‘Kings of the Wyld’ by Nicholas Eames
Sometimes when reviewing a book, I tend to get lost in minutiae and overthink things. What did the book mean? Was it good? How was it good? Or was it bad? Did it meet or fall short of my expectations? In reviewing ‘Kings of the Wyld,’ I’m using a much simpler system: speed of the read.
I burned through ‘Kings of the Wyld.’ And it’s a fair chunk of words, just shy of five hundred pages. To give some perspective, I read it in on a family vacation that did not allow much time for anything other than walking, going on rides, growling at my children, and passing out with sore feet. Amongst all that, I managed to read it in four days, squeezing in reading sessions each night while my wife and kids did the smart thing and passed out, readying for tomorrow. So I read it pretty fast. Considering.
I find that there are books I enjoy while reading them but never really feel the need to get back to. I just sort of drift along through them and enjoy as I read. ‘Kings of the Wyld’ was not like that. I was looking forward to getting back to it, looking forward to burning through another chunk. To me, that’s the hallmark of a good book. You can analyze it, dissect it, do whatever you want to it, but if you want to get back to reading it when you’re not, you know you’ve found it. So… Read ‘Kings of the Wyld.”
‘Kings of the Wyld’ is a high-fantasy novel that follows the exploits of a band of past-their-prime mercenaries come together for one last job. A fairly simple plot but done well, extremely well. In fact, everything about ‘Kings of the Wyld’ is done extremely well.
And as I said, it moves. There isn’t a dull spot in the whole novel, and where there could have been lulls there were generous doses of humor to lubricate it along. All the characters pull their weight with the funny business, from the sarcastic internal monologue of Clay Cooper, the pov character, to the antics of easily the craziest character, the wizard, Moog. Even the psychopathic killing machine Ganelon manages a few lines that’ll make you chuckle. I didn’t find myself laughing out loud while reading it, like some of the reviewers I’ve read, but I chuckled, and I was also in a two-bed hotel room with sleeping kids whom I didn’t want to wake on pain of death.
Humor is a big part of the book, but it’s not all. The action scenes are top notch. From skirmishes to massive warfare, the scenes are all entertaining and over the top awesome. And I apologize for going a little emo here, but there are truly some heartfelt moments in the novel and not always where you’d expect it. My favorite moment in the entire book concerns the relationship between a pair of brothers, Dane and Gregor. Sounds pretty run of the mill, but it’s not even close.
So ‘Kings of the Wyld’ is a funny fantasy novel, but it’s not just that. It’s way more. Read it and check it out for yourself. You’ll be glad you did.
Kevin Wright, author of ‘Lords of Asylum’