At the Kingdoms’ Fold

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At the Kingdoms' Fold (A Kingdoms' Fold Novel Book 1)

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...One only for fans of the genre...

A small group of people with magical powers strike from a hidden castle bringing fear and justice to those who would do evil in the Kingdom. They are led by Liam, who is the son of the nearby Duke, and his wife Kate who was rescued from some evil slavers. Their struggle becomes harder when the town of Applegate is overrun by the forces of King Belvintor, who will stop at nothing to find his missing betrothed, as when he marries her he can then claim her lands as his own. Taking in the only survivor Eppie, they resolve to step up their actions against the invaders. While Belvintor sends out his troops out to despoil the area, hoping to discover where his missing queen is, Liam and his group must work to protect the lands from the rampaging troops.

This is a fairly standard fantasy with some very obvious good side and a king who could only be more evil if he had a moustache to twirl. This is a very black and white novel and it is quite clear which side we are supposed to cheer for. Liam’s group does act in an extra-judicial manner, but then it is always against the worst of humanity. The plot is, in general, very heavy handed in the action good and bad actions of the characters. Despite the amount of actions within the story, it actually feels very light and is a quick page turner. Surprisingly as it is supposed to be the first in a series, the main story appears to have been completed by the end. There are also several inconsistencies, for example Eppie’s father surviving from a village where everyone was supposed to have been killed, and the ending is a little too much deus ex machina for my liking. On the other hand the characters are certainly more of a high point for the story. Liam and Kate make an good couple doing what they think is right and trying to help as many as they can. Those around them may play minor parts but each come across distinctively in their actions and reasoning for their beliefs. Whether it be the nobles in the land being invaded, or the invaders committing atrocities in the name of their brutal king.

The writing keeps a fine line between describing the horrors that are being inflicted without over-dramatising it, but leaving it as quick and bloody. There are a lot of things that also happen out of sight of the main characters, and I do wonder if the book had been longer that more could have been fleshed out with these scenes being described instead of being happening out of sight. The other inclusion is a map of the area, though while useful to give context to the area, only helps to muddy the waters as to why it is not considered a full invasion of the land until it is far too late.

Overall, this is book for fans of the genre. While the characters are the driving force to read this story and watching how they respond to the war around them, the plot feels lightweight with too many ideas thrown in and not filled out leaving it feel a little hollow that perhaps future books will help to explain.

Rating: 3
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