Monday, October 11, 2010

Blood of Kings Books 1 & 2 by Jill Williamson

Book 1: By Darkness Hid

Storyline: Achan Cham's name means trouble, and he seems to attract it in large quantities, from getting in fights to falling in love with a girl he'd never be allowed to marry. He's resigned to a life as a stray (orphan and slave), but Sir Gavin Lukos has other ideas. He picks Achan for his squire. After Sir Gavin deprives him of a tonic he's had every morning for his entire life, Achan begins hearing voices--lots of them, both male and female--in his head. Suddenly, everyone seems to take an interest in Achan's life.

Vrell Sparrow is in hiding from an undesirable marriage. She masquerades as a boy stray in the home of one of her mother's dearest friends. Their plans are turned upside-down when two Kingsguard knights show up, claiming Vrell as an apprentice for a master bloodvoicer. Vrell can only hope that her disguise will fool everyone, even the knight who is determined to pry her secret from her.

Book 2: To Darkness Fled

Storyline: In escaping from the false prince Esek, Achan, Vrell, and three Old Kingsguard knights are now in Darkness. They plan to go to Tsaftown to free many Old Kingsguard that have been imprisoned there. Before they can do that, there are enemies to face and fears to conquer in Darkness.

Achan worries about his duties now as the true prince of Er'Rets. The Kingsguard keep talking about how he will push back the Darkness with Arman's help--but how can he get Arman's help when he doesn't believe in him as the only true God?

Vrell worries about traveling in the company of so many men. How will she ever get home to her mother without revealing her secret?

My thoughts: Jill Williamson's world of Er'Rets is wonderfully crafted. The scenery and different cultures make it easy to get immersed in the storyworld.

The characters are also wonderfully crafted. Their thoughts and actions are thoroughly believable and the dynamics of the group in Book 2 are at times hilarious. I especially love how developed all the characters' backstories are, and how the author brought them out. Oh yes, and Sir Gavin's blunders in trying to deal with people made me laugh time and again.

A couple of things I didn't like: while realistic, one or two of the things that Vrell had to deal with while traveling as a boy were a little much. One of the Kingsguard knights is a drunkard and a womanizer. And, there are a lot of tragic love stories--realistic in a medieval fantasy setting, yes, but still, one or two many for my taste. :0)

However, the redemption and overall coolness of the books more than make up for the things I didn't like. Jill Williamson's books are definitely a worthwhile read.

1 responses:

Laura Elizabeth said...

I really liked those books :)(although, as you said, there were a few things that were unnecessary). I'm looking forward to the next one.


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