she spends too much of the book in the background. However, she's certainly improving her knowledge of dragon history so perhaps she's saving herself for Book 3. Zafir continues to be Zafir in this book. I dislike her and am probably meant too but, at the same time, it's always intriguing to try and work out exactly what she's up to. We're not let in on her thoughts so it's sometimes difficult to see the method in her madness. She's obviously thoroughly enjoying herself manipulating and inflicting a great deal of unnecessary suffering on others like a female Vlad the Impaler.
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