Series: The Band #1
Publisher: Orbit (February 21, 2017)
Length: 544 pages
My Rating: 4 stars
Kings of the Wyld is a fantasy story which doesn’t take itself too seriously. Sure, it has heroes and villains, combat and death, monsters and magic, but Nicholas Eames adds so much humor and tongue-in-cheek moments that the lighter side of life is what you remember most about this tale of a band getting back together.
No, not that kind of band (though many of the newer bands in this world probably look exactly like KISS). Rather, Kings is about a band of mercenaries coming back together. All of it beginning when Clay Cooper returns home to find his band’s ex-leader Gabriel waiting for him; this once proud and fearless warrior a pathetic caricature of himself. Gabriel quickly telling Clay what has happened, sketching out a ridiculous plan to save someone dear to Gabriel. And even though he knows it is a hopeless endeavor, Clay can’t turn his best friend and former band mate down when he pathetically says “it’s time to get the band back together.” Which is when all the real fun starts.
Without a doubt, this was a fun book. Kings appeal firmly based on its humor. And it is a funny story. From snarky comments to hilarious moments, Nicholas Eames has the perfect comedic touch, keeping the laughs coming even when our heroes are bumbling from one near catastrophe to another.
But Kings is about more than just fun; it is about family, camaraderie, and real friendship. The kind of friendship which makes a grown man leave his beloved wife and daughter to follow along behind his best friend on a hopeless quest because . . . well, because he would do the same for him. And that true friendship is what shines through the jokes in this tale. This group of former badass mercs past their prime, burdened down by responsibility, and worn away by their many mistakes in life, but the one thing they have not forgotten nor are willing to discard the bonds of friendship they have with one another. This tie so strong they can tease one another unmercifully one moment, admit their stupidity the next, then laugh with one another when all hell is breaking loose around them. These guys are a band of brothers, and I, for one, will admit to enjoying all this bromance.
But every good fantasy story needs a good setting, and Kings provides a familiar yet intriguing one. From ancient empires to hair metal merc bands, from monster filled forests to politically charged palaces, from crowd filled arenas to high flying airships, Nicholas Eames takes normal fantasy norms, slaps his own brand on them and remolds them into something perfectly complimentary to this brutal yet humorous bromance.
As for any criticism, my only complaint would be the villain of the story. This bad dude with the rabbit ears just did nothing for me. Initially, I thought he was going to develop into something special, but it didn’t really happen. He wasn’t ominous or scary, nor was he especially silly or humorous. Rather, he just seemed to be there because a fantasy always needs a bad guy to be looming in the shadows ready to slap down the heroes. So while he didn’t ruin the fun, he did not add much either.
So are you looking for some fun in your fantasy? Dig the idea of old bands getting back together for reunion tours? Find yourself in need of some hardcore bromance? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you need to read Kings of the Wyld quickly, because it will leave you with a smile on your face.
I received an advanced reading copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank them for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.