My rating: 5 out of 5 stars
This is the second book in the King’s Quest trilogy, however it can be read as a stand alone.
The start of this book was a nice mix of action along with the magic of the Faeries. It introduced an important character to the story, Ahi’aorina, Queen of the Old Wood who controls spring, and thrusts her into a dangerous situation quite quickly. While she does not appear again until part was through the book her presence and capture at the beginning holds great importance to the rest of the story. After this small introduction, we are introduced to the main character, King Graham, as he is finding his kingdom taken over once more by winter though hours earlier it had all the signs of spring being just around the corner.
One thing I found interesting at this point was that the events of this story actually occur before the first book in the trilogy, The Floating Castle. I had expected this book to happen after the first but it didn’t bother me to have it occur prior to it. I can’t recall exactly how many years difference there is between the books, though I would say at least eight years between these two events. It makes me wish there were more books in this series to fill in that time, though I understand some of that like is/was covered through the many games in the King’s Quest series.
I found King Graham to be a great main character. He’s not your typical king, he doesn’t care so much for the formalities that go with his title and he often turns to his wife Valanice for advice and help in running the kingdom, this is because he was not born to the crown or to being royalty. However, he is not afraid to take action when a harsh return of winter threatens his kingdom and people. Throughout his journey to rescue both Ani’aorina and the people of Daventry his character faces a great many challenges, some he must face along, while others he overcomes with the help of strangers or his current traveling companion. There were times when he struggled and nearly became lost along the way, but it was those moments when it showed his character wasn’t perfect which made him all the more appealing.
The other characters in the story were a mix of races, such as Imps, Giants, Trolls and other strange creatures that often made their appearance in the games and made life difficult for the hero. The imps were the main antagonists for King Graham, having been the ones to steal Ani’aorina in the first place, and they proved to be quite a challenging foe for King Graham to defeat. Lord Dunstan, the giant, was a fairly decent character however his role was fairly small and I wish he could have had more importance to things that were occurring in the Sorrowing Court.
Along with the different characters that King Graham encountered along the way he also had to overcome the different terrains of his travels in order to save Ani’aorina. This aspect of the book also reflects deeply to the King’s Quest games as the hero often needs to travel through a variety of lands, attempting to survive their harsh climate, dangerous creatures and of course fulfill their promise to the kingdom along the way.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. Much like The Floating Castle, it made me feel like I was once again back in the world of Daventry, attempting to save the day (though with no threat of dying along the way). This book will definitely appeal to those who enjoyed playing the King’s Quest games and to those who are fans of the fantasy genre. I will be reading the final book in the series soon, though I am sad to reach the end of the trilogy so quickly, I truly wish there were more books set in this familiar and enticing world.