Book 1.1, The Kinsman Chronicles - Part 1
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Part 1 of Jill Williamson's Epic Fantasy Series The Kinsman Chronicles
The god of the soil is furious. Volcanic eruptions, sinkholes, earthquakes--everything points to his unhappiness. At least this is what the people of Armania in the Five Realms believe.
Amid the unsettling state of the world around them, the princes of Armania live their lives focused more on who will claim the throne after their sickly father, King Echad, dies. That is until Prince Wilek's concubine turns up dead--beside her, a bloodied message that seems to have come from the mother realms.
Darkness Reigns is collected together with parts 2 and 3 in King's Folly.
A Great Start to a Fantasy Epic
A note for those who have read Jill Williamson’s other titles:
This title, unlike her previous novels, is not a YA title. While the content is still basically clean overall, many of the POV characters are older and the themes are darker.
Williamson’s newest epic fantasy does not disappoint. The settings are descriptive, the plot clips along at a good pace, and the four individual Point-of-View character voices are racially and culturally diverse, unique, and interesting. Because of the large cast typical in an epic fantasy, it takes some time to sort out who’s who, especially when switching POVs, but the inclusion of a Key Players list at the front of the book was a helpful tool to refer back to when needed.
Darkness truly is reigning in the Five Realms at the start of this tale, and this first part of the larger story does a great job of setting the scene and transporting the reader into the middle of established societies that feel like they have existed for centuries. The four POV characters are well-developed, and even in a short space, I feel like we learn enough about them all to care about their stories and want to know how they will continue to weave together.
Downsides (minor, in my opinion): This being Part One of a three-part story means that it feels a little short considering the scope of the story, and it leaves the reader wanting the next part to start immediately (though I think that’s also a positive).
The darker side: the story also deals with human sacrifice practices in two different cultures, mysticism involving black spirits, and a culture involving polygamy and concubines, much like what we see in the Old Testament, so if those things bother you, just be aware that they are present. Sexual content is limited to a few kisses, one scene where a side character forces himself on a woman but is interrupted, and veiled innuendo/talk without depicting anything in detail.
*I received an advance copy of this book, but my opinions are wholly my own.
After following Jill's progress with Darkness Reigns, I was more than excited to read this book and even more overjoyed to have the privilege to be apart of the launch team. This review is overdue and I apologize for that. Darkness Reigns is a prequel to her debut and well-loved series, The Kingsman Chronicles and is the first part out of three in her book, King's Folly.
Pros: There is at least four perspectives in this small book. While I had difficulty following multiple perspectives back when I read By Darkness Hid, I think the author did a marvelous job with this one. Each perspective was intriguing and unlike other books with many voices, I could tell apart these perspectives. As usual, the world-building was exceptionally superb and despite the complicated story-word , I didn't have much difficulty understanding it. The plot kept my interest as well. Now I didn't like everything about the characters, I found myself enjoying them because of the unique aspects to their personalities.
Cons: Hmm... I know the concubine thing is historical and rulers living during that time did it. But it was hard for me to like the prince, even though all things considered, he dealt with it decently. I wish the book didn't have to go into that much detail. Though it was mild, it could have been better. Then, there was the symbolism. I wasn't quite sure who was supposed to represent the true God, but there was a part of the plot that strangely sounded similar to Christ's birth, but it was very odd. I suppose I have to read the next book to figure it out.
Overall, this book was a great Christian-fantasy novel, as all of Jill Williamson's books are. However, I do recommend to more of a mature audience, since this is supposed to be a pagan culture. I can't wait for the next book to be released! I thank Mrs. Williamson for letting read this book beforehand and appreciate her encouragement for teen writers like me.
Clean Fantasy Novel
This was an amazing story. The characters were extrememly interesting and real. If this book is any indication, the rest of the series is going to be epic!
Other Books in This Series
- Voices of Blood
- Deliverer Comes
- King's Folly
- Category: Religious
- Published: Dec 01, 2015
- Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
- Seller: Baker Book House Company
- Print Length: 178 Pages
- Language: English
- Series: Book 1.1, The Kinsman Chronicles