Thursday, May 3, 2018

Kingshold by D.P. Woolliscroft

Kingshold by D.P. Woolliscroft. 
Self-published. 2018. Ebook, 508 pages.

I had such a fantastic time reading this book!

Kingshold is a new self-published fantasy novel that gripped me almost immediately from the opening chapters. I understand that many people find themselves skeptical of self-published novels, but this is one that I promise you can go into and be assured that the quality and content is extremely high.

The story starts off right after the current King and Queen are killed and it is decided that the city of Kingshold will eradicate a monarchical rule and switch over to a mostly democratic society. This makes up the basic background and plot of the story, but of course there are always other small plot-lines running through this book that add depth and intrigue to the story.

The vast majority of this story takes place in the city of Kingshold, which was an element that I really liked. Most fantasy novels tend to have characters stationed in a variety of settings throughout their world, but I was actually really drawn in with the fact that all of the main players were stationed inside one major city. There were still different storylines to follow and small adventures that took place in different places, but I liked the common ground of Kingshold that really brought everything together.

Kingshold follows a decent-sized cast of vibrant characters and switches between six main characters, all of which I really enjoyed reading. The POVs we follow are Mareth, Alana, Neenawhi, Jyuth, Hoskin, and Motega. Mareth, a local bard with a complex past, was easily one of my favorites. He had such a strong, endearing personality that really drew me in and made me want to know more about this humorous yet complicated man. Mareth also has a long, complex past that I would have loved to hear more about--honestly, I'd probably read an entire book about his life before the events that take place in this book.

Jyuth is a centuries old (or so he claims) wizard with a very 'I'm too old for this crap' attitude, which I loved. He's not exactly the most friendly character, but I sincerely loved every scene that had him in it and found him to also be one of my favorite characters. Another character that we follow, Hoskin, has a similar 'I'm too old for this' and is simply counting down the days for when the new democratic government takes over and he can finally retire. Hoskin was another enjoyable figure that definitely surprised me at times, all in good ways.

The rest of our characters include: Alana, servant to Jyuth and an extremely clever girl; Neenawhi, Jyuth's daughter, who is extremely resourceful and seems to always be ready for fighting and adventure; Motega, Neenawhi's brother; Florian and Trypp, friends that work with Motega, and a few others. I would love to go into more detail about all of these characters, but for brevity's sake, I'll just keep it brief and say that they were all exceptionally well-developed and made this story even better. I particularly loved the friendship/team that consisted of Motega, Florian, and Trypp--I have mentally nicknamed them the three musketeers because I love their chemistry and what a great team they make. They're the type that sort of skirt the law and do some questionable things, but at the end of the day they always try to do the right thing.

I also want to add that there are many amazing female characters in this book. A lot of fantasy has a pretty uneven ratio of male and female characters, and when they do have female characters they are not always done well. In Kingshold, however, there were many female characters and they all had really interesting roles and personalities. I was so happy to find this.

Woolliscroft writes in an incredibly accessible and entertaining manner that really made me feel as if I was part of the story. I distinctly remember putting this book down at one point and feeling like I was watching a movie because of how vibrant the characters and story were. This is a more lighthearted fantasy book in the sense that although there are some serious events occurring in the story, there is plenty of witty dialogue between these characters that lightens things up quite a bit. It's not a straight-up comedy, but it definitely has many comedic moments.This is a highly political book--I mean, the main plot is about the transition from a monarchy to a democracy, after all--so if you like your high fantasy political intrigue, this one is it. Another thing I really liked about this book is that it has a very classic fantasy feel complete with wizards, shapeshifting, sword-fighting, dwarves, and magical beasts, all of which Woolliscroft managed to blend together well.

Overall, I've given Kingshold four-and-a-half stars! I really enjoyed this book and can't recommend it enough. I'm not sure if there is a sequel planned because I feel like this story was wrapped up in some places, but also left some stuff open in others. If there is more to this series, then I can't wait to read more!

*I received a copy of Kingshold courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review. This has no effect on my rating.*

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