When I was a teenager, most of what I read was fantasy. It’s always had a special place in my book-loving heart. As I’ve gotten older, I gravitate a little more toward thrillers and fiction, simply, I think, because a lot of fantasy authors have so many books, it’s daunting to know where or how to start.
When an advanced reader of Raymond Feist’s upcoming book, the first in a new series, became available, I decided to give it a try.
King of Ashes follows the lives of two young men. Declan is an orphan who was raised by the local smith and has just received his master rank. Hatu, also an orphan, was sent away from his home as an infant and raised by a nation of spies and assassins. What Hatu doesn’t know if that he is the heir to a demolished throne and last remaining Firemane, a bloodline of fire mages who were betrayed and thought destroyed. Both young men find their worlds turned upside down and are drawn to the same town, but we discover that it isn’t fate that’s drawing them.
As many first books are, King of Ashes was all about establishing characters and history. However, I personally found it long and drawn out. There’s no intrigue about Hatu being the last Firemane, so it’s a whole book of him wondering about new abilities, when the reader knows where they come from and why.
All in all, I just wasn’t impressed. Maybe his other works, or the sequel, will be better, but King of Ashes felt like a long, cryptically obvious introduction.