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Book Review: Kings or Pawns (Steps of Power #1) by J.J Sherwood

Kings or Pawns (Steps of Power, #1; The Kings, #1) - J. Sherwood Weber

8,994 P.E.—The elven city of Elvorium has become corrupted to the core by politics. With his father dead and the Royal Schism at his back, Prince Hairem ascends the throne as king of the elven world on Sevrigel. Young and bold, Hairem is determined to undo the council’s power, but the brutal murders by an assassin loosed within the city threaten to undermine the king’s ambitions.

As corruption and death threaten to tear Elvorium apart from within, the warlord Saebellus threatens the city from without, laying siege to Sevrigel’s eastern capital. With the elven world crumbling around him, Hairem finds himself in a dangerous political balance between peace and all out war.

 

 

Jikun Taemrin by Kristy M (Book Frivolity) -

 In his free time, Jikun amused himself with hunting, women, and a very unsuccessful slew of poetry.

 

Grab yourself a copy of Kings or Pawns at Amazon

 

 

Everyone knows my policy by now: my highest praises come with a character rendering (cause it proves my love yadda yadda)... So, if you haven't worked out by the image, let me say it - I really enjoyed Kings or Pawns.

 

It has all the High Epic Fantasy bits and bobs that I love, but it's been given an edge with the really smart and meticulous way that Sherwood has presented the points of view and the plot line. Intrigue, treason, romance and politics, are perfectly amalgamated; a hard thing to accomplish, and can be the downfall of many an ambitious epic fantasy. This pulls it off without a hitch, and I must say, I was really pleasantly surprised (although I'm a fan of self-pubbed books, a really good epic fantasy is sometimes hard to come by!).  

 

The world building is spot on, it's very engaging with just a touch of science fiction creeping in to give it a slight point of difference over the usual Elvish world narrative. I particularly loved that this was focused on the Elven point of view. So many epics give the Elf the highly snooty, yet lovable sidekick role; yet here Sherwood has given them their own voice, and done it with skill. 

 

There is a great combination of sly humor (I was laughing before the first chapter had finished. Jikun up there is crackling with humor, even when he's not trying!), and serious matter that keeps the reader engaged throughout. It's just an incredibly enjoyable read, and I can't wait to delve into the rest of The Steps of Power series.. when the audiobook of Heroes Or Thieves is available.. please make it available soon..

 

Because that cliffhanger is just mean Sherwood. Bloody Mean. :)

 

I received the audio book version, and the narration by Matthew Lloyd Davies was fantastic. He picked up on the nuances of each character gorgeously. However the audio quality was just a little lower than I am accustomed to, and I occasionally found it hard to hear. You might need to listen to this one through a really good set of earphones, or a proper audio/speaker setup if you are hard of hearing.  

 

 

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If you want to check out the Steps Of Power yourself, you can actually win some stuff right now, so enter, check it out...