Welcome back everyone! Today is my stop on The Write Reads blog tour for Kings and Daemons by Marcus Lee!
Over fifty years have passed since Daleth the seemingly immortal Witch-King, and his army conquered the Ember Kingdom.
Now, with the once fertile lands and its enslaved people dying around him, the Witch-King, driven by his insatiable thirst for eternal youth, prepares his forces to march on the prosperous neighbouring Freestates. It will be the beginnings of a conquest that could destroy nations, bringing death and destruction on an unimaginable scale.
Then, when a peasant huntress whose rare gift was concealed from birth is exposed, it sets in motion a chain of events that could alter the destiny of generations to come.
This book was such a surprise and totally one that might have slipped under my radar. A tale of a grim, desolate kingdom where hope is lost and the end is on it’s way. And yet, one girl with a secret gift, a man living on the edges of society and another carrying the demon that cursed him, all setting themselves against the vicious king. It absolutely has everything going for it.
The story begins with Maya, a peasant girl with a healing gift that is as dangerous as it is conspicous. Her power being so present that it heals her mother as she is giving birth to her. Many POV’s are used across this story but Maya is one of the main few. I found it hard not to care for her or feel for her predicament. She is a very genuine, caring person with a sense of optimism not really found in these lands anymore. It felt very hopeful to have this main character who does have a ray of hope in them despite the hardship going on around them.
We also spend a chunk of time through the POV of Taryn, Callas and Racken. Taryn, a young man with his own gift of telepathy, has been living on the edges of society after fleeing his home at a young age. His fate ends up tied directly to Racken’s after using his gift one too much brings him under Racken’s eyes. I liked the dynamic a lot between these two! Racken is a man plagued by a skin disease and has spent most of his life taking joy in killing, inflicting hurt and causing pain for others. His meeting with Taryn, and eventually Maya, is an eye opener for him as he meets people he can trust for the very first time and who trust him in turn. Although we do get his POV a good bit, he is more of a side character, we see a lot of his camaraderie with Taryn. I will be honest, a morally bankrupt character finding hope and possible redemption for themselves is very much my jam but I do think it was exceptionally done with Racken.
Something that really impressed me with the book is the scope and depth of the world building. I am an absolute sucker for a grim, dark world and this one has it in spades. It’s a very brutal landscape to live on. People refuse to trust each other, seeking to report their peers to soldiers and overseers to keep them off their own backs. Soldiers themselves take pleasure in cruelty and torture, the fabled Witch King himself connected directly to many of them. All the while, men with daemons in their bodies, Callas included, long left from the previous king’s rein help maintain this brutal regime.
The one thing I think will be in later books and I’m longing to see is more about the daemons that inhibit the likes of Callas and others in the story. We see Callas from the start of a journey to the end as he tries to make true on his vow to reach the Witch King and kill him. They have a sort of Venom/Eddie Brock dynamic going for a while and similar for another character later in the story and I loved that. There is a great effort to leave a lot to the imagination but I do hope to see more of them.
Overall, this was a great out of the blue fantasy read that had all the grim yet hopeful elements I enjoy and I hope to continue with the series. Thank you to Dave at the Write Reads for having me on the tour, and to the author and Dave for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for review. Thanks for checking in everyone, happy reading!