Book review - The King's Council by Kristen Reed
review by Danielle
Long ago, the gods created the fey people in their image. The fire fey were created by the God of Fire, Hesta, while the water, wind, and earth fey were created by the other gods, Euria, Haizea, and Irati. Those same gods passed their essence and powers into the bodies of the four most devout noblemen in the land, creating the first elemental kings of the fey. The Eurian king was given the hands of water, the Haizean king was given the hands of wind, the Iratian king was given the hands of earth, and the Hestian king was given the hands of fire. For thousands of years, those divine powers have been passed from each king to his firstborn prince. until now. The Kings' Council is the story of Alazne Katarin Lorea Viteri, the princess of the fire fey. When a rebellious thief frees the fire-wielding princess from the castle that has served as her prison since birth, she is forced to decide between taking the crown that is rightfully hers and living the life of a normal woman.
Available on Amazon.com: The Kings' Council
The King's Council by Kristen Reed takes us on a journey of justice, the righteous quest of Princess Alazne Viteri of the Fire Fey to claim the throne of Hestia. Forced into isolation and obscurity by her family, we follow her as she casts off the shackles of oppression in an attempt to take back what is rightfully hers. Navigating through a strange, new world she's never experienced before, Alazne's bravery and determination prove that with good friends and even better allies, anything is possible. Struggling with her own demons, ultimately, she fulfills her divine destiny.
This book boasts a broad category of styles and themes including fantasy, vengeance, war and politics, romance, and drama. While many are delivered well, it does appear as though the book's length caused difficulty in expanding on some of these ideas, as there are portions of the book that feel very rushed with lackluster, underdeveloped descriptions. The main ideas are great, but in several instances I personally felt as though major events were just rolling by like tumbleweeds, without any real, palpable conflict at all. Many times I found myself thinking that it seemed like the story was an abridged version of itself. Again, the main themes and ideas are genuinely solid but it seems like the book would have made a much better novel than novella. It needs some room to spread its wings.
Much of the dialogue and choice of writing style itself were trite and predictable. There are instances in the novel in which a distinct lack of nuance or subtlety simplifies an entire conversation between characters. For example, there is a scene in which the Water Prince, Nikola, is talking to Alazne. Rather than insinuating that she was suspicious of him in any way, or implying it by context of dialogue, she bluntly informs you she is still suspicious of his motives. The effect is that of being physically pulled out of the story. It transforms from an intriguing moment to a clinical account of the exchange.
Truly the technique and execution, for me, are a mixed bag of good and bad clichés. Some things I absolutely enjoyed were the descriptions of the Fey Elementals. That was brilliance, the Water people with blue hair and eyes, all manner of different shades, the Fire people with flaming red hair and fiery eyes, and so on for Air and Earth as well. I also enjoyed her visual descriptions of the castles. I really did love the idea of the story, I just think it still needs some working out.
My main critique would be that the number one thing about this story that doesn't sit right with me is how easy everything is for the princess. There might be obstacles in the story, but even the most major scenes are over in four or five pages and are much more a hum than a holler. She never really faces any serious opposition. Not any opposition you feel as the reader, anyway. Everything just works out for her with almost no effort on her part. Everyone trusts and agrees with and likes her too readily. I mean, she escapes from a castle she's been locked in for 25 years in two pages with a total stranger, and the writing just glosses over that. It mutes its own excitement. That, alone, is the absolute biggest problem. It's just too easy for her every step of the way. Fantasy or not, it's unconvincing. The characters are only that: characters. They lack the element of genuine personification. Somehow, Reed is unable to emotionally engage with the audience. I have put several weeks of thought into this: why it is exactly that the book fails to make a real connection with its reader, and I can't come to a specific conclusion. Furthermore, Garaile the thief and bastard, is referred to as a Halfling several times throughout the story. It's because he's half Fire and half Water, but nevertheless, when I read "Halfling," I kept suddenly picturing him at about 40-or-so inches tall with big, hairy feet. Race was never addressed in the novel. Since they're of the Fey realm one can assume they're all Elves or Humans but it should be specified. And, finally, my last major critique is again about the character of Alazne. Another reason she feels totally unbelievable is because she never once actually stops in awe of her surroundings even though she's never seen anything beyond her castle-prison and its courtyard. We never get convincing insight to her feelings of being a complete stranger in nearly every aspect of normal life.
I would recommend this story as it is for young adults. In fact, I read numerous books like this as a teenager and enjoyed every second of them. As a serious novel for adults, I think it needs more event/character development. As it is, it leaves one wanting for more. But Alazne is a good heroine, nevertheless, and she's got a lot to offer as a role model warrior queen.
About The Author
Kristen Reed is an artist, musician, filmmaker, and writer from Dallas, Texas. She served as the screenwriter, executive producer, and co-director for the feature-length film, The Dahl Dynasty, a modern re-imagining of William Shakespeare's Hamlet.
. The Kings' Council's Official Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/thekingscouncil
. Kristen Reed's Official Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kristen-Reed/464643683581087