Ahoy me mateys! Grab your grog! Here is book 2 of the fifth installment of the 3 Bells trilogy showcase. The bonus of this installment is that though the first mate and I have very different reading tastes, occasionally we do overlap in our reading choices. When I found out he had read this series, I commandeered his reviews! So you get one from me and a bonus additional review from me crew. Please note that I write like I talk and the first mate writes like he thinks. Hope ye enjoy!
From The Captain:
This novel is the second in Kingfountain series and follows yesterday’s review of the queen’s poisoner. Another stunning cover:.
And another stunning engrossing read. This one flew by almost as fast as the first. This novel takes place nine years after the events in book one. Owen is on the eve of commanding his very first battle. Even though it does make some logical sense to skip some of the childhood events, I was startled by such a jump. I had wanted to see more of Evie and Owen as children! Nope. Owen has gone from 9 to 17 years old.
Owen has dreams and ambitions regarding his friend and love Evie. The King has other ideas regarding the use of his two loyal subjects. As Goodreads puts it, “Will Owen’s conflicted heart follow the king’s path or risk everything for his love?”
This book was not as upbeat as the first novel and is much darker. Owen is struggling in his role as Duke and being a leader of men. This story basically centers around Owen’s pain and ambition. Every choice seems to have negative consequences and Owen suffers.
And oh the ending . . . it pissed me off. I have to admit I was mad at the author. How could he? Grrrrr! But I still enjoyed the book and wanted to dash into reading book 3.
From The First Mate:
That little flaw in the first book that was not significant enough to ruin my enjoyment of it? Yeah, that flaw becomes a major problem in the second book.
Movies and books about geniuses are typically problematic for one fairly mundane reason: the writer is rarely a genius. We learned in “The Queen’s Poisoner” that the magic in this world (i.e., being “Fountain Blessed”) confers on one great abilities. Our Richard III analogue has the ability to be extremely persuasive with his words, another character is able to influence through writing, and we’re told that a very rare magic is being able to see the future. All abilities that are fairly straightforward.
Unfortunately, Owen’s magic is the ability to find weaknesses and formulate strategy. The finding weakness part is actually kinda fascinating; Owen is able to psychically reach out and probe people and find out if they’ve got a trick left knee or a balance issue because of water in their ear or, presumably, if they’ll dissolve in a fit of giggles with the right joke. It’s an extremely useful skill in a fantasy world, and we get to see numerous quality uses of it. It’s the strategy part that leaves something to be desired.
Owen uses his magical strategy abilities three times in the novel and each occasion left me wanting to believe that his magical ability was more of the “manipulating reality” variety. That somehow his magic worked by altering the world so that regardless of what boneheaded stratagem he settled upon would lead to his desired outcome. But, no. Schemes that make no sense whatsoever lead to Owen’s opponents blindly walking into his traps.
Does it cripple the book? It didn’t for me. I still found a lot to like in the characters (Evie becomes very kick-ass, and the Thief’s Daughter is a wonderful addition to the cast) and the further expansion of the magic ideas of the world. The Joan of Arc references were a particular source of amusement. Ultimately, though, where one comes down on this book is going to rest on how willing one is to overlook the flaws of plotting that are, unfortunately, central to the book and the main character. If, like me, you’re willing to find joys in the minor characters and the world, the book will be a fun diversion, albeit less fun than the first book.
So me mateys, stay tuned for the conclusion to the 3 Bells trilogy tomorrow . . . .
Now normally I would post a summary of the novel here. But as this is a sequel where the summaries online basically tell the plot, I am skipping the summary so you can find out what happens for yourself . . .
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