Jaguar Knights (A Chronicle of the King’s Blades #3) (King’s Blades #6)

c37bc521676be91334f54e44717bb38fThis review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.com & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

 

 

 

 

Title: Jaguar Knights

Series: King’s Blades

Author: Dave Duncan

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 400

Format: Hardcover

 

Synopsis:

An attack on an outpost in Chivial, where the former Royal Mistress resides, leads to her kidnapping. An apparently new kind of magic that even the Inquisitors haven’t seen before leads to Sir Wolfe being sent on a mission to far away Txiltia. With an Inquisitor as a wife!

Mix in Sir Wolfe’s brother, who was the Blade protecting the Royal Mistress and a world based on the Aztecs and you have tale that drags you along!

 

My Thoughts:

With this being my 6th, and final, King’s Blades book, I have realized that Duncan seems to delight in telling a completely different tale with each story. He also seems to like turning characters from former books on their heads.

This was brutal on so many levels. The blood magic of the Txlitians was definitely human sacrifice, harvesting bloody hearts to perform incredible feats of magic. It turned my stomach even while not being gone into detail. Then near the end where Wolfe’s wife dies. That cut! Duncan did a fantastic job of making Dolores and Wolfe a real thing.

I also had NO idea where the story was going, or what the end would be until I got there. It was good.

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Impossible Odds (A Chronicle of the King’s Blades #2) (King’s Blades #5)

5ed18d2325c3329268d72b8d6955c84bThis review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.leafmarks.com & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

 

 

 

 

Title: Impossible Odds

Series: King’s Blades

Author: Dave Duncan

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 384

Format: Hardcover

 

Synopsis:

Grand Duke Rubin has been deposed. He seeks assistance from the King of Chivial who agrees to Bind some Blades to him. Only no Blades are available. So 2 young and unprepared men are bound to the Duke. Along with them is a damaged Blade who can never be bound due to defects in his eyes. They also drag along a former White Sister who seems to be very powerful.

All this time, someone is hounding the Duke across the continent. His bride is dead, his child and heir is dead and it appears that his martial Uncle is the one behind it all. Now the small group must return to the Duke’s home and figure out a way to retake the kingdom.

Of course, nothing is as it seems and political intrigue twists EVERYTHING on its head.

 

My Thoughts:

It was good to get back into this series. I’d read the previous book, Paragon Lost, back in ’14 and was wondering if I’d need a refresher, but thankfully, this was a standalone novel. It did make mention of previous books and events, but honestly, I couldn’t remember who was who or did what. And it didn’t matter a whit.

This was a great book for intrigue. The “Duke” who the Blades are bound to is actually the Duke’s wife under a disguise spell. Their son is alive and the real Duke appears to be in captivity under his Uncle’s control.  Knowing Duncan from his previous writings, I knew that what I was presented with still wasn’t how things actually were. So I just sat back and enjoyed the ride along with the characters.

Things work out pretty happily in the end. My only issue with this book was that the real Duke was a loli-con. That means he preferred young woman barely pubescent. It wasn’t portrayed as good or gone into detail, but it IS part of the story and left me feeling slightly soiled.

Paragon Lost (A Chronicle of the King’s Blades #1) (King’s Blades #4)

bfbea582ccb36936306b9859be147ca2 This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.tumblr.com by express permission of this reviewer

Title: Paragon Lost

Series: A Chronicle of the King’s Blades #1, King’s Blades #4

Author: Dave Duncan

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 348

 

Synopsis:

Sir Beaumont heads up a special journey to get a new Queen for their King. And because of Politics and other bad things, completes the mission but loses all status and is kicked out of Iron Hall.

And the story finishes with him really completing the Mission and getting it all back.

 

My Thoughts:

There are times where I hate Duncan’s use of the split timeline. We start the book at the 2/3rds mark chronologically, get introduced to the situation, then immediately jump back to the beginning, hear about that, then jump to the resolution.

It isn’t nice neat segments though. But huge parts so you forget where you were or where you were heading. That is the main reason I took a star off.

Other than that, this was a great King’s Blades story. While it is a stand-alone story, you are definitely served by knowing the history of the previous 3 books in the series.

Think European magic swordsmen in Russia. Messy, cold, brutal and lots of paranoia and fear.  More about politics and international incidents than magic sword fighting though. Well, you can’t win them all.

