Review: King's Warrior by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt

Thursday, 2 July 2015

King's Warrior (The Minstrel's Song, #1)Series: The Minstrel's Song #1
Genre: Fantasy 
Release Date: February 29th 2012
Source: Received from author in exchange for an honest review
Overall Rating: 4/5 Stars
Cover Rating: 4/5 Stars
Synopsis: Six hundred years ago the land of Aom-igh was threatened with invasion by the Dark Country across the Stained Sea; in their danger King Llian sought the help of the dragons and the myth-folk. Graldon, King of the Dragons, granted the human king with a gift that would help him defeat his enemies. Graldon also promised King Llian that the dragons would come to the humans’ aid should Aom-igh ever be in such danger again. Years passed, and Aom-igh remained safe and isolated from its enemies. The dragons slowly disappeared and faded into legend and myth, and people forgot magic had ever existed. 
When her kingdom is threatened by the Dark Country once again, the headstrong Princess Kamarie sets off on a quest to find the man who may be able to save them all: the former King’s Warrior. Traveling with her are two companions: her eccentric maid, and a squire who resents his charge to travel with and protect the princess. However, finding the legendary hero proves to be the least of their worries. Together the companions encounter more than they ever bargained for. A beautiful gatekeeper, a sword fashioned by dragons, enemies who pursue them relentlessly and hound them at every turn, and an underground world full of mythical creatures are just the beginning of their adventures. 
As they search for the answers to mystifying riddles and seek a way to save everything they hold dear the comrades will learn a little about courage, a lot about truth, and more about themselves than they ever imagined. But if they can succeed in their quest, they may join worlds together. 
First Line:Graldon, King of the dragons, mighty lord of the skies over Aom-igh, handed the golden sword to the mere man who stood before him.

I always say that I am not a fan of fantasy but this keeps being disproved again and again as I delve further into the genre. I think what I actually don't like is a novel that focuses more on plot and events rather than character development and this does appear to be more common in fantasy than in any other genre. This does not apply to every fantasy, though, as I am slowly discovering after getting lucky with the genre recently. King's Warrior is another of those fantasies I have discovered which deviate from the tendency to focus entirely on plot, in fact, it focuses on plot and character development in equal parts and this works really well. The worldbuilding has often been compared to that of the Lord of the Rings but I think there is one significant difference, King's Warrior is a young adult novel and therefore the language is more suited to a variety of different people as opposed to the complex and sometimes dull language of the Lord of the Rings. When reading this novel I often forgot it was a young adult novel because of the gorgeous language, it was only when I got to the end that I realised it lacked the more gory and explicit aspects of the normal fantasy but this complemented the novel rather than detracted from it. The young adult tag of King's Warrior does not mean it cannot be enjoyed by all, it is one of the rare YA books which anyone can love.

The character development was definitely the best part of the novel, I loved every one of them. Kamarie in particular was a wonderful heroine in the way that she is very unique. In all literature, not just fantasy, a heroine is often at one extreme or the other - weak or ridiculously strong. Kamarie, on the other hand, has a very strong personality and is easily admirable but she still has feminine weaknesses. I know what you're thinking but I don't at all mean that in a sexist way. I mean, the environment in which Kamarie lives mirrors our medieval period and therefore also has the traditional gender roles, women are feminine and domestic and men were the warriors. Kamarie deviates from this by being a female trained as a female warrior but, unlike most strong female characters, this deviation isn't taken to the extremes, she still respects the role that her society has determined for her. While the feminist in me feels slightly conflicted about this, I really do appreciate the realism and the author's ability to craft such a lifelike character. The other characters were all also equally realistic and interesting, I loved every one of them. What I really enjoyed about the character were their relationships. The loving and, again, realistic relationship between Kamarie and her parents was refreshing to read and the sweet one between her parents themselves was a lovely contrast to the usual troubled relationships I was used to reading about. My favourite relationship was the love-hate one between Kamarie and Oraeyn, it was so amusing to read about and easy to relate to. It is the realism of Schmidt's characters that makes them so great.

This novel had me glued right away, some may call the plot slow but personally I think it is that aspect which enabled the characters to be so complex and developed. The plot itself is not sacrificed for the fantastic characters, this book could easily be used as a recipe for the perfect fantasy. I would recommend this book to everyone, even those who are not the biggest fans of the genre like myself. I loved every page and cannot wait to get my hands on the second book. The sooner I can get to it the better.

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