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Book Review of The Briar King (Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone, Book 1)

The Briar King (Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone, Book 1)
althea avatar reviewed on + 774 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 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 implication, at the beginning of The Briar King is that the lost
colony of Roanoke island was somehow transported into an alternate
world. However, not much is done with this setup, as we are now many
many years from that time, and fully immersed in this world - a world
where humans were once enslaved by the demon lords, the Skasloi, but
managed to free themselves through dread magics, and develop a
medieval-type society.
However, the King's Holter, a dedicated woodsman, Aspar White, has
been seeing strange and ill things in his forest of late... When he
rescues Stephen, an innocent young scholar and novice monk, from
bandits, he is at first irritated by the young man's naivete, but soon
realizes his book-learning may shed light on some of the mysteries of
the forest... old tales of the rise of the fearsome Briar King, a sort
of Green Man/nature spirit of ambiguous nature.
Meanwhile, the mystic prophecies of the gypsy-like Sefry race seem to
indicate that there must be a Queen in the land. There is indeed a
Queen - and some princesses to boot - but there are also assassins
abroad... The low-born warrior knight Neil McVren is absolutely loyal
to Queen Muriele - and also falling in love with one of her daughters
- but his bravery may not be enough to stop the treachery and foul
plots that surround the royal women.

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