Hello Humans! It is day two of my #ABookADay reading challenge for June and it’s the first book I’ll be attempting to read from start to finish – as you’ll remember from my readalong for The Light Between Worlds my next read was Nicholas Eames’ Kings of the Wyld. I’m a little trepidatious going into this one but I have high hopes and Justine (who recommended it) has never steered me wrong.
Their glory days long past, the mercs have grown apart and grown old, fat, drunk – or a combination of the three. Then an ex-bandmate turns up at Clay’s door with a plea for help. His daughter Rose is trapped in a city besieged by an enemy one hundred thousand strong and hungry for blood. Rescuing Rose is the kind of mission that only the very brave or the very stupid would sign up for.
It’s time to get the band back together for one last tour across the Wyld.
Chapter One – Six
The nice thing about reading on a Kindle is I know when I’m 10% in and it guilts me into writing check-ins instead of just keeping going.
I LIKE THIS. All I knew from Justine is she said it was ‘very boy fantasy’ which isn’t typically something I enjoy. But actually, it’s quite clear even this early on in reading that these aren’t ‘lads’, nor are they ignorant farmboys. It’s older men, men with history and friendships and, most importantly – at least for my part – perspective.
I love the whole ‘band’ thing, the fact that they have a booker makes me chuckle, it’s a really fun way of framing a gang of…mercenaries I guess? It’s unclear who paid them.
Some great writing so far, I can’t wait to meet the rest of the band!
Chapter Seven – Eleven
YAY MORE CHARACTERS.
I’m still really enjoying this, it has such a clear identity and a clear direction it’s really satisfying to read.
Worth warning you, if you don’t like spiders maybe skip these chapters, and if you’re hungry maybe eat something because we have no breakfast in the house and now I have regrets.
It’s pretty quick reading, the plot is there right from the first chapter and it doesn’t feel as though it’s slowing down any time soon. I looked it up and the paperback is just over 500 pages, this doesn’t feel like that long of a book, at least at this stage, but perhaps that’s the digital format.
Yay for a bunch of dads having a midlife crisis in book form.
Chapter Twelve – Sixteen
Add snakes to the list of things this book has in it that some may wish to avoid. I think this was the most fun of the chunks I’ve read so far, it has some antics that are borderline farcical involving a river and a flaming arrow – I honestly don’t want to ruin it for anyone who wants to read this books for themselves.
This might be the best dad book I’ve ever encountered.
It’s strange, the cover and the concept would normally get me to walk swiftly in the other direction, as my mum says ‘Judith likes things with swirly writing on the cover’ – not an inaccurate statement. But it just goes to show that books can surprise you and that you should trust the recommendations of your friends even when you’re not 100% sure.
Bring on the next chunk I am excited and deeply invested in the fate of all of these characters.
Chapter Seventeen – Twenty-one
AHHHHHHH SO GOOD. I honestly can’t quite pin down why but I do love this. I think it’s in part because everything is so logical, they meet a character, get a new piece of information, act on it, face the consequences. There’s a little bit of a Pratchett influence there, at least I feel there is, that sense that it doesn’t quite matter what happens in the big picture, you’re just reading a fun story for the sake of having fun.
And yes, these characters make a lot of dick jokes, my favourite was the one about the Gorgon, but it manages to not feel laddish or sexist or annoying – a feat I would honestly have never thought possible. 10/10 would laugh along with these men before helping them to punch someone in the face.
Chapter Twenty-two – Twenty-eight
I feel like every check-in is going to read pretty similarly unless I pick a theme every time because this book is just good. I’m officially halfway through (bodes well for my goal to finish this today) and I’m excited to read what comes next.
I was a little worried that all the women in this book would be relegated to wives, daughters, evil queens and potential sexual prospects, but actually, it’s been a nice mixed bunch and even those who do fit into those categories are broader characters than just being that thing. It’s still a man-heavy book but it certainly isn’t 80s fantasy treatment of women – at least not yet.
Chapter Twenty-nine – Thirty-four
A very fighty segment, which I suppose I should have expected at some point, I think I like the dialogue and the conversations between characters too much to want to read descriptions of them hitting people with things, though there are some beautiful moments within the fight scenes that might just make them worth it.
We’ve also finally reached the Wylds which is very exciting, there is a map at the start of the book but, as any Kindle reader will probably know, trying to decipher the tiny greyscale map, especially with my eyesight, is a bit of a fruitless endeavour. As a result, I’m not as sure of the terrain or the distances as I might be if I were reading a physical copy – not too important but I thought it was interesting.
Here’s to the next 10%, hopefully more talky less fighty.
Chapter Thirty-five – Thirty-Eight
OH THIS BIT WAS GOOD. Not going to spoil anything for you but I think this is the start of really getting to the meat of the story. I mean, there has been a lot of things going on before this but it felt very much like they only had a part of the puzzle where now we’re starting to see more of the truth, or at least, a version of the truth.
That was a quick 10% so I’m going straight into the next segment, MORE KNOWLEDGE PLEASE.
Chapter Thirty-nine – Forty-Five
CW: A brief description of domestic abuse
So much plot is happening I almost can’t keep up with it – I genuinely can’t work out how this book is going to end, who will survive, who could turn out to be evil – I DON’T KNOW? I’m slightly nervous that this will have a sad ending (only 20% left) and I’m not sure I can cope with a sad ending right now…
Would this book make an excellent father’s day gift? For a very specific dad – probably!
Chapter Forty-six – End
I did the last 20% in one go because EVERYTHING was happening and I didn’t want to stop reading. I think that’s probably all I need to say about this ending – it’s exactly right for this book.
From start to finish this book knows exactly what it is and what it is doing. It’s rare for me to find a book that manages to keep the pace and the quality of writing throughout but Kings of the Wyld does it impeccably. I’m so glad that I went outside my comfort zone and read this. I loved the characters, Clay in particular, and I’m truly dying to read the next book (probably after the month is over to be honest).
My rating: 5/5 stars – a gut feeling more than anything, I had a great time!
I bought this book myself, all opinions are my own.
What will the TBR jar pick next?
If you follow me on Instagram you may already know that Stormdancer is set to be the third book in my #ABookADay challenge. It’s another book that has been sat on my Kindle TBR for ages and I’ll be interested to see how it compares to Kristoff’s current work!
What say you? Are there any other good books with older men in them? Let me know in the comments below!