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A great installment in what's shaping up to be a great series
on March 23, 2011
Kings of the North is a middle book of a series. It's the kind of series Moon tends toward, where the set of books will tell one unified story. This means that Kings starts with events in motion from the recent past as described in Oath of Fealty (and from the more-distant past, with much that is intriguing but not yet explained), and it ends with a resolution to one subplot, but with lots of things left unfinished (and at least one surprise just barely begun) to carry into the rest of the series. It is a journey and not a destination. But I really got caught up in the journey. I'd intended to save the book until I had a little more time ... and then I intended to read a little ... and then I finished it in a day. I am easy to lose at the point where a book like this switches points of view and locations, but it didn't happen here.
I enjoy the mix of world-building and characters. Most of the main characters continue from Oath and from the earlier Deed of Paksennarrion, but there are new ones as well. All are well-rounded; many I'd love to sit in the pub with over a mug of ale, though some I'd rather not meet in a dark alley - or anywhere else. I like the sense of integrity in most of the characters, and the way that integrity doesn't mean that they are all straight-laced, or all in agreement with each other. I like the way the followers of the different religions respect each other. I like the way information about how-things-work is dropped in along the way without derailing the narrative (we learn bits about the management of a bankers guild, running a noble's estate, and training squires, among other things). Overall, I like this book even more than I did Oath, and that's saying something. The only thing I dislike is waiting for the next one.