Mature Content Rating: PG-13 (for mild swearing, partial nudity, and suggestive sexual content)
We have all heard the story of the Sword in the Stone. “The one who pulls the sword from the stone in the true king.” What if Arthur didn’t want to be king? What if a dark sorcerer did? How about you read The Kinshield Legacy by K.C. May and find out!
A sword for a king, a destiny for a king, a pitcher of ale for a king. Will you find this king in a palace, sitting on his throne? Maybe you will find him out on the road, smiting evil? Maybe you will find him picking him queen from a line of ladies? Or, maybe you will find him in a tavern making crude jokes. This is Gavin Kinshield, the destined king of the land.
First of all… what is not good about this book? Wait… I will talk about that when I get to the bad… so… not first of all… This book is a brilliant masterpiece that any and every fan of a good epic fantasy tale would be dying to read if they knew about it. Now that you know about it, you should really go and read it. K.C. May crafts a brilliant world in the classic swords & sorcery style but stays away from the dwarfs and elves and all that. What stands out to me is the character development. May uses the third-person shifting POV style magnificently, allowing the reader to get into the head of every character. I have seen this done very poorly in the past, making the story feel disjointed and wrong, but May pulls it off well. Just as much time in spent inside of and outside of a character’s head, letting the reader in on his or her inner secrets, desires, thoughts, and feelings, developing well rounded characters with proper motivation. At no point does a character feel like it’s just thrown in to progress the story. Every character is well thought out and well crafted. I thought at first that knowing so much about every character (good guys and the bad) would take away from the on-the-edge-of-your-seat-suspense, but it does not. Sometimes suspense is actually built as the POV changes at a crucial moment in the story, leaving the reader hanging on a limb, itching to read more.
Not only are the character well crafted and set in a believably intriguing setting, but as the plot unfolds we learn that there is more to it than just a tavern grunt who doesn’t want to be king. It has been a while since I have read a book where the plot grabbed me, and I applaud The Kinshield Legacy for this. The reader truly doesn’t know all the ins and outs of the story until the very end, and even then we are left with enough questions to provide for a sequel. Though there are many things for this would-be-king and his band of followers to accomplish, by the end of the book the plot is wrapped up well. A secret plot thread is woven throughout the whole book until a tiny piece of it is revealed at the end giving the reader a dry-mouth-must-read-more feeling.
In places the book has a darker tone (which you can’t really help when dealing with evil sorcerers and demons and the like) which I really enjoyed. However, The Kinshield Legacy stays light throughout, so this point should not turn off the more squeemish readers.
At the beginning when the POV was jumping around quite a bit, I was a little bit confused and wasn’t sure how all of the story arcs tied together. Fairly quickly, however, we see the characters coming together into one succinct plot that drives the story. Not much “action-wise” happens at the very beginning of the book while characters and setting are being developed. The introduction would have potentially been aided by more draw-you-in moments.
This was “bad” for me, but other might not mind it. I was really thrown by the author’s use of words in dialogue. If someone had a slur, or a speech impediment, it came through in between the “quotes.” Someone might say, “You have bread?” instead of “Do you have any bread?” I realize that in real life (how boring! This is a fantasy novel. Let’s not talk about real life, okay?) that people actually talk like this, but I felt like it got in the way of the readability (similar to how it would get in the way of you understanding someone who is speaking like this, I suppose). One of the biggest ones that threw me was the use of “awright” instead of “alright” throughout. Based on its use this may be a “thing” that I am unaware of, but it came across to me as a typo until I had read it enough times to realise that it was done on purpose.
Another thing that I didn’t like, but might not be a problem for some, was the tavern scenes. Gavin Kinshield makes a number of rude comments, as do many of his friends, and this works to develop character. The problem I had was the women who came up to him constantly wanting to bed him. It seemed to me like every time he went for a drink someone wanted to get into his pants! Though this may be a teen-age boys paradise it isn’t very representative of reality and I felt it came across rather sexist, playing into the idea that all men are pigs and all women are whores. This was even more surprising to me coming from a female author and I was almost intrigued by the use of sexism in book realizing that it wasn’t just some guy living out his fantasy to have every woman jump him in the bar. I was pleased, however, there are a few “strong” woman in the book who did not fit this moulded stereo-type, but still even they put up with more that I thought was acceptable.
All in all, this book was great. I was dying to read more and definitely pick up the rest in the series. This free book as the first in the series does what it should, drawing me into the world and the writing style of May making me want to buy everything she has every written! The characters, world, and plot are all well-crafted and believable.
PS. I also read Soul Sacrifice (actually before I read The Kinshield Legacy) and it is worth your time. This novella tells the back story of one of the most mysterious characters in The Kinshield Legacy. I would rate is 4 stars on its own. The story didn’t draw me in at first, but the ending made up for any pitfalls throughout.
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