I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Kings or Pawns by J.J. Sherwood
Series: Steps of Power: The Kings #1
Published by Silver Helm on July 5th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
Aersadore: a world of magic and intrigue, elves and demons, dragons and gods. Millennia of magic, war, and legends have shaped a complex past and an unstable future. Now the shift in power ripples outward yet again, promising intrigue, action, and adventure for those swept up in the conflict. And even more so for those who dare to shape it.
8,994 P.E. The elven city of Elvorium has become corrupted to the core by politics. With his father dead and The Royal Schism at his back, Prince Hairem becomes the king of the elven world on Sevrigel. Young and daring, Hairem is determined to undo the council's power, but quickly finds his loyal council members brutally murdered by an assassin loosed within the city.
As corruption and death threaten to tear the city apart from within, the warlord Saebellus threatens the city from without, laying siege to Sevrigel's eastern capital. With the elven world crumbling around him, Hairem finds himself in a dangerous political balance between peace and all out war.
Kings or Pawns. Kings or Pawns? This was much like reading a Tolkien book. There are lots of characters, lots of subplots, an extremely bad guy (or is he?), the good guys, who aren’t so white hat good, as each has their own agenda. Yes, there is drama, mystery, romance and lots of intrigue.
My favorite character is Jikun. Jikun is from Darival, the northern part of the kingdom. He wields the magic of ice and water. Jikun is General of Sevrigel’s army. He is extremely knowledgeable of strategy and battlefield tactics, all things that make a good general. However, what I liked the most is that he is honest about not abiding by their regime, his use of prostitutes (against the law), and for the most part his opinion of the council and citizens of Elvorium which he doesn’t mind voicing in front of them. Jikun would like to return to Darival, but he is honor bound to finish the war with Saebellus. He is strong and yet he has flaws. He is loyal to the few friends that he has. What Jikun’s role in the next book will be, I don’t know. Hopefully, he will be back.
I think my least favorite character is Nilanis. He is the head of the counsel and he controls the ports. He is a widow with grown children. He dotes on his daughter, Ilsevel. While he seems to be a good father to her, you don’t really hear much about his other children. Nilanis has much wealth and way too much power. He spends way too much money and makes sure everyone knows how wealthy he is. Nilanis has no morals that I could see. He does whatever has to be done to maintain his wealth and way of life, at the cost of anything and apparently everyone.
I enjoyed the story. The settings were fabulous, I could completely see the cities, forests, and lands all clearly as I was reading. As with a Tolkien book it sort of drags on with so many details. I have to say I knew something was off about two-thirds of the way through but the ending was “Wow!” I didn’t see that specifically happening. The title of the book says more than you would think about the story. Are they Kings or Pawns? Is there power being a king or are just the counsel’s pawn?
Even though I enjoyed the book, my mind wandered at times. Therefore my rating will be 3 stars. It took me quite a while to complete it, but I am glad that I did. There is a second book available Heroes and Thieves. Make sure you check this series out, especially if you like Tolkien.
**Where to find Kings or Pawns **
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This is a Guest Review for Baroness’ Book Trove. Thank you for the opportunity to review this book for your site. ~Jen