Book review: The King Of The Crags

Stephen Deas’s The King Of The Crags.

Author: Stephen Deas
Publisher: Gollancz

The King Of The Crags is Deas’s second novel in the high drama Memory Of Flames trilogy. It quickly picks up from where The Adamantine Palace left off, with Prince Jehal lamenting his betrayal-filled rise to power, even though he successfully defeated all his other competitors for the prize of control over the nine kingdoms. Snow, the valuable and precious white dragon promised to him, is also still missing – and crucially, the dragon is quickly shaking off the controls placed on him by the alchemists and Scales.

Deas dips quickly and confidently back into the vivid and dramatic fantasy world he created previously without hesitation, and after setting the standard so high in The Adamantine Palace with regards to plot ideas, Deas manages to not disappoint here, with unexpected twists and turns continuing throughout this novel. His writing style is extremely accessible, however, due to the quickness of pace, elements of the plot are not explored as thoroughly as they perhaps could be. Although further depth is added to the realm as more details start to emerge about the different players’ histories, the quality of characterisation is still an issue. There is a good range of new characters, with previously minor ones also brought to the fore within the novel, but they do not come across as very deep or real – and there is still no character that the reader can fully identify with, or even like. Even the lead role of Prince Jehal, who could be used to strengthen the novel, is not as roundly developed as he could be.

Overall, if you enjoyed The Adamantine Palace, this sequel will not disappoint you. The King Of The Crags is a fiery, eventful read which is refreshingly fast paced in comparison to some fantasy and science-fiction writing, but it would really benefit from Deas exploring characters and environments in the kind of  detail that true fans of fantasy may desire.

[isbn name=”The King Of The Crags”]978-0575083776[/isbn]