Book Review: Kings of the Wyld
Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames, The Band #1
Their glory days long past, the mercs have grown apart and grown old, fat, drunk - or a combination of the three. Then an ex-bandmate turns up at Clay's door with a plea for help. His daughter Rose is trapped in a city besieged by an enemy one hundred thousand strong and hungry for blood. Rescuing Rose is the kind of mission that only the very brave or the very stupid would sign up for.
It's time to get the band back together for one last tour across the Wyld.
Clay Cooper and his band were once the best of the best -- the meanest, dirtiest, most feared crew of mercenaries this side of the Heartwyld.
Where to begin? Every reader has a sweet spot for a certain style/genre of book. For me it has always been Epic Fantasy. I have been a bit out of the social media scene so i hadn't heard anything about the announcement of Kings of the Wyld right until it dropped in my mailbox. After seeing the cover and reading the first page I knew this book would be such a one. A book that gives you all the reading pleasure you can think of. A book that will make you laugh and cry, and if you can achieve that as an author you are onto great things. So Nicholas, Chapeau!
SO meet Clay Cooper a.k.a. Slowhand. Once a seasoned, though mercenary now father, husband and local guard. He lives an ok life with his wife Ginny and his daughter Tally, though Ginny can get mad when he does get home smelling off ale, but in all a happy life. All this is about to change when Gabriel aka Golden Gabe comes knocking on his door. Clay and Gabe both served in the band Saga back in the days, they parted ways to live quiet lives. Gabe comes with a plea to Clay, his daughter, Rose, is caught up in a sieged castle. First Clay finds it difficult but since he has a daughter of his own, he knows the right thing to do. An so Clay and Gabe set out into the heart of the Wyld... There first quest to complete is to recruit back the other Saga band members because what Clay and Gabe still know from the good old days is that without a few buddies you will be swallowed up in the Wyld. They recruit among others Moog the mage, Ganelon the southern muscle and Matrick the skilled and deadly thief. And onwards they go into dangerous, dangerous territory.
As I already mentioned above Nicholas Eames does something with his story that makes it stand out. A book stands and falls by the writing style of the author, but also how he builds up his story. This is precisely the part where Nicholas Eames more than excels. From the first moment, even though Clay is in my opinion a bit to negatively introduced in the synopsis, you can just feel that Clay is too good of a guy. As soon as Gabe is introduced you directly feel the brotherhood returning and it becomes unavoidable for Clay to say no. If you look on how the story is build by itself it picks up a gentle wave, slowly picking up momentum, gathering the remainder of the band mates, before crashing down in the best possible way imaginable to bring an ending you wouldn't have foreseen!
Some of the more noticeable themes all throughout the books is that of comradeship, brotherhood, having each others back, laughing together, crying together, but never giving up. In short living by a bro-code. But what would you have imagined of one of the most feared band back in the day. Besides these themes there are also more concrete aspects that make this book rock your world. Magic and magical weapons, god and demigod creatures, horrendous creatures, skyships and much much more. When I read about some of these things for the first time I was on the edge of my seat with a big smile on my face. Epic Fantasy is dear to and I haven't read this for a long time.
Focusing on the characters there is a lot of diversity to be found. Clay thinks carefully, most of the time, before taking a crictical decision but when you need him in a flash he will be there. I liked the parts where he was as cold as ice as well as when it got emotional about him and his wife, just added a whole new dimension on how to look towards him. Gabe is the one that will run like a headless chicken, just look at his part record of women... Moog is brilliant, what he does with his magic and the remarks he makes keep the story lively. Matrick, married a princess once but when Saga comes to recruit him back he gives up his luxury live to once again carry his trusted set of deadly daggers. Matrick can be stone cold at times. Ganelon isn't a man of many words. He prefers to speak with his axe... enough said.
What more is left to say about Kings of the Wyld other than that this will be one of THE books of 2017. Brilliant, innovative, immersive and just pure fun to read. You will not be disappointing. This is the good stuff.
The ending of the book is also most interesting, Nicholas mentions that it is the last adventure as the complete reunited Saga band, but he also has announced a second book in the series. Curious to see how that will play out.