Book review

Kings of the Wyld

by Nicholas Eames

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“It’s time to get the band back together.”

Many things to like here, in particular the core idea of the adventurer teams as analogous to rock bands, complete with tours and arenas and individual characters, and many lines quoted from movies about bands that you’ll know – from Blues Brothers to The Princess Bride to Spinal Tap. That worked brilliantly, and lent the book a different and often very funny perspective. The characters were well drawn, too, in particular Clay Cooper, but also some of the more peripheral characters – I would love to see more of Jain and her band, for example.

There are some very funny lines in here, though, even aside from the references to other things:

“Please,” he prayed to whichever of Grandual’s gods was in charge of killing people at random with the corpses of chimeras, “grant me this one… fucking… thing.”

Or we could go with:

“They served the most incredible brunch: poached basilisk eggs and toasted bread with brown butter preserve. No one does a good basilisk egg anymore,” he remarked sadly, and Clay heard Ganelon mutter under his breath: What the fuck is brunch?

For me, although there was a lot to like, the flow of the story didn’t always work, and there was perhaps a little too much “deus ex machina” intervention to keep the plot moving forward. In the end, this was still a very entertaining book, and an excellent first novel. I will read more from Nicholas Eames, for sure. But the original and still the best, for me, of this modern fantasy genre is Joe Abercrombie. Up against such illustrious comparisons very few can hold up, but I can still give Kings of the Wyld a happy four stars.

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