An expertly spun epic fantasy adventure featuring combat, magic, and intrigue…
Spectacular worldbuilding, breathtaking action, and well-realized characterization mark Cole’s engrossing second installment in his epic sword and sorcery series, A Paladin’s Journey, taking readers on Krell’s journey of growth and development. The harbor town of Watford is becoming a playground for sea devils who attack in groups and kill viciously. Krell, the paladin of the god ReckNor, is leading his band of warriors to kill the sea devils. But the vicious creatures are only a part of Krell’s problems: There’s a demon that wants to kill Krell at any cost—the consequences of his past actions. On top of that, living in a tight-knit society requires plenty of learning. Cole establishes his premise quickly, with clear insights into the upcoming happenings for readers early on, leaving him plenty of space to explore complex and relevant subjects of gender violence, actions versus consequences, making hard choices, identity, autonomy, and self-discovery. The first part of the book also contains stretches describing Krell’s struggles with ReckNor’s expectations of him and the ways of the world, the town authorities’ pursuits of high-end militia, and the workings of magic. Although the action is well staged and effective in the first chunk, it’s the middle and the last third part of the novel that delivers particularly thrilling sequences. The story moves crisply and propulsively, with quickly paced chapters providing tons of high-stakes action. At over 570 pages, the novel is quite long, but Cole takes full advantage of its length, fleshing out various characters and overlapping plotlines. He gives his characters vivid backstories and complex motivations. Throughout, he portrays Krell’s experiences in vivid prose that captures both his struggles with the ways of humans and the jagged tensions of measuring up to ReckNor’s high expectations: Overall, Krell proves to be an appealing hero; arrogant, brash, and unsophisticated but vulnerable nonetheless—readers will enjoy rooting for him. Orianna, Verbena, Dahlia, Naedra, and Sheana are equally compelling. The briskly paced ending brings initial resolution, but myriad questions linger, from the fates of various individuals to Krell’s desire to eradicate the sea devil problem permanently and the particulars of Marden’s backstory, including his keen interest in Krell, making readers excited for the next installment in the series. This swashbuckling tale of action, adventure, and magic makes for a page-turner.
Futility of Defense
(A Paladin’s Journey, #2)
Pub date June 30, 2023
Price $26.99 (USD) Hardcover, $16.99 Paperback, $4.99 Kindle edition