This is the second in the series...I cannot wait to get my hands on number 3!!!
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 series is one of my recent favorites in the fantasy genre. Keyes composes and executes a very complicated, engrossing story in great style. I compare Keyes favorably to George R.R. Martin because he starts out this series knowing where he is going and the finish is great. Seriously, read all four books.
A fantasy novel that i really thought i would not get into and was surprised i love the series as much as i do! there are tempting clues about the past and the future of this land that keeps you coming back for more! there are several stories going on at once as all the parties converge in the beginning , separate to go their own ways then reconvene again. it is like a rubber band explosion ! the separate stories are easy to follow because they are by chapter , not switching around in the middle. The is a little magic and properties of this land that do not apply to ours but mostly the interaction and growth of the characters is fantastic! I just finished book two and am on my way to tear through three.
Assuming you have read "The Briar King" the story continues with the surviving characters from book 1 and a few new ones. The plot begins to thicken and some people reveal which side they are on. But who is playing whom? A good read.
I enjoyed this second book in the series even more than the first, which is unusual in my experience. Keyes is adept at reminding the reader of characters and events from the previous book without making it obvious that he is doing so; the current tale flows smoothly, with these 'reminders' existing as a natural part of the story. I also am impressed with Keyes' ability to write believable characters of both genders and various ages. I can't wait to read the rest of the series!
Lots of excitement in this book. Looking forward to #3.