King of the Republic: What Makes a Freedom Fighter? by P.J. Berman
Publisher/date: Independently published (December 27, 2019)
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Series: Silrith, Book 2 (Book 1 review here)
Rating: T (Violence and Sexual Content)
In the second book of the Silrith epic saga, we have new players enter the power struggle. Silrith makes mistakes she pays dearly for, Jostan continues to be his hateful self, converting or killing everyone in his path. Ezrina learns that while an enemy is predictable in their hate, an ally can be far more challenging to anticipate.
So the Game of Thrones continues. I kept referring back to it in my review of the first book, Vengeance of Hope, but the comparison holds true. There are many chess pieces on the board, and even the ones you root for are not the "good guy." But of course there are always bad guys!
I find myself with the same sort of feelings I had while reading Game of Thrones. There is of course an overall contender for the throne that we want to win (the name if the series is Silrith after all,) but she is not ineffable. And some of the other characters are trying to do good as well. So while Ezrina is sometimes thinking of Jezna more than her people, and Zethun lets his new found power go to his head, in the end they are trying to do what's right. So in this chess game it's hard to predict where all the pieces will fall. (I also want to take a moment to compliment the author that his characters' names are pronounced just like they are spelled. While the names are unique, they're still pronounceable and not hard to read. This may seem like an odd soap box to jump on, but it's so distracting when I struggle to pronounce character names in my head while I'm reading. I don't want to trip over them every time I come across them! So thanks PJ!)
That's what I love about this series. I hate being able to predict everything that will happen in a book. It's why I generally veer away from anything romance, because there's really only one way for those to end.
Epic sagas on the other hand? Who the eff knows?! And that's why we love them.
This story is very intricately woven, but not hard to keep track of. The characters are distinct enough for me to remember who they are most of the time, and I loved the ending. Even though I had hints, I didn't see that coming!!! But it all made sense. So props to the author for that very carefully woven tapestry, it's not easy to do! (I may not be a writer myself, but it's rare for me to read a book where I don't find a lot of "convenient" plot holes. Even The Lord of the Rings had big ones - WHY didn't the eagles fly them to Mordor in the first place?!)
I digress. The only thing that knocked off a star for me is that there are shades of mystery without magic, and it seems like you kind of have to choose one or the other. Is there magic in this world or not? I still don't know. Are Ezrina and Jostan truly talking to their gods, or are they religious zealots? There's a vague mention of a battle ground being haunted, is that a thing? Maybe as an epic fantasy reader I'm so used to magic that I just miss it here. But I feel like just a bit of it would add to the story. The battle scenes are also a tad overdone for my taste, but that's a personal preference. Overall I really enjoyed this story!
4 stars, I definitely want to see how this ends!