Book Title: KingsholdWhat did I think?
Author: D. P. Wooliscroft
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: Review Copy directly from the author
Thank you to D. P. Woolliscroft for this ARC.
Goodreads, Amazon UK
Plot: Mareth is a bard, a serial under achiever, a professional drunk, and general disappointment to his father. Despite this, Mareth has one thing going for him. He can smell opportunity. The King is dead and an election for the new Lord Protector has been called. If he plays his cards right, if he can sing a story that will put the right person in that chair, his future fame and drinking money is all but assured. But, alas, it turns out Mareth has a conscience after all.
Neenahwi is the daughter to Jyuth, the ancient wizard who founded the Kingdom of Edland and she is not happy. It’s not just that her father was the one who killed the King, or that he didn’t tell her about his plans. She’s not happy because her father is leaving, slinking off into retirement and now she has to clean up his mess.
Alana is a servant at the palace and the unfortunate soul to draw the short straw to attend to Jyuth. Alana knows that intelligence and curiosity aren’t valued in someone of her station, but sometimes she can’t help herself and so finds herself drawn into the Wizard’s schemes, and worst of all, coming up with her own plans.
Chance brings this unlikely band together to battle through civil unrest, assassinations, political machinations, pirates and monsters, all for a common cause that they know, deep down, has no chance of succeeding – bringing hope to the people of Kingshold.
The King and Queen are hated, then murdered and now election is upon Kingshold.
Kingshold follows a group of characters who are all linked. There's Mareth the bard, who doesn't really know what to do with life. He sleeps and drinks a lot. To me, that sounds like an amazing life, but he's not happy. Alana is the personal servant of the wizard, Jyuth. She's incredibly clever and her chapters were a joy to read. Then there's Hoskin, temporarily in charge until the election is over. He's a bit grumpy because, well, things are a mess. Motega and his group of friends are doing odd jobs. They're a treat to read about, and definitely a charming bunch of blokes. Neenahwi is a kick-ass character with a sordid past. She's not happy either, mostly because her adopted father, Jyuth, after something like 800 years, wants to simply retire and leave Kingshold for good.
All characters are very well developed and bring something to the table. It took me a few chapters to get used to the prose and the author's voice, but before long I found myself chuckling a lot. It's a light read with a lot of wit and the occasional sarcastic quip.
The world building is mostly focused on the city of Kingshold, but it feels like a real place including affluent neighbourhoods, slums and, of course, the palace. The magic is interesting and I can't wait to find out more about the different creatures that live in this world.
Kingshold starts out slowly. I believe it moves at a slower pace than your average fantasy book. That isn't a bad thing. In fact, I quite enjoyed discovering more about Kingshold and the characters before I got to that point about halfway through, where I simply had to keep reading until I reached the last page.
I recommend Kingshold to any fantasy fan who ever wondered what would happen if one day a monarchy decided to have democratic (sort of) elections instead of replacing the dead king.