Note: some minor spoilers.
The King’s Blood is the second book in Daniel Abraham’s “The Dagger and the Coin” series, and I’ve been looking forward to this since finishing the first book, The Dragon’s Path. Abraham has built an interesting world around the 13 races of humanoids left behind after the rule of dragons had ended. What drew me in, and has kept me going through this second book, is how the rather mundane heroes can make choices with far-reaching effects. Above all of the squabbles and infighting among the Severed Throne and other kingdoms (and the politicking within) is the return of a long-forgotten cult bent on taking over the world. Sounds like pretty standard fantasy fare, yes, but the difference is the characters. Much like George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, each chapter is seen from the viewpoint of one of a few different characters. So far, the number of viewpoints hasn’t gotten out of hand, especially when you include a main character death or two. I’ve grown rather fond of these characters, especially Marcus Wester and Yardem Hane (big happenings there!) and Cithrin, Magistra of the Medean bank in Porte Oliva. Clara Kalliam comes into her own, but I’m left wanting more Master Kit. He’s going to figure huge in the next book, so I’m really looking forward to that.
One improvement from The Dragon’s Path is in the character Geder Palliako, who started out as a boring, unimportant minor noble and has ended up as something much more – a pawn of the Spider goddess who wants to eat the world. There is one time in The King’s Blood where I thought Geder might smarten up for the love of a woman, and realize just what was happening, but no, he can’t shake his horrible choices, and remains basically oblivious. It’s great. There’s no big mustache-twirling villain, just people doing what people do, and leaving carnage in their wake.
If you love the A Song of Ice and Fire series, whether on HBO or in print, I can’t recommend this enough. It also helps that Daniel seems to write one heck of a lot faster than GRRM. Heh.
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