Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Review: The Errant King

"Deep in the caves of the distant Hinderlands, an ancient menace stirs. Townsfolk shudder at violent memories of The Red Queen and even dare to whisper the name Raudrim. At the same time, word comes to Alastair that Cythraul has at last resurfaced, seeking a devastating weapon in the ruins of Grayvalon. Blood-soaked clues lead Alastair into a confrontation from which only one warrior will return alive. Meanwhile in Anglinore, young Lochlan Stormgarden, the new High King of Myriad, leaves the pomp and politics of the throne once too often. While blending in with the people of his kingdom, Loch suddenly realizes that he's put them all at risk. The fate of his new found love Arianna, his best friend Telwyn, his family, and indeed the world of Myriad all depend on the decisions of the errant king." (From

I was ecstatic when I received Wayne Thomas Batson's newest book, The Errant King. Just in time, too; and it had an incredible cover that taunted me all through NaNoWriMo. As soon as I could, I pulled it out of my backpack and devoured it. In some ways, it fulfilled my expectations: in others, not so much.

The prose, as always, was fast-paced and easy to read. The book immediately dived into the questions that Sword in the Stars (the previous book) had left, and definitely hooked the reader into reading more.

The quotes at the beginning of the chapter were delightful, and helped give detail to the world. The world-building in general was some of the best that Batson has done. Really great stuff.

And this book also saw the return of Alastair Coldhollow, who is one of my favorite characters of all time. I loved the scenes with him: such a wonderful, conflicted character. I can't begin to describe how awesome the Iceman is. :) And his scene near the end with Telwyn was just...fantastic. I love it.

The plot was fast-moving, definitely one of Batson's best. It began with two subplots: that of Lochlan and Arianna. It introduced some great characters, such as Millard the Mark (named after a friend of mine: loved that he was a fairly major character!), and, later on, Frank.

However, it's not all sunshine. There were several aspects that disappointed me in this book: one of which was a slightly suggestive scene. It wasn't much more than a gal cozying up to Lochlan, and him basically shoving her away (not really, but that's the gist of it), but I really wish Batson hadn't included that. Up until now, I had regarded Batson as one of the cleanest authors in Christian speculative fiction, certainly much cleaner than Ted Dekker. And while I still think of him in that way, I'm a little disappointed in him for having such a scene in one of his novels.

The aspect of romance in this novel was also very disappointing (to say the least), almost enough by itself for me to drop a rating a whole star. In essence, two characters fall in love in a week. That whole area of the novel was damaged because of the unrealistic romance. That destroyed my "illusion of reality" that I had in the Errant King, and it irritated me.

The character of Frank is also a strange one. In one way, it's really interesting and rather funny, and in others, kind of just....weird. It's like putting something from a magical fairy tale in a brick-and-mortar epic fantasy novel.

And a few things towards the end—a "weird" thing here, a slightly unrealistic scene there—felt odd to me, as if the author hadn't had enough time to really polish his novel and rewrite the scenes that needed it. Or maybe that's just me.

The end of the novel, however, left many questions and a great sense of anticipation for the next book. And since it's supposed to be a seven-book series, I predict much epicness to come.

In short, The Errant King a really good book; a quick, fun read with some really beautiful moments, and a bit disappointing in some areas. Very much recommended: rated 8.5 out of 10.

(And, on another note, don't you love scheduled posts?  I have posts scheduled for the next few days, thus, my sudden blogging-spree.  My post about writing should be up tomorrow, and I think it's one of the best posts I've ever written.  Wait in suspense until then. ;))


Hannah Joy said...

Awesome review! Is the first book Sword in the Stars or is there another one? I may just think about reading them....

And I can't wait until the writing post! Epic!

Jake said...

The first book is Sword in the Stars, followed by the Errant King. I think I have a review lurking around here somewhere.

Aha! I wasn't known for my indepth reviews back then (this was from a year ago! :o), but it'll do.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great review! I agree with everything you said. I also think EK is a little darker than SitS. (I'm not done with it yet, though... we'll see what I think of it when I'm done.)

It was also a little disappointing how Ariana was just like Abbagael - they both fall in love with the main character (fast, although Abbagael took a little longer than Ariana) and take the initiative in the relationship, which isn't what I think should happen in real life. But that's just me.

Ahh, scheduled blog posts. Love them to death! Can't wait for your next writing post!!

PS: Do you mind if I put a link up on my blog to your 'Why You Shouldn't Be a Writer' post? I liked it enough to want to do that. : )

Jake said...

Hey, daughteroflight! Thanks for the comment. :) You can definitely put up the link - and where IS your blog, if you don't mind me asking? I didn't know you had one! :)

Hannah Joy said...

In the words of Dr. Mueller from The Adventures of Tintin: The Black Island, "Krutzikurken!" My library does not carry Sword in the Stars. Crrrr. I will request for them to buy it, I suppose, but who knows if they actually will....

The Director said...

Tintin crossover xD

Good review Jake-- and when did you change the blog design??? I had no idea until today! o_O

Jake said...

I'm actually redesigning it RIGHT NOW, and the header is giving me trouble. xD I'll post as soon as everything is polished.

The Director said...

Fantastic! :) Yeah, I noticed the header was a little off.... can't wait until you're done tinkering :D

Hannah Joy said...

@The Director: Tintin RULES! :-)

@Jake: Cool new background! Is that you on the heading? Just curious.

Anonymous said...

Thanks! I just have to figure out an interesting way to do it.... : ) - My blog for all things random, lol. I post as Eowyn and my older sister posts as Arwen (on the RARE occasion when she does post...).