- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 18 hours and 34 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Michael Robb Mathias Jr.
- Audible.com Release Date: June 21, 2013
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00DJB157O
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Kings, Queens, Heroes & Fools: The Wardstone Trilogy, Book Two Audiobook – Unabridged
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Kings, Queens, Heroes and Fools picks up pretty much right where the first book left off. High King Mikhal and his friends are still fighting to free themselves from the tyranny of Shaella the Dragon Queen and from General RaGren, who has taken the citizens of Westland as slaves. Hyden takes the new apprentice, Phen, and a few others on a quest to obtain a skull that will allow him to go to the Nethers and bring back the ring that was rightfully his but is now being worn by his brother turned demon, Gerard.
Shaella works with her minions and a host of priests to steal the skull from Hyden and bring Gerard back from the Nethers to rule both Hell and Earth together. She kidnaps a princess and sets a trap for the High King. As she prepares to bring her demon lover back from the Nethers, she helps RaGren bring about an attack of epic proportions against High King Mikhal and the allied forces.
The stakes are higher, the action greater and more brutal. The battle scenes are terrifying and gut-wrenching. There was little character growth in this book, which was a little disappointing, but there was so much action and suspense and adventure thrown into this book that it left little room for anything else. But I am definitely looking forward to the next book to see how it all ties together and works out in the end. This has been a classic good versus evil story, but can good truly win this time?
As many epic fantasies do, Kings, Queens, Heroes, and Fools takes place neither in the past, present or future, but in its own world and with its own era. Author M. R. Mathias has reached deep into his own imagination to bring to life a whole new world replete with kingdoms such as Westland, Dakahn, Valleya, Seaward and Highwander; and in case you lose your way around, a map is provided in the book.
Hyden Hawk Skylar is the main character of this epic fantasy in Book 2 of the trilogy, but in a book this long (600+ pages in print), and author Mathias intricately weaving layer upon layer in world-building and character interaction, as well as new character introduction, it nearly seems that the book is about all of them: kings and kingdoms; heroes and villains; queens and quests.
As far as a supporting cast of characters, it is as huge as the world M.R. Mathias has created: King Jarrek, Ironspike, Mikahl, Oarly the dwarf, Phen the magician, Queen Willa, Ra'Gren, Shaella, Gerard, and others, are written in such a way that fantasy fans will be delighted to pick and choose their favorites.
If you love fantasy novels with detailed world-building that unfolds through the action and adventure, then this is the book for you. I have some friends who are devotees of the fantasy genre and they actually love the novels with pages and pages of the descriptive "other world" narrative because it allows them to place themselves in that world. That may not be everyone's cup of tea and author Mathias has done a splendid job in building his fantasy world while moving the story along.
It almost isn't fair to compare any Fantasy novel to Tolkien's trilogy but I'm going to say it: if you loved The Lord of the Rings, you will love this book... IF... you are not attempting to compare the two works. Come on, J.R.R. Tolkien's world is a whole different world than the world crafted by Mathias. If the fantasy genre is bigger than Tolkien (and I believe it is), then Mathias also deserves a place in the reader's heart.
I read this on my computer through the Kindle app and the layout and formatting were well done. It would have helped if the map was not sideways for those using a computer or Amazon's Cloud Reader. If you don't have a Kindle or portable eDevice, just go to the author's website and see the map there.
You may also want to check out Book 1, The Sword and the Dragon (The Wardstone Trilogy Book One), and Book 3, The Wizard and the Warlord (The Wardstone Trilogy Book Three), of this trilogy.
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This book, the characters develop even more. Mikahl matures in a way that wouldn't have been possible in book one. Gerard's situation breaks my heart, as I adored him in book one, but I am hoping for something good for him in the next book. Hyden is also maturing and coming in to his own destiny quite well. Lord Gregory amazes me.
We lose some characters that had become endearing, just as in book one, but such is the case in the battle of good versus evil. New friends and allies are made. Progress is being made, but there is still much to be resolved and book three will undoubtedly pull it all together and I will be sure to read it as soon as I can.
Also wanted to mention that the action is once again non-stop. There is hand-to-hand fighting, sword fighting, magic and creatures from hell. Highly recommend these books to those who loves this type of reading. Definitely an "on the edge of your seat" read!