Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A battle of the bands! A total rock out with their cocks out. Well, swords, anyway.
I wasn't at all sure what I was going to make of this. I mean, epic fantasy is all great, but I was worried that it was just going to be another cookie-cutter, however well-written.
In fact, it reads like a novel of aging rockers getting their lives out of the gutter to go on one last tour, not only recapturing the time that they were once the best of the best, but going out in a real blaze... just as long as they hash out all their failings and pick up the pieces one last time as well. :)
The novel is super fun on both sides of this mashup. It's a glory filled echo of all our most favorite old school rocker bands, their ignominy, their weaknesses, their absolute perfection. It's not only a road trip, but it's also one of the tightest character-driven novels I've seen in a long time.
The other side is pure mercenary fantasy gold. I think just about every fantasy trope is treated as an old hat here, our world-weary tattooed rockers having already seen it all, done it all. Being fat and old and having lost a few magical weapons along the way is just the start of the tale, however, and getting their heart back is just as fun as the side quests.
But damn. What A Ride. The whole novel is funny and tight and a pure delight from start to finish. Don't let the light tone fool you, either. All these characters feel real. And the blowout at the end? Holy crap! I haven't had quite this much fun with a new fantasy since... well, it feels like forever! (Not true, but I do go through a barbarian hoard of books.) :)
I totally recommend this for... everyone who loves old school rock and anyone who loves bloody fantasy. :)
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