Friday, 19 May 2017

FANTASY REVIEW: The Never King - James Abbott

Release Date: 18/05/17
Publisher: Tor


A new legend begins . . .

Xavir Argentum is rotting in gaol. Sentenced to life in the squalor of Hell’s Keep, punishment for an atrocity he didn’t commit, the once legendary commander is all but forgotten. His elite band of warriors are dead – and the kingdom he was poised to inherit is oppressed by the tyrant who framed him. For half a decade now, Xavir has ruled nothing but a prison gang.

Yet vengeance comes to those who wait. When a former spymaster infiltrates the Keep, bearing news of his old enemy’s treachery, plans are forged. A few are compelled to restore peace – an exiled queen, an outcast witch, and an unlikely alliance of rogues and heroes. But peace and vengeance make poor companions. And first, Xavir must make his escape . . .


This is a book that I'd quite been looking forward to and if I'm honest the blurb just sold it so well. A deposed ruler jailed for an attrocity he didn't commit, spy masters, political machinations all were helping to make the title sound like it was going to be a modern Dumas full of daring do, hard fought battles and of course the disposition of a tyrant.

All sounded damn fine to me as a reader so it was with great joy that I'd sat down to devour this title to see what it would present for me. What unfurls within is a story that does have solid characters, it has just enough world building to make it real and with the other elements mentioned in the blurb, it definitely had moments of pure joy especially with the action sequences, however for me as a reader, its the rest of the book that went wrong, feeling more like a selection of pasting to get from one sequence to another rather than a full realised story.

All round it was an OK read but with some duff lulls alongside parts feeling a bit piecemeal all round left me feeling a flat. A great shame but there is enough here for me to try James' next title and see what he's learned from this one.

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