Author: Dylan Madeley
Paperback 288 pages
First published 26 March 2015 by Troubador Publishing
This book follows the youngest descendants of two families that have traditionally been enemies: the Kenderleys, who now rule the world’s largest empire, and the Wancyeks, who have been reduced to common status.
Derek wants nothing more than the leave his old life behind. Never expecting to be send as the gift-knight for a rival dynasty, he is torn between duty and his family history.
Chandra has been thrust into leadership after the death of her father and his wife. As the last living member of her family, she has no choice but to become a despot and rule her country as well as she possibly can.
I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review
This is the debut novel of Dylan Madeley and since it is a fantasy novel in a medieval like setting it was right up my alley. But to be honest, I have some mixed feelings about this book.
First I want to talk about the good stuff, because it was definitely there without question.If you follow my reviews you might have discovered that I love elaborate world building. This includes a description of the world itself, the society, the people, and a history. These points were all in this book, which is absolutely great in my opinion.
It was interesting to learn about the different systems that were used to govern the lands, and how those systems worked (including the political intrigue that was going on).
Next to that are the different cultures, societies, the people, and their issues that are very well described. One specific issue that they were dealing with in Kensrik was the monarchy v.s. parliament discussion. Some wanted monarchy gone because they believed they were corrupt and crazy (no one could blame these people because history tells us that the Kenderleys were just that), while parliament was the best thing that could ever happen to them.
Another definite plus is the medieval like setting with a hint of other time periods (depending on which country you look at). Each country appears to have a different system of ruling, and a different society, so every country could be placed in a different time period. And with a medieval like setting comes magic. Yes, there are hints that there might be magic, but is it true? Is there really magic in this world? I really want to find that out!
(And since I’m Dutch, I was happy to see some Dutch names. Or at least I hope the were meant to be Dutch and not Belgian or German :’))
Now, what is it that gave me the mixed feelings?
If you’ve followed my earlier reviews you might have discovered that I am absolutely pro omniscient narrator (it is often the first person narrator that I have issues with). This time, however, I found that I had some issues with the omniscient narrator. There were so many characters that the narrator was talking about. Derek and Chandra were the main characters, but then there were about three other characters in focus in Kensrik (even more if you considered those in focus for a short time), and there were characters from other timelines.
The timelines themselves were also somewhat confusing, because it felt like I was hopping around, and sometimes I had no clue that I was reading about what happened in a different time. I understand the idea, and I agree that it is rather nice to read that Derek was following in his ancestor’s footsteps on his way to Kensrik, but it would have been nice to have some clear distinction between the now and other time.
Lastly I want to mention character development, because strangely it seemed at if it was there, but it wasn’t really there. At the end of this book, I didn’t feel like any of the characters had really gone through a change. Yes, Chandra somewhat grew into being a monarch, and yes, Derek made a decision. The main characters were certainly complex characters, but it is a stretch to say that there is really any development. It was when I got to the end that I definitely had the feeling that there was a start of a development, but it quite there yet.
Since this book had an open ending, I can’t say that I am looking forward to reading the sequel. But I do hope that there will be a sequel because there is much that I still want to know more about. The world building was great in so many ways and I really liked the setting. However, there were some points that didn’t really do it for me including the hopping around from one timeline to another, the amount of characters that were in focus, and the character development that might or might not be there. I decided to give this book three stars because I did like it even though I have some mixed feeling about it.
Have you read this book? If yes, what did you think? And if no; would you read this book and why? Do leave your answer in the comment section below!