I have an absurd fantasy in regards to writing. Skip this if you already know it.
I want to write someone’s favorite book.
I want someone to come up to me one day and say something along the lines of…
“I’ve never read anything like this before. This is my favorite book.”
(Maybe not that stilted, but you get the point).
I would then say (or sign the book):
I wrote this for you.
Nicholas Eames doesn’t know this yet, but…
He wrote Kings of the Wyld for me.
I don’t do book reviews often, and in the 3ish years I’ve been inconsistently blogging, I think I’ve review maybe one (maybe two. More to come hopefully).
But I feel compelled to tell you about this FREAKING AMAZING BOOK.
Do you like Fantasy? Read this book.
Do you like Rock n’ Roll? Read this book.
Do you like heroes with heart who have deep and meaningful character arcs?
Read. this. book.
I will buy two more copies by the end of this year to give as gifts. I kid not.
So where to begin…
So. Kings of the Wyld is a one part Led Zeppelin Reunion Tour, Two Parts Dungeon & Dragons, and One Part Action-Comedy. The humor is never overdone, but often serves to undercut heroic fantasy expectations where the heroes are set up to do something awesome, but falter due to age, alcohol, or just being rusty. Also, SOOOOO many allusions to classic rock songs: A few chapter titles (Rambling On comes to mind), Character names (There’s a Layla in there, and a Sabbatha – Which makes me think of Encino Man era Pauly Shore introducing someone to Black Sabbath-uh), and so many others that I should have highlighted when I read them and chuckled to myself. There are also some meta-ish references to the likes of Lord of the Rings (just certain lines that ring reminiscent of Tolkien).
The story concerns itself with Clay “Slowhand” Cooper, the bassist…I mean…a member of the legendary band of mercenaries, SAGA (who I recently bad a badge of for an ill-fated badge contest).
Clay has resigned himself to a comfortable life in the countryside with his adorable wife and daughter when the ex-leader of Saga, Robert Plant…I mean, “Golden Gabe” Gabriel shows up asking for Clay’s help rescuing his daughter-turned-mercenary, Rose, who has gotten herself trapped on the far side a fantasy-monster infested forest in an ancient stronghold by a giant horde of said fantasy hell-monsters.
Golden Gabe circa Saga’s glory days…Not really…This is Robert Plant holding a sword. My google images search kung-fu is strong.
Gabriel has gotten it into his head that the only way to save his daughter is to reunite their legendary band and go after her, which after a change of heart (which is too character driven to talk about) Clay agrees to.
Together they pick up the rest of their band mates, who I will describe as the following:
Matrick Skulldrumer (the drummer), the murderous rogue turned fat-drunken king.
John Bonham. I’d say Neil Pert, but Matrick reminds me more of this late great drummer.
Moog (The synth/keyboard man), the eccentric wizard suffering as he tries to cure the incurable disease which claimed his husband (Freddie). I can only assume Freddie is a reference to the greatest rock vocalist of all-time, Freddie Mercury and his battle with HIV/AIDS.
I use Ray Manzarek because I don’t know keyboardists well and his work in The Doors is the only part of the band I love.
Ganelon (On Lead Guitar/Axe), the greatest warrior possibly ever who has been…ya know what? I’m not telling you where he is because HE IS FREAKING AWESOME.
I’m gonna go with two guitarists to describe him because in attitude he reminds me of Slash (But I also think Slash is largely overrated) So…
Slash is he could play like Jimi.
And finally, our protagonist, Clay Cooper, who I’ve already described above as the bassist of the band…
John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin but crossed with a BEAR.
Clay is the heart and soul of Saga. Gabriel is the frontman, but it’s Slowhand that moves the song along with his steady bassline. They follow Gabe, but Clay is the reason they follow. The monster who chose to be a good man.
Kings of the Wyld hit me on multiple levels.
As a lover of classic rock and a loather of some current bands like…
The Screaming Eagles. I don’t know. They’re just who I thought of. A band with a lot of glitz and glam but lacking the substance of the old. They scream, they shout, they are the fallen angels, but does anyone REALLY care? Are we going to be listening to this song in 40 years? I think not.
As a fantasy fan and novice Pathfinder player.
And most importantly as a father.
If it one of my sons…Nothing would stop me.
If I haven’t convinced you to buy and read it yet, let me add this…
In a year where I have read: The Broken Empire Trilogy by Mark Lawrence, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis, The Man Who was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clark, Two Dresden Books by Jim Butcher, Two Wheel of Time books by Robert Jordan, and A Tale of Two Cities by Charles freakin’ Dickens…
This has been my favorite read.
I’m hard pressed to say it’s my favorite book of all-time. I think time will tell that (and we’ll see how good Bloody Rose is)…
I’ve never read a book before where I wanted to start it all over again when I was done.
It was like some of my favorite go-to movies.
They’re not my favorite movies of all-time, but there’s a reason I return to them.
I will return to Kings of the Wyld.
I will buy Bloody Rose.
I will buy whatever the hell else Nicholas Eames writes.
Because it is that freakin’ good.
– Scritch out.