Book one of the Magic Kingdom of Landover series. I'd never even heard of Terry Brooks before a co-worker lent the books. Thank you, Stephen!
After Ben Holiday
purchased Landover, he discovered the magic kingdom had some problems.
The Barons refused to recognize a king and the peasants were without
hope. To make matters worse, Ben learned that he had to duel to the
death with the Iron Mask, the terrible lord of the demons--a duel which
no human could hope to win....
MY RATING: 4 STARS
And my review as posted on GoodReads:
was intrigued by the premise of buying a fairy world (kingship
included!), and thank God I was, because it took a few chapters for this
to take off for me. Once things got settled, this was a pretty fun and
entertaining read for me.
Ben Holiday, lawyer and widower, came
across as mopey and unbalanced at first. I can't say he didn't have his
reasons, though. His wife was dead, and he was contemplating buying the
kingdom of Landover for one million dollars, all on a whim. He was full
of doubts for being a successful thirty-something, but given the
situation that seemed logical. Within ten minutes of setting foot in
Landover, he had to escape the demon known as the Iron Mark and the
dragon called Strabo, then ran across the would-be wizard Questor Thews,
who wasted no time in demonstrating his ineptitude. Good start! I like
how whenever Ben was in over his head trying to validate his claim to
the throne, he fell back on his courtroom experience and stayed cool. It
was training that served him well.
It's hard to say who I liked
best out of the secondary characters. Questor was well-meaning,
Abernathy the talking dog (who was once human) was often sarcastic, but
he had a level head and gave some good advice, even if Ben didn't take
it. Willow the sylph wasn't a main player until about halfway through
the book, but she was so steady I couldn't help but come to like her.
problems in Landover, and that's for sure. The magic that keeps the
land alive is failing, and the only way to save it is for a King to
establish himself. But first Ben has to win over the people he'd be king
to, and that's not going to be easy. Before the Lords of the Greensward
will pledge to him, they want him to get rid of Strabo. Before the
River Master will pledge to him, he wants Ben to stop the humans from
polluting the river system. To get rid of Strabo, he'll have to convince
the witch Nightshade to help him (and I doubt we've seen the last of
her yet!). To top it all off, the Iron Mark has challenged him to a
duel, and the only way he could possibly survive that is through the
help of the Paladin, the King's protector and champion of old. Just one
problem: no one has seen the Paladin in twenty years.
weren't for the occasional swearing, I wouldn't have been able to guess
that this was aimed at adults. It didn't take itself too seriously and
it was at times light-hearted and, well, just plain fun. I also
appreciated the old school fantasy characters as opposed to the generic
ones we're stuck with today, and I can only hope that's a trend that
continues through the series. Overall, I'd say Mr. Brooks is off to a
fine start as far as I'm concerned. The only thing that kept this from
getting a five-star rating was the way the pacing took its sweet time in
a few places. Other than that, I can't complain!
Your humble book nerd,