Title: King of Ashes
Author: Raymond E. Feist
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Number of pages: 545
“Thousands of men had died needlessly so that two madmen could betray a good king.”
King of Ashes is the first instalment of Raymond E. Feist’s new fantasy saga: The Firemane Saga. With this book Feist demonstrates again why I have loved his books in the past so much.
Starting off in a battlefield, witnessing the execution of the royal family of Ithrace – you know you are entering a world full of intrigues and power struggles.
After centuries of peace amongst the five kingdoms, the four kingdoms of North and South Tembria turn on the kingdom of Ithrace. With the entire royal family of the Firemane slaughtered, the kingdom of Ithrace is destroyed. However, the infant son of the Firemane king, Steven Langeren, is saved and smuggled out of the kingdom. He is sent to the Kingdom of Night where he is to be raised and trained in the skills of the powerful and lethal Nocusara.
16 years later the infant boy, now called Hatu, has grown up and is still under training. He has always known he is different, by the way he is treated, but also for his red bright hair that he has to keep hidden. As he sets out on his final part of the training, events will unfold that will make sure that the last son of the Firemane will find his way home.
At the same time, Declan, an orphaned smith’s apprentice is close to become a smith and maybe even taking over his masters place when he has reached the next level. He is working under Edvalt, a legend within his field, who also fought in the wars. However, his life changes when soldiers reach his village and changes his course.
King of Ashes is the kind of fantasy book that I really enjoy, there is a lot of character and world building, there are plot twist and it is well written. Nevertheless, there were some parts where I found myself drifting off a little, the character building is something that I appreciate, but here there was a little too much. That could have been shortened down just fine in my opinion.
I enjoyed seing them in their different environments and how they developed, and as the story goes on you can see how some of their paths will cross. The plotting is always my favourite part, seeing how a character thinks, weighs the information they receive and how they choose to act on it. I can see the pieces moving, but for some I cannot be sure of their next move -which makes it exciting.
Overall, it was an enjoyable book. I really liked the plot, the characters and how the storyline progressed. The only thing dragging it a bit down was that some parts where a bit slow, where I lost focus and felt that it was dragged out a bit. It is not much, but enough for me to notice it. With that said: I cannot wait for the next book in this saga.