Synopsis: GLORY NEVER GETS OLD.
Clay Cooper and his band were once the best of the best, the most feared and renowned crew of mercenaries this side of the Heartwyld.
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–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.
Corey: I have a confession to make: When I first heard about this book, I was worried that the premise was a little gimmicky. The idea of this band of mercenaries as a fantasy fiction analog to a rock n’ roll band coming out of retirement for ONE! FINAL! TOUR! I just wasn’t sure what to think. But now? I think it’s a fucking brilliant concept! Nicholas Eames has delivered an incredibly original debut novel, and created a richly imagined fantasy world I’m eager to see more of. Kings of the Wyld is funny as hell, loaded with great action sequences, and also written with a ton of heart.
Holly: Kings of the Wyld was the funniest, most original fantasy I have read in quite some time. It is like a less grim Joe Abercrombie roadtrip novel, but also completely unique in it’s own right. It is so cleverly written – the weapons are the equivalent to what their band instruments would be, for instance. It was action packed without taking away from character development, well-paced & just all-around perfectly executed. I seriously loved everything about this book, which is pretty rare!
The story really sings when it comes to the characters. The band consisting of Clay, Moog, Gabriel, Matrick, Ganelon. The vibrant secondary characters – Jain, Larkspur, Kit, Kal, Lastleaf. They are such a brilliant cast of personalities! I loved the five main mercenaries so damn much, but I must focus on my standouts. My absolute favorite character was Clay. I think in ways he is relatable to many of us. The reliable, slightly cynical good guy role. And MOOG! He is just so fucking weird & wacky! I adore him. He pretty much made me laugh the entire time. I also couldn’t get enough of the foul-mouthed Jain (& the Silk Arrows!) There are so many characters to enjoy!
I am just in awe of Nicholas Eames. This is his DEBUT novel. Fucking hell.
Corey: I think one of my favorite things about this book is how Eames just packs it FULL of every imaginable fantasy creature/monster. It seems like there’s a trend in modern fantasy to be a bit cautious about utilizing some of the more classic or old-fashioned monsters. You can almost imagine him just saying “Fuck it” and having so much fun populating his world with ALL THE MONSTERS. Dragons? Of course. Cyclops? Why not. Centaurs? Minotaurs? We got those, too. A gorgon? A chimera? Bring it. To say nothing of the legendary & elusive owlbear, which may or may not even exist. I’m not saying nothin’.
Holly: Hell yes! Not to mention goblins, wyverns, succubus, giants, trolls, ogres. ALL OF THE GODDAMN MONSTERS! Like you said, he enthusiastically threw a variety of monsters & mythological creatures into the Wyld mix. It’s very much like a Dungeons & Dragons adventure in that sense (that owlbear reference, though!) And yet, it’s never cartoonish or overwhelming.
Then, there are the human aspects. The incurable rot, which slowly eats away at your body until you succumb to the disease. The monsters being bred in the cities to fight bands in arenas for entertainment. The diversity, which is such a glorious non-issue in this book. It’s sad that we still have to applaud such things in 2017, but we do. And so, thank you Nicholas Eames! Thank you for including such a wonderful range of characters. We need diversity in all genres, but especially in fantasy & sci-fi where it seems to lack the most.
This felt like a love song written for fans of music, gaming & fantasy novels. It is truly such an innovative, fun read!
Corey: I also love the approach here. It seems like every new fantasy book is the start of a trilogy! So this is a bit of a different take, being a standalone set in a vast new fantasy world. And we know now that Eames is hard at work on the followup, which will feature some of the characters from Kings of the Wyld. I just think he set himself up really nicely, to be able to tell smaller stories, and to maybe also introduce some storylines that will take multiple books to resolve themselves. I think the sky is pretty much the limit here, and I’m just really excited to jump into this world at the very beginning.
Holly: Yeah, I guess I can forgive him for making us fall in love with Saga & then moving on from their story in the next book. It will be pretty badass with Rose leading the way, for sure. BUT I ALREADY MISS THIS GROUP OF MERCENARIES SO DAMN MUCH!
Ultimately what I loved most about Kings of the Wyld wasn’t the laugh out loud humor, the intense battles or the incredible world Eames has created. What really captured me above all else was the friendship between the five band members. It was beautifully written by Eames. He makes you care for these characters from the very beginning & right through to the feel-good end!
Corey: Absolutely! These are a fascinating & lovable group of characters. And something tells me we haven’t seen the last of guys like Clay Cooper & Moog!
Holly: Even though this is going to be a series, it ends in such a way that it could be a standalone story for those who have issues with cliffhangers or waiting for a series to be completed. Trust me though, you will want more where this came from once you are finished! It does not disappoint. Kings of the Wyld is bound to be one of *the* books of the year! What an absolutely brilliant debut by Nicholas Eames!
The Grimdragons Rating: 5 elusive owlbears!