|Series: The Band #1
||Genre: fantasy, epic fantasy, grimdark
|Read date: April 2018
||Available: Amazon, Barnes & Noble|
|Rating: 5/5||Author’s website: https://nicholaseames.com/|
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. 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.
I believe that everything happens for a reason, even if we don’t know what that reason is. I’ve been having a staring contest with Kings of the Wyld for months. Several people practically had thrown it at my head (not literally, but only because I live far from everyone) saying I’ll enjoy it. But I kept dismissing it. For some reasons it was not the time to read it. I know this, because NOW was the right time. I needed to be in the right state of mind to be able to fully immerse myself in its brilliance! It also helped to get my mind off of things… Merely 18% in and I had reactions I don’t think I ever had to a book. I practically had a laughing fit over a brass doorknock in the bus stop. I shit you not. This happened. If nothing else, this earned a 5 star rating.
Days of glory long belonging to the past, Grandual’s once most celebrated band is scattered throughout the kingdom. 20 years passed by and not kindly for most of them. Clay Cooper lives a quiet, paceful life surrounded by his family, Moog spends his days researching and selling remedies for those in need, Matrick sits upon Agria’s throne trying not to think too much about fatherhood and drinking, Ganelon is still petrified after committing a crime and Gabe tries to put his life back together. Which turns out to harder than he hoped, since his daughter, Rose following her dad’s footsteps had become a mercenary. She put together her own band and when the call had come she hurried to save Castia from doom. And got herself trapped inside it. Leaving no choice for Gabe but to follow her with his old band mates in tow. Throughout their journey, they revisit several places holding memories of a life full of drinking, fighting, laughing, ravaging. They rekindle not only with each other but with old friends and enemies as well. Old feuds and scars are being opened, new ones are being received. All of it serving only one purpose: to prove Saga is not out of their game yet despite them being old men, that they are still Kings of the Wyld.
Nicholas Eames leads the readers through the story with a natural easiness, not leaving time to feel bored or let the mind wander to places it’s not supposed to wander to. The world building is good, and although we only get glimpses of some parts, it’s good to know they are there, that they can be visited in later books. The book also introduces a rather simple religious system, of wich Eames makes a good use. The author’s imagination seems limitless, and we meet countless monsters roaming the Wyld. Some of them quite traditional, some come with a new twist, some are completely new. But all of them are capable of haunting your dreams if you are not careful enough.
The strongest feature of this book are the characters. They are all fleshed out, have their distinct attributes and work wonderfully together. If you can’t find your favorite by the end of the book, then you’re doing something wrong. An extra point goes for the female characters. There aren’t many, but at least they are not the damsel in distress kind of characters, whom you’d like to slap to make them come to their senses. Some of them are kick ass indeed and not the idle side acts of a tour, I must add. Many of the side characters are worth mentioning, but then this review would never end. I will mention Moog however, because he is the most awesome of them all. Sure, Clay is smart and loyal, Matrick is cunning and fast with his beloved knives, Ganelon can hold up a small army on his own and Gabe can make anyone follow him to the end of the world. But at the end of the day Moog is the one who makes everything seem like fun and a great adventure, no matter how dire the situation is. And whose giving, caring nature will melt the hardest heart too.
The pace is great, it has the right rhythm with funny scenes lighting the mood here or there. The band analogue works greatly through the story, and honestly, it’s hard to comprehend why no one thought of this before. The only criticism can be offered because of the ending. It seemed a tiny bit rushed and left some questions unanswered – not important ones, mind you, but just enough to make you wonder while you wait for the next book to come out, because then you most probably will get new questions to worry about.
If you are still hesitating whether you should read Kings of the Wyld, let me tell you what to expect: this book will make you laugh out loud, then will force you on your knees, will punch you in the face, will help you up with a smile just to kick you in the gut for an emphasis. And you will enjoy it all. This story is like a great song which makes you feel calm, angry, happy, sad, surprised with its melodies and lyrics. Kings of the Wyld most probably will lift Nicholas Eames up to be the new rockstar of the fantasy world in the coming years.