Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames
After finding out that Kings of the Wyld was something of a fantasy-comedy work, I had to read it and try out a new fantasy niche. There were indeed many humorous moments and scenes in the book, yet I felt that they were at the expense of much of everything else. The core concept is quite intriguing, essentially a small mercenary band regrouping after many years of separation to do a final quest/mission/job. However, some aspects of the book were highly detailed while others were forgotten/neglected.
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Let’s start with the comedy. Some scenes were well done while other just seemed really forced, while others I felt were kind of cringe-worthy. For example, in one scene food is used as a weapon as a magical hat can just produce food and the character wielding that said hat throws the conjured contents at his assailants. While some people may have thought the comedic moments were spot on, I just felt that many of them were just kind of silly. Some of the neglected portions of the book are those regarding logistics. Here are two examples. During pretty much the whole narrative (and even before the narrative begins) which might be a couple of months, an entire monster horde (literally almost anything you can think of) numbered in the hundreds of thousands is just waiting and besieging a city. How an army of that magnitude supplies itself is beyond me. Also, the wyld is hyped up throughout most of the book as this giant mega-forest, but in the narrative, the forest and the creatures inside it only take up a small portion of the book. One other problem with the book is that the characters have some serious plot armor. There really isn’t any tension or fear for the characters that much bad is going to happen to them.
Anyways, the book did still have some redeeming qualities. First off, it seems to have been intended to be heartwarming and there are many instances where it succeeds being that. Also, the whole mercenary monster-hunter bands that roam the countryside is a unique system. It also lends itself well with dealing with the theme of the passing of time and the differences between generations. Lastly, some of the characters are quite likable with Matrick (the cuckold king interestingly enough) coming out as my favorite of the band.
Overall, Kings of the Wyld was a fantasy work that didn’t take itself too seriously, perhaps a little too much so. While the characters all had unique moments, such as battling monsters in a Colosseum, the reader never really has to worry about any of the main characters being significantly harmed (even as the Colosseum falls apart during the battle and begins rushing down a river it was initially tethered to.)
3 out of 5 stars.