The Charnel Prince by Greg Keyes

The Charnel Prince book cover
Rating 8.4/10
This book keeps up what the first book started.

Finding myself into book three of a series that I've failed to review book two is always a bit mysterious. Normally I'm really good at remembering, but somehow I just forgot with Greg Keyes second book in his The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone series.

But don't let that be a comment on my enjoyment of The Charnel Prince, for the book follows on nicely from its predecessor, and left me needing the next two.

We're down a few players in this book from the last, but naturally we find a few more to fill the gaps. I think we trade up, as well, as two of the new arrivals really add a great measure of irreverence mixed with heroism.

The Briar King is awake, and the world is turning upside down. But nothing is what it looks like at first glance(, and being halfway through the third book really helps me understand that). The bad guys aren't the bad guys, or they're not those bad guys but another set of bad guys altogether.

This book once again sees one of the better characters I've had the pleasure of reading – our young Knight Ser Neil – off on a quest to find the missing princess. His character growth over the series is impressive, and more than that, it's compelling. Greg Keyes knows how to write a three dimensional character, with hints at other dimensions just to really throw you off.

Realism stretches through this book like elastic, thin in some places and strong in others. It is there for when it needs to be: when dealing with characters, nations, surroundings; and fades away when it needs. This latter is the most impressive as it shows Keyes' ability to be sparse with his creativity. There are times when he could have gone overboard but instead has just kept it close to the vest. And there are aspects of this book which are almost unique to this book, with its own mythos being much more than myth.

An issue I had with the first book is the seeming forced contrivance to keep one of our characters in the dark. This is dealt with a little, though not entirely, and seems a little too easy. But apart from that, this book keeps up what the first book started.

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