Review of Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I knew I was going to love this book from the premise alone. Treating mercenary bands as Rock Stars was a brilliant idea. However, that great idea wasn’t the end of it, for Nicholas Eames decided to make them a band of old farts beyond their glory days. This combo is what made the story a truly grand idea, and I salute you for rocking! I think that Kings of the Wyld is a fantastically fun and engaging read. Nicholas Eames truly captured something that draws me to books which is a whimsical sort of gritty fun (if that makes sense). The characters are all unique and well rounded with plenty of attention paid to each and every one of them. As the story progresses, you truly start to love some things about them and sometimes even find that you are annoyed by them for their actions. This is great storytelling, because I never once felt annoyed at the writing. My mind fully suspended disbelief as I found myself screaming at the book, “DON’T DO THAT, IDIOT!” or laughing audibly scaring my wife and causing her look upon her husband as if schizophrenic. There was heartwarming scenes, powerful scenes that had me at the edge of my seat, and hilarious scenes that had me repeating the “punch line” over and over while I laughed stupidly to myself. All in all, you should read this book.
That was the short and spoiler free review.
Below be spoilers…
You have been warned!!!
As Kings of the Wyld begins, we find our first hero Clay Copper confronted by the old front man Gabe my of their band “Saga (The Kings of the Wyld)” who is worse for ware. He asked Clay to help him reunite the band, and save his daughter who just wants to have fun and adventure like the badass she is.
Clay refused…at first. It is only when his daughter asks him if he would come for her that he is spurred into action, and the two journey forth into the horizon on a mission! Nothing can stop them!
Until a group of thieves rob them… This was a great choice by the author, for the story begins on the most unpromising of notes. You find yourself doubting they can do much of anything. There were a few moments where I thought that Nicholas Eames was as sadistic storyteller as I strive to be, and was sending these hapless old fuckers to die. Something I didn’t want, but I believed I had just read a death several times like after they collect Moog and the three arrive to get Matrick only to watch his body fall off a waterfall in a failed attempt to smuggle the king away from his horrible and murderous queen.
It was a difficult to pick a favorite character, but if I had to chose, it would be a three way tie between Gabe, Moog, and Matrick. That being said, the story–much like a rock band–wouldn’t have made wonderful music it did without all parties involved. You needed Clay and Ganelon or everyone would have died or not even been reunited to be honest. Matrick felt, to me, the most relatable in an eye-opening that good that is behind me sort of way. Gabe had the hopelessness that evolved, wavered, and then shone as golden as the sun at the end. Moog reminded me of Gandalf’s slap-happy and crazy brother. The most heartwarming thing about that character (I applaud Nicholas Eames for this) is that Moog is gay, and it is revealed so matter-of-factly. There is issue brought up with some characters within the book, but the manner in which it is told was perfect. It didn’t celebrate it nor did it chastise it. It was just a fact as normal as the color of a person’s hair. Also, I love that his husband was Freddie (Mercury). Now, there is Ganelon who is a monster of battle. A man who is a product of his life, and a man who suffered through 19 years petrified AND AWARE! This character had that gruff, hard shell around his heart that hid a warmth you only were privy to a few times, yet it was done in an endearing way instead of feeling like “the hard-ass with the heart of gold” cliché. Finally, Clay is the backbone of the story, and without his narrative, the story would be lacking.
The secondary characters were well crafted, and added to the story without becoming a distraction from the adventure at hand. While some could say the deaths of a few were too sudden, the gorgon comes to mind, I think the deaths was perfect. After all, death can strike suddenly and death isn’t seldom a poetic or clean happening. The deaths all made sense. To say that they were too sudden or lame, is the same as saying dying on the toilet of a heart attack at the age of 27 is lame, but that shit happens.
I could talk on and one about theories I have of the series or the numerous other things littered throughout this book, but I have stated some of my favorite things and why you should read this fantastic tome. If this does not convince you that Kings of the Wyld is worth your time, then there is nothing more I can say anyway.