Sky of Swords (A Tale of the King’s Blades)

5c6eb10e9ea3dd07917e84418ed80e33 This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com by express permission of this reviewer

 

Synopsis

The story of Princess Malinda and how this and the previous 2 books completely revolve around her without us even knowing it.

And all the points that don’t make sense fall into place and the puzzle is a complete picture now.

 

My Thoughts

This follows 2 timelines, one when Malinda is growing up and one when she is imprisoned later in life.

I didn’t care for the first half of the book. Malinda was a spoiled brat as a kid and as a prisoner. I almost gave up to be honest, it was that bad.

Then things got completely awesome! Malinda changed. She matured and the story was around her but not necessarily about her. In many ways, this was just setup to explain the other 2 books.

When I realized what was going on, around the 300 page mark, I started exclaiming, loudly and vehemently and laughing. Because everything suddenly made sense! All the inconsistencies, the direct contradictions, the things that couldn’t BOTH be true? It worked.

And while many authors would have made a real hash of this trilogy, Duncan does it awesomely. He writes well, he writes internally consistently and the story is exciting and enjoyable. I borrowed the first 2 books in paperback from my brother. After I read the first book, I bought the whole trilogy in hardcover.

I HIGHLY recommend this to anyone who wants a taut, exciting, suspenseful and political story.

 

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Author: Dave Duncan

Sky of Swords

A Tale of the King’s Blades #3

The Gilded Chain (A Tale of the King’s Blades)

bfdd0e7fb18e125075f70bd81fa96aefThis review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com by express permission of this reviewer

 

Synopsis

A young blade is bound to a foppish nobleman, only to find he’s just a pawn in the politics of the kingdom. He is then rebound to the King, has a series of adventures in a foreign land, comes home and ends up as Prime Chancellor, only to have his adventures in foreign lands come back to haunt him in the worst way. And Ambrose, the king, is still playing politics.

 

My Thoughts

When I finished Lord of the FirelandsI didn’t see how Duncan could write another novel that was as good, much less better. Well, I was wrong and glad of it.

This was a corker of a novel.  It dealt almost exclusively with Chivian politics and characters and we find out a lot more about the workings of Ambrose the King and his attitude towards the Blades, the Kingdom, just about everything.

In this book we follow Blade Durendal, as he is used, abused and treated like an object instead of a man by his king. We get to see how Durendal must reconcile his magical bonding [which allows him to in no way harm the king] with his strong sense of right and wrong.

The issue at hand is immortality, but at such a cost that Durendal knows it is evil. We see him from the start of his Blade years until his retirement and at each point along the way he must be so imaginatively creative in his thinking and doing that it was a true feat of mental gymnastics. It was a joy to read.

This was a straight up adventure story seasoned with a little fighting, a little politics, a little magic and a little romance. Highly recommended!

 

Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Author: Dave Duncan

The Gilded Chain

A Tale of the King’s Blades #2

Lord of the Firelands (A Tale of the King’s Blades)

16ba689e4ab581c1dc3f42363df106fdThis review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com by express permission of this reviewer

 

Synopsis

2 young men graduate from a school where they are trained to be the King’s bodyguards, magically bound and in the binding given great powers.

Only these 2 youngsters don’t take the oath of fealty and a whole story of the past rolls forth from that. It also propels them both towards a future they can only guess at.

 

My Thoughts

This story starts out with the above as the beginning: 2 youngsters graduating. Which leads to a confrontation with the king and a history is revealed.

That history starts with a sacking of a town and the kidnapping of a young lord. Said young lord helps out the raiders leader with another sacking, which gets the raider the kingship of his land. He marries a royal he kidnapped in the second raid and has a son.

We follow the son growing up until he is forced from the land in a coup.

Then we switch to after the confrontation with the king and the young man, Raider and his Blade, Wasp, go back to Baelland to see if Raider can take back the kingship. Ends up becoming the next king and making war on the land that he graduated from.

If you think my synopsis and first couple of paragraphs are confusing, I agree. This book was not strictly linear and great parts were not about the main character, but setup and explanation.

It made for a great read, but not easily explained. The political intrigue, the action, the characterization, it all was top notch. Very little swordplay but I barely missed it.

There are 3 books in the King’s Blades series, but from the little forward that Duncan included, it sounds like they are overlapping somewhat and telling things from different viewpoints, once again not linear story telling.

I am looking forward to the next 2 books.

 

Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Author: Dave Duncan

Lord of the Firelands

A Tale of the King’s Blades #1