This book carries straight on from part 1 of the Artesans of Albia series, King's Envoy and as such you need to read King's Envoy first to really appreciate what is going on.
We start with the companions in a mad chase away from the dungeons where Major Sullyan has been held captive and during the healing process the Major needs it is found that she will be unable to cross the veils and return to her home realm of Albia.
She makes the decision to offer her help to The Heirarch, the ruler of the realm of Andaryon, in his battle against Lord Rykan, the man who held Sullyan captive. The biggest problem is that women in Andaryan are very much looked down on and the men hold all the power. If Sullyan is to be accepted she has a lot to prove and due to her injuries sustained at the hands of Rykan she may not even survive to the final battle.
Once again, with this second book, Cas Peace shows herself to be a wonderfully gifted storyteller. Her descriptive skills allow you to live the book, not just read it and her battle tactics are as well written as it gets.
But it is with the characters that Ms. Peace really excels. As before Major Sullyan is one of the best and most believable female leads in fantasy fiction but all the characters are really well drawn. Lord Rykan is possibly one of the nastiest, most evil and hateful 'bad guys' yet and his general, Sonten is just plain despicable.
This is a book/series you can get lost in for hours, if not days but be warned, this is an author with the ability to tear at the heartstrings and leave you drained of emotion. This book will move you like possibly no other of its kind.
Having voraciously chewed through Peace's first book, King's Envoy: Artesans of Albia, I realised with horror as I reached its conclusion I had made a horrible horrible mistake. I had binge-read, and I was left with the nauseating hangover of realisation that there was no book left, and plenty of story waiting to be told.
Like a true bibliophile I immediately bought King's Champion, Peace's second installment in the Artesans of Albia. Lesson learned, this time, instead of ploughing through the book like a bottle of firewater, I lingered over its strength and depth, like a fine fellan*.
I have already stated in my review of King's Envoy that Peace was crafting a fine world of depth and strength and she has continued to weave her magic in to her second novel. I am starting to love Sully as much as the characters around her, and on her shoulders rests a fantasy work worthy of the highest Artesan ranks. Her characters continue to have depth to inspire the loathing and loving required to keep you turning the pages. I sat up until 3am this morning and realised sadly that I would have to sleep lest I stayed awake all night - Peace's prose pulls you along at a pace that wants you to keep turning the page. No scene is wasted, there is no action without cause. Her dialogue is raw and realistic like the characters she crafts, and she neatly avoids yawn-inducing soliloquy and yet still manages to imbue heart and soul at the depth of her story.
At times surprising, at times predictable based on the natures of the characters, King's Champion is a book I have thoroughly enjoyed and I await its successor with barely restrained patience :)
* if you don't get the references then you'll have to read the book to find out ;)
I have just finished this superb second book in the Artesans of Albia series, and I was totally absorbed throughout by everything Major Sullyan had to go through. Through it all she showed immense strength of character and a strong sense of duty, engendering love and respect in all those around her. Occasionally you saw her vulnerable side, making her come to life on the page, and whisking you away on an emotional rollercoaster. Because she took the forefront in this second novel I think I almost preferred it to the first - I do love a strong and characterful leading lady! As with the first book, the characters and the realms they inhabited were totally believable, and the magic woven into the story with such skill that you could imagine it inhabiting your own everyday life. A wonderful book, and with the unexpected twist at the end, I wait with bated breath for the next installment.
What an emotional rollercoaster, with one of the hardest hitting opening sequences for an installment in a series, I have ever read. That's something usually reserved for the climax not for the second book in a long running series. If this is what it's like two books in, I can only imagine what the rest of the series has in store. Cas Peace has continued the series carrying on from King's Envoy in stunning fashion, building and developing a world, a plot, and most importantly characters that pack an incredibly strong emotional punch. A storyteller who knows what she wants to tell and how to go about it, this is a series has me hooked and will carry on so for the remaining seven books, and I looked forward to the next instalment with great anticipation. I have deliberately avoided giving any plot points away, just my general feelings reading King's Champion and the series overall.
Having read the first book, King's Envoy, I couldn't wait to get the second one.King's Champion certainly didn't disappoint and I look forward to the next book. The story follows on from the first book in the days when swords were the choice of weapon and kingdoms were ruled by the good and wise. Cas Peace has managed to introduce a whole magical touch to the enchantment and with players with mystical powers it is no wonder that an evil villain trys to conquer the lands. The main characters are incredibly believable and you find yourself wrapped in another world often with bated breath awaiting the outcome of the next unexpected turn. Well written and very exciting, these books would make a fantastic movie !
After devouring King's Envoy and ploughing into this one, I wasn't disappointed.
Cas Peace has a talent for keeping a reader hooked to the last death-defying minute.
Poor Sullyan was in such deep trouble at the beginning of the book and I had to wait till the end before I discovered how much this wonderful strong, brave, woman could handle!
And this is where I discovered that she is still in deep trouble!
And this is where I made my first mistake. I should have strung it out until I could get the next in the series, King's Artesan, because now I'm in suspense, wondering how she's going to get herself out of trouble.
Wow! I found this utterly gripping from start to finish. Warning, this is NOT a light read, but I am sure fantasy fans will 'enjoy' it hugely. The author must have a military background, or have done a wealth of research, as the fighting and battle planning carry such a feel of 'real' with them. I quickly felt an attachment to the characters, which made it a very tense read, for sure. When I have 'recovered' I intend to read the third in the series: The King's Artesan. And am looking forward to it very much - I think ;)
and then read the second book straight off - how could anyone pace themselves! the worlds and lead characters grow more familiar, the magic more detailed and the plot thickens! I think you could be any age to read this series and find adventure and humour and romance to suit - Cas gets the anticipation and suspense pretty well spot on in this second book and you find yourself willing Sullyan and co onwards - to what next????
Having read & enjoyed Cas Peace's first book of the trilogy Artesans of Albia, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the second one Kings Champion. It was even better than the first book, & it transported me into this new world with a host of new & amazing characters. Fabulous read. Roll on book three !!!!King's Champion; Artesans of Albia, Book 2