Wednesday, April 10, 2013

    Book Review: The Forever Knight

    Lukien is the Bronze Knight, beloved by his kingdom and renowned in battle throughout his world. After betraying his king and losing his beloved, he wishes only for death, but rather than die, Lukien is given a chance for redemption: to be the protector of the Inhumans—those fragile mortals who live deep in the desert, far from the prying eyes of their world. These remarkable individuals have been granted magical powers in exchange for the hardships and handicaps life has handed them. And Lukien, now immortal himself, must be their champion. But how can one man, even an immortal warrior, protect hundreds from a world of potential enemies?

    Fourth in the series, I was a little wary to read this as I didn't have time to play catch up with a long involved fantasy series.  I was assured however that this book didn't require 'catching up' and could be read stand alone.  And for what feels like the first time in a long time it turned out to be true.  References and summaries are given for what happened in the first three books (I assume its from the first three books), but Lukien was very focused on the now.

    Where it may have benefited was with the other characters and their relationship to him.  Marco gives a good accounting why this or that person is important to Lukien, but I felt less invested in them regardless.

    In essence Lukien is on a heroic quest to basically find a reason to live.  In the preceding novels everything he loved, respected and held dear was taken away from him, leaving him left adrift with no end in sight (he's immortal).  This isn't to say he went looking for suicide, but rather he was proactively searching for a means to death. Lukien had a lot of flaws (not the least of which was who he fell in love with), a lot of guilt about what happened.  Unlike other heroes with tragic backstories he didn't seem to be looking for redemption.  He had made a try of making things better, mucked it up further and now was resigned to finding something else.

    Marco manages to pack a lot into a slim by today's standards full length novel.  Under 300 pages, The Forever Knight is surprising in the detail presented.  Even for a fourth novel in a series Marco goes out of his way to engage new readers in Lukien plight and the larger world.  I'm still a bit iffy on how things went down to give Lukien his immortality, and what exactly Malator is, but by in large Marco set a brisk easy to read pace.

    The one drawback I think I have is that while I'm interested in Lukien's further adventures especially given Malator's...gift at the end, I'm not as keen to read his previous adventures.  I like the Lukien as he is now, and I don't fancy that being ruined by the fact I'm going to get to read as his angst happens instead of in a past sense.