Book Review: Echo of the High Kings by Kal Spriggs

Echoes of the High KingI am a lover of stories that are steeped in mystical, magical worlds, threatened by dark forces returning from some dark abyss to which they’d been banished—worlds where good strives against evil. I am also a lover of much of today’s fantasy – dark, nightmarish tales where survival of the main characters is almost as grim as death.

This book, I daresay, carries both of these story elements comfortably within its pages. It is both epic and heroic, yet brings a heavy dose of darkness into the story, that will be attractive to readers of today’s dark fictional worlds.

The characters in this book are well developed and well thought out. The book relies heavily on themes of state and decisions made by seemingly real people as they grapple with concerns of civilization’s existence and prosperity, and are forced to make very difficult decisions between dark and darker.  The characters themselves deepen the story plot and magnify the high and low points of the action with strong characterization.

The story is wrapped in magic that gives it a strong, if subtle, fantastic edge that puts it staunchly in the camp of good epic fantasy. But it is more than that. Darker and edgier, it brings with it a little of the oppression of the dark fantasy of today. A feeling of hopelessness pervades the story as you follow these well-written characters through their stories.

I liked the world building a lot. It was deep and its history felt complete and real. A well thought out world can make or break a world. It can be inconsistent and filled with fragments that drag the reader from his/her suspension of disbelief. Or it can be deep and rich, strengthening the reader’s investment in the story. This one is the latter. The world building is so strong that you never feel like it is something unreal. It feels close by and personal.

And action – this book has it in spades. It starts with murder and immediately grapples with concepts of “means” and “ends.” But, outside the heavier messages underlying story, the author is good at getting the reader in the moment and showing us the action – and there is plenty of that.

All in all, this book was very well written, filled with all kinds of great action.  But, most of all, it sweeps you into deep, believable world that many will recognize, but different enough to make it original in all the important ways. It is dark and oppressive and filled with intrigue and great characters.

You will like this book if you like epic fantasy. I will make a point of reading this author again.

For more about this cool author and his other work, visit his website here.

or his Amazon author page here.


What do you think of this book? Have you read it?

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