By Nicholas Eames
Kings of the Wyld is the first book I’ve read by Nicholas Eames. It follows Clay Cooper who has settled into a comfortable semi-retirement after his days touring the Heartwyld – a vast wilderness full of monsters, madmen, cannibals, and much worse. He is now a sentry on his town wall where he puts in the hours and goes home to his wife, daughter and dog. Clay is saving up what he can to build a tavern for travelers someday and his life is good. Good and boring – just the way he likes it. That all changes when Golden Gabe comes around looking to literally get the band back together.
See, Clay and Gabe were once members of a band called Saga and they were kind of a big deal back in the day. Together with Moog, the mage, and Gandolin, the ax-wielding marauder, they have razed armies of treants, battled a dragon, and are the only people in Grandual to ever have crossed the Heartwyld. A skill that is very important now because Gabe’s daughter is trapped in a castle by a merciless horde of monsters on the other side of that very same wilderness. 20 years ago they would have set out to save her without giving it a second thought. That was before they got old.
Bloody Rose takes place in Grandual years after the events of Eames’ first book. Bands no longer tour the Heartwyld. Instead they fight monsters in Romanesque arenas where it is undisputed that Fable are the very best. So much so that Rose, their leader, is willing to do anything to prove it. She is a rock star in the arena (charismatic, gorgeous, and beloved) as well as out (drug dependent, reckless, and constantly seeking fame). With her in the lead, Fable dances on the razor’s edge between suicide and heroism when a new horde begins its rampage.
Both of Eames’ books are page turners and I found them incredibly hard to put down. They follow the same plot archetype as most video games or other fantasy books except where he tries to touch on some more complicated topics like genocide, discrimination, or addiction. But nothing stops the ball once it has started rolling. Each character smashes through the page with pulse-pounding action, hilarious dialogue, and a smattering of clever (but not-to-subtle) pop culture references as they rampage through the spellbinding world of magic, monsters, and mercenaries called Grandual. There are few plot surprises as each book leads to the inevitable big showdown to prevent the end of the world as we know it. But that is fine! And while I did enjoy Kings of the Wyld slightly more, my only true complaint is that there are only two books. Something I truly hope Eames fixes as soon as possible.
Like it? Pin it!