King's Dragon delivers the whole package to fantasy fans. Review by S.K. Slevinski
In King's Dragon Kate Elliott opens her Crown of Stars series with a richly developed fantasy world that will both satisfy and tantalize readers.
Elliott introduces us to her Crown of Stars world through the eyes alternating narrators, following the stories of two young characters, seemingly insignificant, who are destined for the front line of conflict and change in the kingdoms of Wendar and Varre. Alain is a young man of mysterious parentage, who goes from cleaning the stables of a powerful Count, to being declared his bastard heir. In another part of the kingdom, Liath finds herself on the run after her father is murdered. She is barely able to rescue his prized book of magic before having to flee. But before getting too far, she ends up slave to the oppressive hand of an ambitious and cruel church cleric.
The fantasy world Kate Elliott has designed for Crown of Stars is one of the most meticulously crafted in fantasy. Its combination of novelty and tradition will satisfy the cravings of fantasy readers. Her highly-developed fictional religion, devoted to a dual God, The Lord and Lady, is fresh in its ying-yang dualistic spirituality, but captures all the bureaucracy and complexity of the medieval Catholic church. Her characters' basic conflicts are timeless, but their directions are surprising. Alain's conflict explores the politics of bloodline succession. Liath battles to find security and answers in a world where she has been left utterly alone, all the while she is hunted by magics of questionable origin. Throughout the book, Elliott hints expertly at dangers to come, exotic lands and hidden power, leaving readers with a lot to look forward to in successive Crown of Stars installments.
Fans of traditional medieval fantasy will be delighted by the well-detailed medieval landscape, rich with innovative twists and mysterious magic.
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S.K. Slevinski is senior editor for ARWZ Literary Magazine and a long time reader of alternative reality fiction. She is currently a graduate student, specializing in folklore.