- A Plague Of Giants (Seven Kennings #1).
- Kevin Hearne.
- 656 pages.
- Fantasy / Epic Fantasy / Fiction.
- My Rating: Hell Yeah Book Review.
In the city of Pelemyn, Fintan the bard takes to the stage to tell what really happened the night the giants came . . .
From the east came the Bone Giants, from the south, the fire-wielding Hathrim – an invasion that sparked war across the six nations of Teldwen. The kingdom’s only hope is the discovery of a new form of magic that calls the world’s wondrous beasts to fight by the side of humankind.
I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Now this right here, this is the good stuff!👌
After the invasion by the Eculans (the bone giants) and set in the aftermath of the subsequent Giants’ War the stories told in A Plague of Giants are recounted over a number of days (19) by one man, Fintan, the Raelech bard. Fintan can use his kenning (the magic system) and the power of a seeming stone to take on the guise of the person whose account he is currently retelling and orate across distance, in other words, folks, he’s loud. Raelech bards are also blessed with perfect recall and memory which makes them the ideal storytellers! Each day in Survivor Field Fintan tells the various tales of the Giants’ War to the people of Pelemyn and the various refugees who have sort safety there. When he speaks, they all listen, enraptured by him and the stories he tells. Likewise, you will be transfixed as you read about the characters lives, their exploits, the sacrifices that they make and the horrors that they endure.
Interspersed with the tales Fintan tells are the present day to day happens between himself and Master Dervan, a Brynt historian who has been tasked to both write down Fintan’s recounting of the Giants’ War and to also keep an eye on him (the best example that I can come up with is that these parts of the book are similar to the present day interludes featured in the Kingkiller Chronicles books by Patrick Rothfuss). These sections act as the buffer between when Fintan finishes his storytelling each day and when he starts again on the following day.
There’s a lot of different PoV characters (11 in total) and at the beginning, the narrative can feel disjointed and separate as you flit from character to character and location to location. It can be confusing at first and you might wonder how all the characters and locations tie in together. But trust me, they do! The origin stories are engaging, different and on the whole, they all add something to the story. As the book progresses, everything begins to fall into place and you find that the pieces start to merge, coming together and forming a coherent story told by Hearne. All in all, A Plague of Giants features an eclectic array of different characters that form a vast tapestry of perspectives woven together from their separate story arcs that feels both personal to the individual characters and epic in nature. If pushed and made to commit then without giving away any details about their storylines, I’d have to say that my favourite characters to read about were Gorin Mogen (a giant from Hathrir), Abhinava Khose (a young male from Ghurana Nent), Nel Kit Ben Sah (a Fornish greensleeve) and Gondel Vedd (an elderly linguist from Kauria) but quite surprisingly for such a large cast, I found each character arc to be enjoyable in their own way and I liked reading about all the characters.
I really liked Teldwen, the world that Hearne has created, consisting of six nations (Ghurana Nent, Brynlon, Rael, Forn, Hathrir and Kauria) it’s rich, full of different cultures and vast in scale and though we only visit certain areas and locations I’m sure that we’ll see the unexplored areas in future books.
The seven kennings of the book’s title refer to the magic system used by Hearne. Each nation of Teldwen is home to a single kenning, not everyone has a kenning but those that do can only possess one individual kenning. So far, there are only five known kennings (the elements air, water, earth, fire and then flora too) but there are rumours that six or even seven kennings could exist, meaning that there are as yet two kennings still to be discovered. With each kenning, there are different castes that manifest different abilities. The magic can be powerful but it also has a cost and the more you use and stretch the power and limits of your kenning the faster you age.
I found Hearnes writing style to be engaging, he easily draws you, making you want to continue reading even when life is calling and you, unfortunately, have to put the book down. He’s able to give individual voices to all his main characters (who are an eclectic and diverse mix of both young and old and male and female characters) also including plenty of emotion (to make you invested and care), humour (to make you chuckle) and action (we all love some sweet fighting scenes) in his story that all adds up to a terrific, well paced and time-devouring read.
A Plague of Giants is a big boy, it’s a 600 (a smidgen over) page tome and while not in the same 1,000+ page length as some other epic fantasy books out there it is still a big book. It’s the biggest I’ve read in quite a while and that dear readers make for a hefty sized book!
I’m not a professional, I’m just a normal guy who is a reader and a lover of fantasy. I’ve read enough books in the genre to know what I like and what I dislike in fantasy and apart from a couple of very minor slight grievances (I found the large amount of PoV characters to be confusing at the beginning – which I already mentioned at the start of the review. And due to that large cast of characters it also takes a good while for all of the players to be introduced into the story) overall I really couldn’t fault A Plague of Giants. I found it to be an outstanding read and I look forward to continuing the series.👌
A Plague of Giants is fantastic giant-sized epic fantasy.
Pre-order A Plague of Giants (October 19th the UK and October 17th US).
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