The Weight of a Crown by Tavish Kaeden

Rating 8.1/10
A tale of four parts played out on an epic stage.

The Weight of a Crown is the first novel in Tavish Kaeden’s Azhaion Saga and a tale of four parts played out on an epic stage. I read this novel as part of the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off #spfbo as it was the champion of Lynn’s Book Blog and it is definitely one of my favourites - and in my opinion one of the best - from the second and final round of the competition.

I found The Weight of a Crown to be a very solid, well-written epic fantasy which follows the journeys of its four very different protagonists. Each chapter features one of these charcater’s name as its title and as the narrative progresses we switch between the point of views of Nicolas, a young epileptic whose life is suddenly about to change, Xasho, a warrior from a defeated race who is fighting to regain lost cities, cultures and pride, Jeina, a young Mountain woman serving penal time in a silver mine who uncovers a terrifying secret, and finally Bokhram, the current ruler of the Blood Marsh, the eminent force in the land.

As previously mentioned the narrative switches character point of view every chapter, and this something that readers of works like A Game of Thrones will be both familiar and comfortable with. I certainly am and it is a narrative technique I like, But for this narrative device to work each thread needs to hold sufficient interest for the reader less the dreaded ‘skim reading to the interesting part’ occur. This is not something I personally do but have read enough reader reviews to know it is commonplace. Thankfully, all four story threads are interesting and feature really good characterisation and plot progression.

So if this sounds like your cup of tea, here’s the synopsis which goes into greater detail regarding the plot:

Thousands dream of it; still more die for it. Yet once obtained, how many can truly bear it?

After centuries of bitter conflict the realm of Esmoria is at last united under the banner of a single king. On the surface the realm appears to be enjoying its first taste of peace, but lingering resentment and the untimely death of the new ruler threaten to return Esmoria to political chaos.

Meanwhile, in the farthest reaches of the frozen north, a dethroned monarch’s plot for revenge awakens a long-forgotten evil. As darkness and treachery descend upon the realm, a young escapee from a forced labor camp, a disenfranchised soldier, and an epileptic engraver’s apprentice find themselves at the heart of the troubles.

My general impression upon finishing the novel was that is was a very accomplished piece of writing. The author managed to maintain a high level of storytelling throughout and there was never a moment when I failed to enjoy the tale. All four threads are finely woven and although only two intertwined in this novel I am sure that the following novels in the series will see more cross-over.

The Weight of a Crown is a big read due its epic nature but never did it feel overly large. I would estimate the reader will need to set aside between fifteen and twenty hours to complete it. I would recommend this novel to readers who have previously enjoyed George R. R. Martin and Robin Hobb’s fantasy works - there is magic, intrigue, fighting, learning and travelling in abundance.

If you are looking to immerse yourself in a fantasy epic this novel will serve you well and I hope you take as much enjoyment from it as I did.

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