In 2011, I reviewed the first installment of the Kinshield Saga, The Kinshield Legacy. I was quite impressed with this opening novel – click here for review. With The Wayfarer King, the author continues the saga.
The characters of this novel were very familiar with a welcome return of all the main characters from the previous novel. As in the first, the characters are likable and make great travelling companions for the reader throughout the story. Gavin Kinshield is the same self-doubting, but lovable lout who is now king of Thendylath, albeit a king in secret. Daia Saberheart is the same brave and resilient warrior who has pledged her fealty to Gavin as champion. The repartee between Gavin and Daia is as entertaining as in the first novel and the introduction of a love interest into the story adds another layer to Kinshield to explore.
However, although I thoroughly enjoyed the characters making a return appearance I was less impressed with the story itself. I felt that the author’s heart was not in it when writing The Wayfarer King. Quite some time had passed after the first book was released and it seemed like this novel was a fulfilment of an obligation rather than a labour of love.
When an author puts together a complex plot that progresses from “A” to the penultimate ”B”, various milestones must be reached, plot devices employed and characters developed. It’s not unusual for the reader to discern those elements within the prose, but in a good story the reader will see this structure growing organically from the actions of the characters, from the reality of the setting and less from the hand of the author. In this novel, the plot seems to be a contrivance in which the author’s hand is always visible: moving the pieces around the board, setting up the correct sequence of events, ensuring key details are intimated in a timely fashion so that consequences are logical. Basically, it lacked life. A random attack on the road leads to a revelation that the author is clearly intending to use later in the story to create crisis. A random string of questions asked from a figure in the past outlines a series of actions the character will take during a rushed and incomprehensible action climax. All the loose ends are neatly tied and the ending approached as if output from a smoothly running machine.
The Wayfarer King was intended to conclude the Kinshield Saga and although the story definitely ends in the triumphant victory of all that is started in the first novel, the author has cleverly left an opening to explore a further story, one which has been taken up with the release of a third novel, Well of the Damned.
Given that the characters in the Kinshield Saga are worthwhile and the prose itself executed well, I’m tempted to overlook my disappointment in The Wayfarer King, hoping that the author has revived her passion in the Saga enough to produce a more worthy successor to the first book that so successfully captured my interest.
Price at the time of review: $2.99 US
Available: Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Diesel
Author site: http://www.kcmay.com/
GoodReads page: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12272101-the-wayfarer-king