Monday, April 1, 2013

Blood of Ancient Kings - Review

V. J. O. Gardner has created a generational fantasy based on the growth and development of two intertwined families in the Kingdom of Brinley. She deftly presents her characters with unique challenges and ties the two royal families tightly together through an unusual set of circumstances and plot twists.

Character development, dialogue, and the premise on which the story is built are the strengths of Blood of Ancient Kings. Each character is an individual and fully fleshed; the reader can relate to each, despite their wide differences - the ex-despot, the reformer, the young healer, the simple village minister, the school-age bullies, the private soldiers, the general.

The premise of the story is what, to me, was the most interesting part. An usurping reformer and a reforming despot found two lineages that intertwine for three generations; starting with the first two children who know each other almost from birth but do not know, due to various machinations, who each other IS until well into the book.

Gardner's prose is clean and clear and reads quickly, moving from one scene to another with ease.

The biggest negative I found was that the plot development was sometimes unbelievable. The usurper, King Langward, decides to grant the people some representative government by splitting the kingdom into sections each with an elected governor. Somehow, within mere weeks, and without any opposition, it is all smoothly done.

One other nitpicking complaint is that sometimes the procedures of court got in the way of the story. Each time the king met a new person Gardner retold the scene of the person kneeling and the King bidding them rise.

All in all Blood of Ancient Kings is a quick and interesting read, strong on characterization and plot idea. This is the first in a three book series all of which can be found on her website

Disclaimer: I was provided a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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