The King’s Blood by Sabrina Zbasnik
Magic is coming back. Or so say the old prophesies cobbled together from wandering soothsayers, women huffing broken gas lines, and the back of comic tomes. The Evil Empire™ of Avar and its perfectly sane, in no way crazy Emperor risks others’ life and limb to stop it from coming to pass.
The only obstinate chunk of gravel in their shoes is a small kingdom warring against the over confident reach of the growing Empire. The fight was going well for them, all things considered, right until their King went and let his head slip right off his shoulders.
Now Ciara, a black servant into her sixteenth year, finds herself on a mad quest across the countryside trying to get the second son and possibly only hope of the severed Ostero line back onto his throne. Along the way, she and Aldrin — the rather simple and OH GODS KEEP HIM AWAY FROM ANYTHING SHARP prince — find themselves at the mercy of assassins, witches, traveling historians, a sect of killer doctors, and the unblinkers.
Can two teens survive an entire Empire crashing down upon them while a shambling army of corpses waits patiently in the shadows? Will the religious fight for and against magic rip apart the world they all became rather fond of? And just how can a fifteen year old take over a throne dangling precariously over the edge of war?
My Review: I will be the first to admit that I haven’t read a lot of epic fantasy. I had The Hobbit read to me in library class when I was a child. I have also read the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind. I guess I characterize epic fantasy by how many pages it has or I would count Ice Forged and The Palace Job too. I realize that doesn’t make me a card carrying member of the epic fantasy fan club but it does equip me to know what epic fantasy is. So I can tell you without a doubt The King’s Blood is definitely epic fantasy. It’s also really good epic fantasy.
This story is fun, funny and well told. It’s everything in the book description and more. My favorite character was Ciara. It’s hard not to pick her. She goes from serving girl to heroine. There is also the small of matter of her nearly dying. I won’t say more than that because you really need to read this book. You won’t be disappointed. You have to root for the girl who almost dies.
This book contains some of the best lines I’ve ever read. Here are a couple of my favorites.
-Lord Albrant, who was perched percariously upon his chair, ready to leap to Edric’s assistance should the King’s makeshift throne finally commit suicide.
-Kynton, raised on a heavy diet of taking the world with a grain of salt, peered into the hazy void.
There is more where that came from. This book is filled with stressful moments lightened by funny dialog. You don’t want to miss Ciara’s journey. Alright, there is a rag tag group that travels with Ciara. I guess you don’t want to miss them either. They are almost as interesting as she is. Ohhhh, you will also want to see the prince become his own man. I guess that was interesting too.
This book is on the long side. If you, like me, are not a card carrying member of the epic fantasy club you should not be put off by the number of pages. Once you get going you will become so wrapped up in the story you will be traveling with this rag tag group and you will lose all sense of time and place. This book really is that great.
Don’t miss our interview with author Sabrina Zbasnik tomorrow.