Synopsis: This is the second novel of Nick Martell’s Legend of the Mercenary Kings series, sequel to last year’s The Kingdom of Liars (review). Main protagonist Michael Kingman escaped his death once more under the protection of the Orbis Mercenary company.
Inside Michael’s beloved city Hollows the two siblings Queen-in-Waiting Serena and her brother the Corrupt Prince long for the throne. Serena seeks revenge, because she doesn’t believe in Michael’s tale that her father, the former king, committed suicide.
Outside the city, the rebellion under the Emperor is still waiting to assault the city.
Michael has to follow Orbis mercenary Dark’s command as his apprentice and solve numerous riddles and most importantly: catch a serial killer Heartbreaker, who tears out his victims’ hearts, and also win back Serena’s trust and love.
He tries to figure out the inner workings of Orbis company, because he wants to advance as a fully accepted member and get free of Dark’s harassments.
Walking among Immortals and dragons, fighting against unknown types of magic, he can only trust in his family. Now, can he?
Review: I struggled to find back into the setting, because I didn’t remember all the names, abilities, and numerous relations exposed in the first volume. Yes, it is a highly complicated, tangled mess of a novel which asks for a lot of concentration.
This hurdle lasted for the whole first half of the novel before I was fully able to enjoy the ride and the plot picked up speed, action, and energy. It developed into a fast-paced, witty fantasy thriller featuring a highly capable foe who set up a kind of tournament for his victims, just for entertainment.
Lots of characters from the first novel got more attention and details, especially Dark, that uber mercenary, losing layer after layer like an onion. But even at his core, he is always able to come up with an unexpected twist for naive Michael. Michael matured only a tiny bit:
“Yeah, well, we can’t all be the perfect Michael Kingboy can we?”
“Kingman,” I said. “My last name is Kingman.”
“Then why do you act like a child? Kingboy makes more sense.”
This sequel finishes the setting of the city Hollow and opens up the world for the next volume. I’m very looking forward seeing this, hopefully next year.
Recommende for advanced readers of Epic Fantasy.
Meta: isbn 9781473225657. Published at 25.03.2021 by Orion.