Book Title: Kings of Paradise
Author: Richard Nell
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: E-book review copy provided by the author
Plot Summary: Ruka, son of Beyla, is a monster. Single-born, twisted, and ugly, Ruka has the bright, golden eyes of a wolf, but his mind is as vast as the open sky.Thank you, Richard Nell, for providing me with a review copy of this book. Also a big thank you goes to Esme over at the Weatherwaxreport for setting up TBRindr.
Born in the frozen, snow-covered wasteland of the Ascom—the land of ash—Ruka was spared from death at birth by his mother’s love. Now, he is an outlaw, and dreams only of vengeance. But can a broken genius find redemption? Or once he has the world in his grasp, will he simply break it apart?
Across a wide sea is the white-sand island paradise of Sri Kon.
Ratama Kale Alaku is fourth and youngest son of the island monarch men call the Sorcerer King. And at sixteen, Kale is a disappointment. His father has sent him away to the navy, perhaps in hopes of salvaging a once-promising child, or perhaps just to get rid of him.
Now Kale must prove his worth - and not just to his father. He must become more than a wastrel prince, or else lose all hope of purpose, or love.
What did I think?
This is a fantastic debut novel, and by the end, I felt like I'd just stepped off a roller coaster. The story unfolds organically, and is essentially a coming of age tale, connecting several characters. But despite their young ages, be warned, this is a very dark novel. After all, it opens with a boy who has just killed another boy, and he is now eating him.
It's dark, but not bleak. There's hope.
Kings of Paradise is very complex and filled with politics, different cultures and intricate world building, which is slowly revealed through each character's point of view as they grow and mature. The setting feels unique and is rich and detailed. It's a brutal world, but none of the gory events feel unnecessary, all of them are believable.
At over 600 pages, Kings of Paradise is a long book, but it's engaging until the very end, the stakes are incredibly high, and the pacing is fantastic. Throughout the book, I never really knew where the author would take us, and many twists and turns took me by surprise.
Richard Nell is a very talented writer, and I found the prose elegant, and the way plot, world building and character development was revealed pretty impressive.
I am very fond of Kale, the prince, who is a disappointment, but all characters are fleshed out and get developed in incredible ways. They behave in questionable ways, and often repulsed me, but I could understand their actions and reasons to the very end, and despite everything I was rooting for them. However, I don't want to meet any of them in a dark alley. Especially Ruka. He's a fantastic character. One I loved at first but feared by the end. I must admit, he's the only one who ended up losing my sympathy, though I still understood why he was acting the way he was.
I recommend Kings of Paradise to readers who enjoy morally grey characters, grimdark fantasy, and are looking for a complex plot.