I don’t often write DNF reviews, and they are usually for books I rage quit. This is not the case with The Forever King. And I’ll tell you why below.
I need to give a huge thanks to Ben Galley for providing me with an ARC of his latest novel, The Forever King, the first book in The Scalussen Chronicles.
|Series: The Scalussen Chronicles #1||Genre: Epic Fantasy|
|Date of Publishing: December 1st 2020||Trigger Warnings: Violence, death|
|Page count: 604||Publisher: Self-Published|
Revenge loves company.
Mithrid Fenn wants nothing to do with magick. Magick is a curse word, banned by the vast Arka Empire and punishable by death. Its purging has finally brought peace to war-torn Emaneska. Only a stubborn rebellion, led by the warlord Outlaw King, raids and pillages the empire’s northern fringes.
To cliff-brat Mithrid, this is an age of tranquility and childhood games. That is until an illegal spellbook washes up on her shores, and she finds herself thrust into a war she never knew existed.
Now hunted by daemons and mages, she is dragged inexorably north to Scalussen and its rebels fighting doggedly to preserve a memory of freedom. Mithrid holds no such ideals. She fights for revenge and nothing nobler. If spilling blood means helping the Outlaw King, then so be it. Even if it means all-out war.
The Forever King is the first book in a new trilogy – The Scalussen Chronicles – set in the dark and nordic world of The Emaneska Series. A breathless and emotional tale of revenge that crisscrosses a vast world, The Forever King is an epic fantasy ideal for fans of Joe Abercrombie, Steven Erikson and Mark Lawrence.
“Books were rare in Halorn, items of suspicion, for books could sometimes be powerful and dangerous things. Their contents were a mystery until they were consumed. Even the humblest of stores could seed an idea in the mind, spark a fire in the heart. Such things were dangerous in the Arka Empire, or so Grey Barbo said.”
I will start this review by saying that:
- I decided to quit at 76% thus I won’t give it a rating (usually this would mean a 1*, but The Forever King is definitely not a book that deserves such a low rating).
- If you want to know why you totally should read it, read Nick’s much better-worded review.
Over the past 3 years, I read and enjoyed many of Ben Galley‘s books (The Written, Chasing Graves, Grim Solace, Breaking Chaos) and so when he reached out to me about his latest release I didn’t really have to think about accepting it. I admit Epic Fantasy has never been my favorite sub-genre and I’ve been reading a bit too much of it recently, which probably played into the fact that I absolutely failed to connect with The Forever King. And I feel bad because I can see why it would appeal to so many people in the community: cool dragons, battles, political machinations, magic, backstabbing, revenge, a god wreaking havoc. It pairs with Galley‘s ability of vivid world-building which we’ve witnessed in his previous books. So, what the hell is my problem?! Maybe it’s a case of the wrong book at the wrong time. Maybe it’s just how it is, sometimes you just have to accept no matter how much you’d like to love a book, it’s just not for you. And that’s okay.
I’m not trying to give The Forever King a negative review, but I still would like to give it a few more thoughts on why it eventually didn’t work for me. The first sign of things not going well was that I skimmed. A lot. I rarely do that because if you start skimming then that’s a clear sign that you probably should put the book aside. Not sure if this was the writing style or because of my struggling with reading in general these days.
The second sign was that I absolutely did not care about any of the characters. I’m pretty sure I was supposed to feel something toward Mithrid, our MC who gets orphaned and finds herself in the middle of a war. Reluctant as she is to be a part of it. And she is an annoyed teenager. Farden had become this brooding character who doesn’t want to be king – not that he got too many choices. Loki’s appearance surprised me though. I know this is a Nordic-inspired Fantasy, but most of the gods whose names appear are changed – except Loki’s. I was kinda thinking “oh no, another Loki the trickster god character, can I have a break from seeing Loki all over the place, please?” I realize I’m being a bit unfair here, but I’m honestly bored with him being everywhere I look… He brings a great amount of chaos into play though.
All that being said, The Forever King had the misfortune of crossing my paths in the wrong time and I’m sorry I can’t give it a glowing review, but at the end of the day, I just had to walk away rather than forcing myself to enjoy it. If you are looking for a Nordic-inspired Epic Fantasy with dragons, gods, battles, magic, and don’t mind a bit of ice, I’m sure you’ll have a great time with The Forever King. Especially if you read and liked the Emaneska series. You might find a familiar face or two here.