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The Errant King...A Little Errant?
on December 13, 2011
I was ecstatic when I received Wayne Thomas Batson's newest book, The Errant King. Just in time, too; and it had an incredible cover that taunted me all through NaNoWriMo. As soon as I could, I pulled it out of my backpack and devoured it. In some ways, it fulfilled my expectations: in others, not so much.
The prose, as always, was fast-paced and easy to read. The book immediately dived into the questions that Sword in the Stars (the previous book) had left, and definitely hooked the reader into reading more.
The quotes at the beginning of the chapter were delightful, and helped give detail to the world. The world-building in general was some of the best that Batson has done. Really great stuff.
And this book also saw the return of Alastair Coldhollow, who is one of my favorite characters of all time. I loved the scenes with him: such a wonderful, conflicted character. I can't begin to describe how awesome the Iceman is. :) And his scene near the end with Telwyn was just...fantastic. I love it.
The plot was fast-moving, definitely one of Batson's best. It began with two subplots: that of Lochlan and Arianna. It introduced some great characters, such as Millard the Mark (named after a friend of mine: loved that he was a fairly major character!), and, later on, Frank.
However, it's not all sunshine. There were several aspects that disappointed me in this book: one of which was a slightly suggestive scene. It wasn't much more than a gal cozying up to Lochlan, and him basically shoving her away (not really, but that's the gist of it), but I really wish Batson hadn't included that. Up until now, I had regarded Batson as one of the cleanest authors in Christian speculative fiction, certainly much cleaner than Ted Dekker. And while I still think of him in that way, I'm a little disappointed in him for having such a scene in one of his novels.
The aspect of romance in this novel was also very disappointing (to say the least), almost enough by itself for me to drop a rating a whole star. In essence, two characters fall in love in a week. That whole area of the novel was damaged because of the unrealistic romance. That destroyed my "illusion of reality" that I had in the Errant King, and it irritated me.
The character of Frank is also a strange one. In one way, it's really interesting and rather funny, and in others, kind of just....weird. It's like putting something from a magical fairy tale in a brick-and-mortar epic fantasy novel.
And a few things towards the end--a "weird" thing here, a slightly unrealistic scene there--felt odd to me, as if the author hadn't had enough time to really polish his novel and rewrite the scenes that needed it. Or maybe that's just me.
The end of the novel, however, left many questions and a great sense of anticipation for the next book. And since it's supposed to be a seven-book series, I predict much epicness to come.
In short, The Errant King a really good book; a quick, fun read with some really beautiful moments, and a bit disappointing in some areas. Very much recommended; four stars.