C J R Isely
Book Reviews: Heir of Magic -- Book One in The Kingdom Wars Series
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Heir of Magic by J. D. Ruffin was my first plunge into the works of this author and, I can assure you now, it won't be the last!
"Whispers of magic, shadows of danger, fate teeters on a dagger's edge. In a world of magic, a secret sect seeks to revive their evil queen whose anger and thirst for revenge could destroy the world. As kidnappings begin to occur, Keelan races to save the missing individuals. He uncovers a sinister pattern. Only those with magic are being taken, but to what end? In a distant kingdom, the Crown Princess disappears, and blame is laid on their neighboring nation, leading to the call for war. As banners are raised and armies prepare for battle, danger looms everywhere. This captivating tale of magic, mystery, and adventure takes listeners on an epic journey"
-- Audible Description Page
Wow. Just wow. Between Ruffin's talent of bringing a tale to fast-paced life and Peter Kenny's immense skill as a narrator, I can't tell you how much this book just drew me in. It's broken what I can only call a multi-month reading slump.
This book was something of a whim for me. As I mentioned, it's been hard to find a book that really draws me in of late and I find myself listening to my go-to books (the Harry Potter series primarily) on repeat of late.
But, I listened to a snippet of the narrator for this story and was highly impressed with Peter Kenny's vocal talent within seconds so decided I wanted to plunge into the story.
And I am so thankful I did.
This book follows a cast of characters who come from different walks of life: from healer to guardsman, from Princess to Ranger. Each one of these characters comes with a refreshingly different personality and tale, so that you never feel that the story is redundant. It also manages to keep you engaged in each story. There was no one story that I wished I could skip through.
With this book opening a thousand years before, it gives you the faintest snippet of the final war that fractured a land that, in present age, has known peace throughout the living memory of all beings. It carries the political aspects of trade, of petty crime, of a Kingdom that needs to be carried through to the next in line, but war is something no one expects anymore.
But that is changing.
With people gifted with magic now vanishing and the appearance of the an order known as The Children, that peace is beginning to fray. There is no denying that war might truly hover across the horizon, in the mountains and lands that have been quiet for so long.
Our cast of characters in this story are all linked through these shifts in the country, even if their paths do not yet cross. They are each fighting for their own sense of peace, with the guardsman seeking answers to these kidnappings and trying to find the healer while the Princess seeks to escape an arranged marriage that will leave her miserable and without the boy she is certain she loves.
There are others, though, who seem to be encouraging this fracturing in the peace. Others that have their own agendas.
This book doesn't quite give you that insight as to why, though, there are those who want to see war. It hints toward it and makes you guess, but I am certain answers become clearer as the series continues. It's well written to make you want to keep reading for those answers.
When this book closes, it is on a cliff hanger, but it's not one of those frustratingly abrupt halts that makes you want to chuck a book across the room. It's one that makes you immediately add the second to your TBR because, though the book leaves you wanting more, it doesn't leave you feeling cheated with the end.
This is all the glory of just the tale, not even getting into Peter Kenny's narration.
And what a narration it was!
Kenny has the talent to make you feel truly immersed in the tale. He gives a wide cast of voices that helps to distinguish each character and his own emotion through his speech is tangible and contagious. He is the perfect narrator to give this story life and he did each portion a great justice.
I will gladly read (or more likely listen to) the sequels that follow this outstanding performance. It is a great fantasy that, at just shy of six hours in audio format, won't take weeks to get through.
What I really loved:
This is a fantasy that doesn't do what so many seem to of late. It doesn't fall into the trap that we need to focus on romance. Without ignoring romance completely, it walks that fine line of adventure, action, and attractions. The characters are certainly not emotionless, they have feelings for one another and large ones at that, but it adds to the adventure and tale rather from detracting from it.
It really impressed me in this aspect as I love books where they can touch on romance without that drowning out the main themes of friendships, adventure, honor, and so forth.
It rings of an old fantasy tale, such as Lord of the Rings, where the tale itself can pull you through and plunge you into the boots of one of those living the adventure.
Between Ruffin and Kenny, there is no doubt that this book is a perfect read for those who love a good-old sword and sorcery, epic adventure, and overall clean fantasy.
** I received this book as an ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. **
Another that I rate a five out of five.