I was lucky enough to pick this up on my kindle while it was on sale. Rob J. Hayes has been floating around in my attention bubble for a while. His books seem right up my alley, but the whole self-published thing can make me a little hesitant. I know I shouldn’t be like that, but I have read a lot of bad self-published books, it has made me a little gun-shy. After attempting to participate in #SelfPubFantasyMonth I’m committed to trying new to me self-published authors though, so here we are.
City of Kings was the perfect entry point into Hayes’ First Earth saga. While I’m guessing that some of the characters are mentioned in an earlier series, and that some of the events discussed actually happened in them as well, I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything. I didn’t feel like I had to read the other books to enjoy this. Although I would like to read all of his books now.
There was so much to love about this book. Lets start with the most obvious. That cover… Holy shit, it is special. I want it on my shelves, so I’ll be picking up a physical copy down the track.
If you have read the synopsis, you know that the Black Thorn is bringing the Blooded to heel, he is taking back the Wilds for the people. Putting an end to the tyranny that has caused so many to die and suffer. He has gone from outlaw to hero, with a massive army at his back he is going after the impenetrable City of Kings, Crucible.
There is no mention of his wife in the synopsis. So when I dived into this book you can imagine my surprise when I discovered Rose, Black Thorn’s wife, was the master player in this. She was a scary fucker who I immediately could relate to. Look, being pregnant is painful, running a campaign while pregnant would be the worst. Dealing with all the fucksticks around you who assume the men are calling the shots and overlook you would be enough to make any woman mad. I could totally empathise with her frustration, bossiness and wanting to stab people.
The book takes place over a couple of days. It is the attempted take down of a city. It is battles, espionage and death. It is the ugly side of war. What in another book might get a chapter or two, here it is given an entire book. Every arrow loosened, every pot of tar thrown from the wall, every person trampled to death. There is no sugar coating it. This is a conclusion to a war that has taken place off page and it is fucking brutal.
By having multiple point of views we are given an insight into every aspect of the battles. We watch how the fighting shapes people. How even those used to killing and fighting, buckle under the pressure of trying to take a city. Each character has their own motivation, whether it’s loyalty, money or vengeance. Each character has their own distinct voice and character arc. It’s not just the Black Thorn.
When you have a story full of so many truly amazing characters, it makes the book hard to put down. It means you read for longer than you should, you find yourself holding your breath when the tension gets high and even laughing out loud at a certain alcoholic. I enjoyed everything about this book. The writing, the characters, the fact it made me want to order the rest of his work straight away. I’m excited to dive back into this world. I liked that the author didn’t hold anything back. Honestly I don’t think the term brutal, conveys just how gruesome and fucked up some events that take place in this book are.
This isn’t just a story with swords and fighting. It’s the story of the people who were willing to do the dirty work and overthrow the blooded. The people who dreamed of a different future and were willing to stab every fucker in their way to try to make it happen.
Title – City Of Kings
Author – Rob J. Hayes
Released – 6th August 2018
This is my Review of the Month for the review collection on Lovely Audiobooks info