This review is based on a complimentary book I received from Blog Tours, Books & the Bear Marketing. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.The Shattered Crown by J.W. Webb, Roger Garland
Series: The Legends of Ansu #2
Release Date: July 8, 2015
Publisher: J W Webb
Source: Blog Tours, Books & the Bear Marketing
Purchase at: Amazon
Corin an Fol, Longswordsman and ex mercenary has but one objective: retire early and settle down. Unfortunately the gods have other ideas. When Corin arrives home after many years fighting foreign wars, he finds bad news waiting for him. The High King has been murdered and his crystal crown, the Tekara, destroyed. The Tekara is no ordinary crown. Wrought of solid crystal it contains a charm of strength that has protected the Four Kingdoms for millennia. But the Tekara is vulnerable to one thing: treachery. So when Caswallon the schemer secretly places the crown on Prince Tarin's head he knows it will shatter, causing the realms to fall apart. He stands to gain as soon as it breaks. Though many suspect Caswallon, who is known as a sorcerer, only one dares stand against him: Queen Ariane of Kelwyn. She is visited by her goddess in a dream who warns that Prince Tarin has fled with the shards of the Shattered Crown, and only by finding both Prince and Crown can the Four Kingdoms be saved. After being promised gold, Corin an Fol reluctantly joins the queen's desperate quest to salvage the missing shards. But Caswallon is on to them and already watching their every move.
This is the second book in the Legends of Ansu series but the story takes place one thousand years after then end of book one. This installment can be read as a standalone and I think that this is a great example of heroic fantasy! In case you are not familiar, a heroic fantasy is one in which the hero is reluctant to be a “champion” and is usually of humble origins. The turn of events are usually out of their control and their “mettle” is tested through challenges.
The story focuses on Corin an Fol who is basically a solider/bodyguard for hire. He has been away from home for fourteen years, leaving after the murder of his family, and he has been looking forward to returning and slowing things down a bit. Although what he failed to consider is that things may have changed there and the political climate is not one in which men of his reputation are able to sit on the sidelines.
I enjoyed Corin’s character as a sarcastic, foul-mouthed longswordsman. Longsword is no joke in this story, he fights with a six-foot blade. I can’t even imagine that! From the start you understand that he is a killer but he also has compassion towards others and only wishes to kill those who have it coming. He does not have allegiance to anyone but himself and is drawn into the power struggle between Queen Ariane and Caswallon because he can be bought if the price is high enough. Somewhere along the way he blurs the lines between his self-interest and the interests of others and the fight becomes personal.
Queen Ariane is a great character! I love that she is written as a strong female lead. Even better was that she started out strong. She did not have to go through trials in order to find her inner strength. She had that from the start! She has recently been handed the title as queen due to the untimely death of her father. She may be a young queen but she is a fantastic leader who is not afraid to do her own dirty work to see to the safety of her kingdom. I just loved her character!
The villain Caswollon was simply disturbing! There was not one redeeming feature about his character and that is just fabulous! I love to hate him! It upped the tension level and helped to propel the story on. You did not want him or his minions to succeed. There are many different of flavors of characters in this novel including great secondary characters, gods, spirits and warlocks. Basically, this novel has such diversity that it should appeal to any type of reader.
The ending was a bit rushed and left you on a cliff! It will definitely make you want to grab a copy of the next installment in this series, The Lost Prince. Overall, it was a page turner and would appeal to fans of high fantasy.
*Thank you to Author J.W. Webb via Books & the Bear Marketing for this complimentary copy of The Shattered Crown*