If I’m being honest, I hate long books. It’s not that I don’t like the story or characters, but sometimes books that are over 500 pages can be quite daunting. Plus, they take longer to read, and with soooo many books in the world to read, I have a hard time concentrating on long books. But sometimes long books can be the best books. And sometimes long books can be worth reading. King’s War, the third and final installment in the Kinsman Chronicles by Jill Williamson, is a long book and it’s so, so worth reading.
The remnant of Armania survived the Five Woes and found land to build a new home, but their troubles are far from over. With loss fresh in their minds, the people of Armania must prepare as their enemies close in and more dangers and darkness threaten their way of life.
All of the elements that drew me to the first two books in the Kinsman Chronicles—world-building, characters, the intricate plot that weaves everything together—continued throughout King’s War. The land of Er’Rets continues to take shape as the various nations and kingdoms begin to establish their rule and build on the land. The belief systems, the cultures, and the forms of government continue to carry these characters from one politic skirmish to another.
I will admit , at first, I felt like the book was a bit overrun with too much politics and discussion and not enough action. But at the same I appreciated that this book revealed how important that side of things, especially in relation to life, is important. Politics hold together our way of life, and it helped the characters grow and mature as they took on new leadership roles.
My favorite part of this series was seeing how all the characters changed over the course of the trilogy. It was intriguing to see Trevn go from a young boy studying maps and books and being chased through the streets of Armania to becoming a husband, a leader, and even a warrior. There were even characters, such as Charlon, that I detested in previous books and found myself rooting for in this installment. With the plethora of characters in this series, there was no end to the growth and change all the characters went through.
In addition, the latter half of the book gets quite exciting as the story builds and the action begins. There is war, there is magic, there is even romance. This book pretty much as it all. Most importantly, this book has hope. I’m a big believer that fiction, especially fantasy, helps us come to terms with events in our own lives and our world. We learn from books how to cope and deal with tragedy or loss, darkness and grief. And this book definitely reflects different ways we can deal with what life brings at us. Above all, this book shows that despite the darkness, despite the hardships and the hopelessness, there is hope.
That was Jill Willamson’s goal with this story: “to show that no matter what darkness people might themselves living in, those who rely on their creator will find their way back into the light.” So yes, this book does have a Christian message woven throughout the story, but it is not preachy or cliche. It does not sway you to become a believer. In some ways, it’s not even a religious story at all. But it’s just a fantasy story where characters turn to a single god instead of a plethora of gods.
If you like long fantasy books and want something intricate and full of depth and tons of characters that really all have a place in the story, pick up the Kinsman Chronicles. If you’ve read King’s Folly and King’s Blood, read King’s War and be assured that this is one finale that will not disappoint.