King's Warrior by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt
"When Dark Warriors invade her country, it is up to Princess Kamarie to seek out the legendary king’s warrior and request his aid. The feisty princess has spent her life dreaming of adventure and is thrilled to be tasked with such a quest. There’s only one thing that can dampen the princess’s excitement: Oraeyn. The squire views his task of protecting the princess on her journey as an inglorious assignment and makes no attempt to hide his disappointment.
Despite a rocky start to their journey – in which Oraeyn throws the obnoxious princess in a river just to get her to call him by name – the travelers soon learn that they must depend upon one another if they are to locate the man they have been sent to find.
The adventure merely begins when they meet Brant: a warrior with a mysterious past. He joins their cause readily, his heart smoldering with a vendetta Kamarie cannot completely understand. But whether she trusts him or not, the hope of their world rests on the steel he wears at his side…."
'King's Warrior' has long been one of my very favorite novels. I read it for the first time when I was twelve years old, back when it was titled 'The Dragon's Eye'. I had just discovered my love for fantasy, and this novel only helped to cement it deep in my heart. I don't even remember how many times I reread it! I'm so excited to share this review now that the prequel, formerly known as 'Dawn of the Dragon's Eye', is going to be re-released as 'Second Son'.
'King's Warrior' is very much like 'Lord of the Rings' when it comes to depth, plot, world-building, and characterization. The themes are easy to recognize and easy to understand, yet as the novel progresses, you realize just how deeply interwoven into the story and the characters they really are. This is a spoiler-free review, but I will say it has taken me several re-readings to catch all the little places the themes show up. The theme of "being more than you seem" shows up all the time, and I only now in this past reading realized that. It is in the plot, in the characters, in the world-building...everywhere! Keep a weather eye out for it.
The plot is everything that is classically loved in a fantasy novel, but with plenty of unique twists. Not just one, but two prophecies prove to be important. Dragons and mythical creatures must be in of course, and they have super duper cool twists to them too. Ancient swords, magical music, enchanted caves, this story is fantasy in the truest sense of the word. The plot itself involves a lot of traveling and visiting new locales and places, a lot like 'Lord of the Rings'.
That leads me to the next thing I want to mention: world-building! The world-building is absolutely incredible. Like the theme implies, Aom-Igh is not everything that it seems. There are surprises and mysteries everywhere! The novel explores the country of Aom-Igh and it's secrets, leaving you enchanted and yearning. Enchanted cuz it's all just so epic, yearning because you know Aom-Igh is not the only country in the world. It leaves you wanting to explore the Dark Country, Roalthae, the Barrier Islands, and know the history of all these places. Very few fantasy novels can get me interested in a fictional history. I can only think of three off the top of my head: 'Lord of the Rings', 'King's Warrior', and 'Mistborn'.
The only somewhat negative thing I can say about this novel is that some of the names are difficult to figure out how to pronounce. HOWEVER, there is a handy-dandy glossary in the back that has a brief description of all the countries, people, and places and how to pronounce their names. If you stumble across any name you don't know how to say, just quickly flip to the back and check.
And last but not least...the characters! I love how the characters are larger-than-life and completely fantastical, yet very accessible and relate-able too. It's hard for me to pick a favorite character because they all seem like very good friends to me, and I don't want to be rude to them by picking a favorite! All of the characters are fun as soon as you meet them, but as you travel with them and get to know them, you discover how real they truly are. I never get tired of reading about their adventures.
If you love 'Lord of the Rings', 'Chronicles of Narnia', 'Phantastes', or any other classic fantasy, this novel is for you! If you like adventure, action, fantasy, and/or clean family fiction, this book is for you too!
You can buy it on Amazon and Kindle HERE.
Be on the lookout for the release of 'Second Son'! :)