King’s Folly

King’s FollyKing's Folly by Jill Williamson
Series: The Kinsman Chronicles
Genres: Fantasy
Published by Bethany House on April 5, 2016
Pages: 560

 

About King’s Folly (from the back cover):
The gods are angry.

Volcanic eruptions, sinkholes, ground shakers–everything points to their unhappiness. At least that is what the king of Armania believes. His son, Prince Wilek, thinks his father’s superstitions are nonsense, though he remains the ever dutiful First Arm of Armania.

When a messenger arrives and claims that the town of Farway has been swallowed by the earth, the king sends Wilek to investigate. But what Wilek discovers is more cataclysmic than one lost city. Even as the ground shifts beneath his feet, Wilek sets out on a desperate journey to save his people and his world. But can he do it before the entire land crumbles?

I have been wanting to read Jill Williamson for several years, but never could catch the beginning of a new series.  I’ve heard great things about her writing ever since her debut novel nearly 5 years ago.  I’m pleased to say that from reading the King’s Folly that her talents have not been overstated and she truly is a remarkable author.  Her writing is easy to read and she does a wonderful job of creating a fantasy world that is part medieval and part Old Testament.  The characters are engaging and a plot that could be completely unwieldy is instead easy to read while remaining deep and complex. I’m impressed.

When I first open this book, I was a little overwhelmed by the cast of characters.  It is quite a daunting list and I was concerned I was going to need to flip back and forth to keep everyone straight.  Fortunately, while the list looks daunting, the writing keeps the characters fresh in the reader’s mind.  The main characters are rotated through frequently and their supporting characters are either exceptionally memorable or utilized often enough so that they are remembered.  I was very surprised that given the number of characters, that they were all useful and had an important role in the book.

When I first open this book, I was a little overwhelmed by the cast of characters; it is quite a daunting list

The characters are truly enjoyable to follow; I loved watching them develop and grow.  My favorite is definitely Trevn.  He’s quick and intelligent, willing to be a renegade, and young but with common sense.  He’s just fun and he makes this story fun.  Overall it’s a pretty serious book, but Trevn brings hope.  I look forward to see more of his adventures in the next book.

King’s Folly is complex.  It doesn’t have just one complex plot, it has multiple complex plots.

King’s Folly is complex.  It doesn’t have just one complex plot, it has multiple complex plots.  It’s not hard to follow, but there is a lot to this story.  The reader will not feel cheated by the rich depth of this book—it is very satisfying.  I cannot image the time and effort spent creating not just the world and the characters, but the different storylines.  Yet it is one of the easiest to read fantasy novels I’ve come across.

There’s a little bit of everything in King’s Folly.  Aside from the question of who will become heir, there is the natural disasters, conspiracies, politics, corruption, prophecies, murder, court drama, forbidden romance, coming of age, magic, and more.

There’s a little bit of everything in King’s Folly.  Aside from the question of who will become heir, there is the natural disasters, conspiracies, politics, corruption, prophecies, murder, court drama, forbidden romance, coming of age, magic, and more.  I particularly liked how this book captured the feel of Old Testament prophecies and the time period of the kings.  From prophecies to Israel’s rebellion, to the king’s harem, the reader can feel the influence of scripture.  Jill really brings to life what it could have been like when Israel’s kings strayed and were sacrificing their own children to appease a god who didn’t exist.  I love these Old Testament elements and hope they continue to be a foundation for the remainder of the series.

I keep coming back to the word impressed to describe the various elements of King’s Folly and while I realize that might sound like a bland adjective for a fantasy novel, it is truly a compliment.  This is an impressive book.  The writing is fantastic and the storyline epic.  But most of all, it’s fun to read; I was thoroughly entertained.  I can hardly wait for the next book.  I look forward to meeting up with the characters again and finding out what happens in the next part of their journey.

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