A big huge amazing thank you to Angry Robot Books for my finished copies of the Quest for Heroes duology! The Warrior is now out in the world and here are my thoughts on it!
Bookish Quick Facts:
- Title: The Warrior
- Series: Quest For Heroes #2
- Author: Stephen Aryan
- Publisher & Release: Angry Robot, 08/09/22
- Length: 419 pages
- Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⭐ yes if you liked book one!
Here’s the synopsis:
The story of Kell Kressia continues in Book II of the gripping fantasy duology. Kell, two time saviour of the Five Kingdoms, is now the King of Algany. He has fame, power, respect, and has never been more miserable…
Bound, by duty and responsibility, Kell is King only in name. Trapped in a loveless marriage, he leaves affairs of state to his wife, Sigrid. When his old friend, Willow, turns up asking him to go on a journey to her homeland he can’t wait to leave.
The Malice, a malevolent poison that alters everything it infects, runs rampant across Willow’s homeland. Desperate to find a cure her cousin, Ravvi, is willing to try a dark ritual which could damn her people forever. Journeying to a distant land, Kell and his companions must stop Ravvi before it’s too late.While Kell is away Reverend Mother Britak’s plans come to a head. Queen Sigrid must find a way to protect her family and her nation, but against such a ruthless opponent, something has to give
The first thing that I love about the book, besides the cover, is the synopsis! Not much more recall is needed.
I’m going to *duck behind the couch* and say that I liked The Coward a lot more than The Warrior. It was nice to see Kell off on another heroic quest, even if none of the humans understood it, and he must have come to terms with a lot of his anxiety and PTSD because it isn’t nearly as severe here. That speaks for the level of resolution provided in the prior book
Character wise, I liked Sigrid the most as she dealt with the crazy old Reverend Mother and the fate of Algany. I wanted more from the Queen and appreciated her arc the most. Kell and Willow make a good pair although I still wanted more from their friendship, should it be called that.
Where Aryan kind of lost me was in his shift from low fantasy in The Coward to the more magical elements of The Warrior. I got to ask him about it in the Q & A on the SFF Oasis discord and understood what he was saying about wanting to change things up, but it was too strange for me to introduce so much newness into book 2.
Odd’s … Thing … What the heck was it? I was interested in learning and unsatisfied with the resolution to the point that I didn’t care about… What happened. I would have loved at least an update on the two other questers from book one but their story was done. As a result of these things I just didn’t feel for or care about Odd or Yarra at all, so a lot of the book with drawn out scenes featuring these two felt harder to get through.
That said, the setting was well done in places. I did love the visuals of the Alfár housing, especially the multicolored windows and descriptions of their culture and dwellings.
The ending went from near catastrophe to more or less resolved, real quick, which was OK from a wrap up standpoint but The Warrior wasn’t nearly as light as The Coward to support the quick resolution.
One thing that was really missing was the POV of the new Reverend Mother – even one chapter would have sufficed but I felt like Britak was such a huge presence, then a hole appeared and the plot kept going without filling that leadership role!
I just ended up with a lot of mixed feelings and questions, like about Odd. And did the Vahli saga survive since the Medina saga was the one mentioned by the historian at the end? It also felt a little bare without the chapter lead excerpts than book one had. I guess that chapter of Kell’s history closed but I missed the little tidbits.
(And this has nothing to do with my rating but those spine sizes, those spine sizes, those spine sizes, who did this)!!
Overall: if you read and enjoyed book one, I would recommend reading book two. I have seen interestingly mixed reviews on which book people prefer so I would definitely say try them both!
Thank you again to AR for my copies, all opinions are my own
My review for The Coward