This is a changeup from the usual baseball writing you see on this site, but if you’ve read my about section at all you’ll know that fantasy baseball is not the only genre of fantasy of which I have an interest.
I received this book from Gallery / Saga Press and Netgalley.com in exchange for fair and honest review.
The Kingdom of Liars is a debut novel by Nick Martell which he wrote in his last two years of college. The setting is a place called Hollow on an alternate world from our own that takes place around the time of the industrial revolution and the move towards gun powder but combined with magical elements.
Here’s the blurb from the publisher:
“In this brilliant debut fantasy, a story of secrets, rebellion, and murder are shattering the Hollows, where magic costs memory to use, and only the son of the kingdom’s despised traitor holds the truth.
Michael is branded a traitor as a child because of the murder of the king’s nine-year-old son, by his father David Kingman. Ten years later on Michael lives a hardscrabble life, with his sister Gwen, performing crimes with his friends against minor royals in a weak attempt at striking back at the world that rejects him and his family.
In a world where memory is the coin that pays for magic, Michael knows something is there in the hot white emptiness of his mind. So when the opportunity arrives to get folded back into court, via the most politically dangerous member of the kingdom’s royal council, Michael takes it, desperate to find a way back to his past. He discovers a royal family that is spiraling into a self-serving dictatorship as gun-wielding rebels clash against magically trained militia.
What the truth holds is a set of shocking revelations that will completely change the Hollows, if Michael and his friends and family can survive long enough to see it.”
The book places the reader right into the deep end, beginning at the end of the story and then making its way back to that point throughout the course of the novel. It is told in the first-person with who is not an entirely reliable narrator. There are no all at once data dumps about the magic system or history of the world, but details are revealed at the appropriate times and you will have to be patient and stick with it as your reward. There is no spoon-feeding going on here.
The main character, Michael Kingman, is likable, crafty, and reasonably intelligent, but really is not particularly special, but simply driven and stubborn. Since the book is in the first-person you don’t get a lot of character development from characters not named Michael, but on the other hand, none of them seem two-dimensional or lacking in depth.
While the book contains one or two moments that seem a bit on the “too convenient” side, they are outweighed by far by the moments I didn’t see coming and how the mysteries are neatly tied together to a satisfying conclusion that leaves me eagerly awaiting the next book.
Did I say next book? Yes this is the first of a brand-new trilogy entitled “The Legacy of the Mercenary Kings”
On a scale of one to five, I’m giving it a 4 and am eager to see if he can top it with the following novels. The book is available on Kindle and electronic formats on May 7th and in Hardcover this coming June.
And yes I’ll be back with more baseball content soon as we move to the start of whenever hte season begins. But keep an eye out for more book reviews as well and perhaps even some baseball-related books in addition to the fantasy/sci-fi content.