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The Charnel Prince: 2 (Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone) (original 2004; edition 2005)
by Greg Keyes (Author)
The Charnel Prince by Greg Keyes (2004)
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This series is growing on me. The second book grabbed me a bit more than the first. If you are a fan of George R. R. Martin or Robin Hobbs, this is a good series to check out. ( )
I'd have to say I wasn't the biggest fan of The Briar King, so I wasn't too sure if I'd like this one. I was completely wrong. This book picks up right from the start and doesn't stop. Something exciting happens in every single chapter, and the overall plot to the series becomes a much more clear, yet not everything is revealed.
This book has renewed my confidence, and I'm very much looking forward to reading the next one.
This excellent fantasy series ("Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone") is very
reminiscent of George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire - except that
it's actually finished! (There's one more book in the series that I
haven't yet read.) It follows a similar format, structurally, and the
'feel' of the writing is very similar. The story itself, however, is
quite original - at least, more so than many fantasy epics. I mean,
it's still got Dark Forces and Bold Warriors and Beautiful Queens etc,
etc... but we want that, right?
The Charnel Prince continues the story right where the previous book
left off. The titular character is indeed a royal prince - but also a
traitor, afflicted - or empowered - by a backfired curse, and now
undead - and seemingly unstoppable.
His aim is to murder the Princess Anne - who has escaped him with only
her maid, Austra, and is in hiding as a peasant girl, forced to work
to earn money to somehow make her way home. Luckily, she is befriended
by a roguish swordsmaster, Cazio, who helps and defends her.
Unknown to her, the knight Neil has undertaken a quest to find her and
help her, but it is much like seeking a needle in a haystack - and
Anne doesn't even know whether he might be friend or foe.
Meanwhile, Aspar and Stephen have been charged by religious leaders,
including the Praifec Hespero, to find and destroy the Briar King -
but corruption is in the Church, and black magic. Who knows how high
the evil may have spread? Is killing the Briar King truly the right
thing to do?
Hespero is also on a personal crusade, it seems, against the brilliant
musician and composer Leoff Ackenzal, whose innovative pieces buck
against church dogma. Recently called to an appointment at court, the
innocent Leoff finds himself over his head amongst the conniving
courtiers and courtesans at the palace. Soon, he is worried about more
than his position - his very life may be at stake.
This is the second book in the Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone series, and I enjoyed it even more than I had enjoyed the first. The first book, while very good, took time to completely grab my interest. I think that was primarily because there were a lot of characters to get to know, and there were a lot of different plot threads that needed time to develop. It took time for all of these things to be introduced and built up to the point where I was really invested. With this book, I started out fully invested in the story and the characters.
In addition to continuing the story of several of the characters from the first book, this book also introduced a handful of new characters. Leoff, the composer, was the only new character who became a frequent point-of-view character and I thought he was a great addition. We also learned more about characters who were only briefly seen in the first book. A couple of them turned out to be far more than they had originally appeared to be. One of them I had suspected, but the other was a pleasant surprise. The characters in this series are very interesting and fun to read about. The over-all story is interesting enough but, at least for me, this series is more about the characters. Finding out what would happen to them next, and learning more about the ones I didn’t know well yet, was what kept me turning the pages even when I had other things to do.
I thought the ending was a little more open-ended than that of the first book. When the final chapter ended, I felt like the characters were on the brink of accomplishing the goals they’d been working toward, but the brief epilogue made it clear that there’s more trouble to come first. (Well, there’s also the fact that the series has two more books in it!) The epilogue also left one of our main characters in a pretty bad position so, at least for that character, there was a bit of a cliff hanger. I look forward to starting the third book to learn what happens next.
The second book in the series has proven to be more riveting than the first. With its unfolding plots and growing character depth...I cannot imagine this story truly coming to an end any time soon.
References to this work on external resources.
Wikipedia in English (2)
"There is adventure and intrigue, swordplay and dark sorcery aplenty."--Realms of Fantasy When the legendary Briar King awoke from his slumber, dark magics awoke with him and spread across the Kingdom of Crotheny. In Eslen, King William has been murdered, Queen Muriele is stalked by treachery from every side, and their last surviving daughter, Anne, has fled the assassins bent on destroying her family. The queen's one trusted ally, young knight Neil MeqVren, is sworn to rescue the princess from her pursuers. As spies in the service of the powerful Churchman embark upon a mission to destroy the Briar King, a sinister conspiracy threatens to engulf the land. Personal fates will be decided, and a kingdom's destiny will hinge upon the ultimate conflict between virtue and malevolence, might and magic. "Keyes's world is rich, detailed, and always believable; the twisty plot is delightful and frightening in turns."--Locus "Strong world building and superior storytelling."--Library Journal
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)813 — Literature English (North America) American fiction
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