The Wayfarer King – K.C. May
I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the Kinshield series. As a relatively unknown author I was surprised at how accomplished the Kinshield legacy was. Not only that but it was also fun. It also ended with on a few cliff-hangers. Needless to say I was looking forward to book two.
Beyonders, evil beings that materialize without warning from the realm of chaos, continue to invade the world of men, destroying everything -- and everyone -- in their path. The most powerful of them all, Ritol, has been confined for two hundred years inside the palace in Thendylath, trapped by King Arek's magic.
Having newly claimed the right to rule Thendylath as king, Gavin Kinshield has no money or army, but he's determined to protect his people from the beyonder attacks. With his new power of Wayfarer, Gavin has the ability to journey to all seven realms. To end the invasion, he must travel to the realm of chaos and summon Ritol. But can he escape before the beyonder champion kills him, devours his soul and takes his place as Wayfarer?
If wizard Brodas Ravenkind has his way, Gavin will never make it that far. Not only does Ravenkind want the throne for himself, he wants revenge for his cousin's murder too. After all, he made a promise the first time Gavin crossed him…
The Wayfarer King started slow for me. The characters seemed to meander all over the place and took along time for them to find their feet again. Gavin who was a lovely rogue in the first book lost some of his edge in the first third of the story. In the first book Gavin was reluctant to fulfil his destiny but accepted it was his duty. He was unsure he was cut-out to take on the mantle as King given his rough background and lack of manners. Whilst this was amusing and effortless in Kinshield legacy, in the Wayfarer King this feels forced. Every inappropriate belch in front of a lady feels contrived, his reluctance to be King comes across as almost annoying.
The same can be said for the plot as well. The Wayfarer King never really gets going for a long time. The characters seem to wander aimlessly for a portion of the novel and the events that happen to them feel like they have been set up purely to give them something to do rather than serve the plot. Dare I say, the first third felt like K.C.May was told to flesh the novel out to increase the word count (the page count is only 292 pages). I’m sure this was not the case it just felt that way.
After the first third book I was beginning to doubt why I rated the first book so highly. Thankfully, this all changed. There was no particular event, the writing just seemed to click, Gavin became more like the character I remembered and the plot started to get a bit more direction.
The supporting cast are solid: Daia is fleshed out and her complicated relationship with Gavin is quite refreshing in that it is not based on anything sexual. The introduction of Feanna is the novel’s strongest point, although some of the dialogue between her and Gavin is clumsy.
The demon Ritol is well written. He suitably oozes menace and unlike most books feels like a legitimate threat to the protagonist. However, Brodas seems to be far more like a caricature in this novel.
In truth though the book feels like it is always building toward the conclusion which I am happy to say is excellent. The climatic battle the journey Gavin has to go through and the fact that all the other cast have significant parts to play too add to grandiose battle.
Overall then, although slightly flawed this is a good conclusion to a series that deserves more exposure.
My rating: 7.3