Review by Douglas C. Meeks, November 27, 2012
Member of the Paranormal Romance Review Team
Alec Mason and his friends in this sequel to The Talisman of Faerie did not get much rest between these two installments of this epic fantasy. In a previous PRG review of book 1 it was noted (correctly) that the story was so similar to the Lord of the Rings in places that it was distracting, fortunately while those similarities do not disappear altogether they are much more infrequent and less distracting. The Sword of the Kings is a much more original novel and the action was almost non-stop once it got going.
We still see Alec trying to become the savior that everyone says he is destined to be but as with the first book his ability to use that power is spotty and random for the most part (but that is what I would expect a large part of book three of this trilogy to be concerned about) and while our adventurers have many triumphs and tragedies (as any good epic fantasy does) it is ultimately satisfying to this reader and does not leave you with any cliff hanger endings (which I tend to HATE!).
A large portion of this book is dedicated to Lorn’s efforts to regain this place as king and it IS a great story that is intertwined with the actions of the others in the group spread over this fantasy world. Once again the ending of this part of the story does remind you of Lord of the Rings.
The reading of this book was much easier than the Lord of the Rings (pages of descriptions of the color of grass and other meanderings of that ilk are largely missing) but I must confess I did scan several pages that took nothing from my enjoyment of this novel.
Although I have pretty much dedicated almost all my reading time in recent years to PNR/UF after many years of reading epic fantasy it was nice to revisit the genre and this was a welcome story to do it with since the reading went fast and the story kept moving. The writer does have the ability to put you into the situations of the moment and impart some of the elation and depression, depending on the circumstance. I found some of the very few tender moments between some couples a bit overly syrupy sweet to the point of sugar overload but they were short and only mildly distracting.
Bottom Line: This was great entertainment, it showed greater originality than book one and leaves me anxiously awaiting the final novel of this trilogy. I hope it is soon since trying to remember details of books I read over a year ago is something I hate to do (and I am not good at it). I have read epic fantasy for over 20+ years and I loved this book so I would not say it is limited to younger readers but probably easier to read than JRR Tolkien’s masterpiece.