Title: A Drowned Kingdom
Date of Publication: February 2nd 2021 by Friesen Press
Length: 404 pages
Genre: Epic Fantasy / Military Fantasy
Favourite Quote: “Faith should be blind, it is said, but not dumb. ”
Content Warnings: Bigotry (racist and religious), Violence, mention of homophobia
Series: Yes! This is to be an EPIC Saga. I cannot wait.
Maps?: Yes! Multiple maps – I LOVE MAPS IN FANTASY
Five hundred thousand souls were not supposed to die in moments.
This is probably the most challenging review I’ve ever had to write because I have so much to say about A Drowned Kingdom and oh so many notes.
I picked this book up after hearing about it through SPFBO and being recommended by a couple of friends. ‘A Drowned Kingdom’ is about great a great civilisation, with advanced weaponry and engineering, that gets swallowed by the ocean and the story of the outcast survivors?! I couldn’t not read it. I named my daughter Atlantis after all!!
Slow burn fantasy isn’t usually my pace, but every time I put it down, I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters in this book.
Told from the sole perspective of Prince Othrun, the second son of the King of Atalantyx, devout follower of the One True God, who initially strikes you as a bigoted d*uche canoe and the easiest of characters to dislike. Usually, in books where one character is so easy to dislike, we get a second POV or character we can root for. This is not the case in A Drowned Kingdom. This was a brave move by Stuart, one that I think ultimately pays off.
Penalty, after all, could only be feared so much when one day you would make all the rules.
As I read I found myself conflicted. Few characters are truly good. There is no simple good vs evil. All characters are flawed and self serving and yet honourable and virtuous. The depth of each character held me enthralled and I will need to do a reread to catch hints and precursors for things I may have missed the first time around.
This is a character driven tale but that isn’t to say nothing happens. The politics and schemes are well done, and just when you think you have everything sorted in your head we are thrown another twist after another twist.
Part one is slow but necessary to build the framework of the characters and their motivations and picks up rather quickly in parts two and three.
I’m intrigued by the magic here and how it all ties into the elemental gods. The character Lysi has my heart. She is never to be trusted (LIKE NEVER EVER) but her swagger and reasoning for her actions are awesome and one of the character arcs I’m most intrigued to continue reading. Also, Hert is, so far, my favourite character and if anything happens to him I will RIOT!!
Many issues we face in our real world are reflected in the text. Bigotry, racism and elitism. This all combined into a complex world of Gods, magic, war, politics and flawed characters out to get what they perceive is best for their people. I could write so much about this book and its intricacies! I have notes for daaays.
This is planned to be a long epic Saga and I can’t wait to continue
OVERALL THOUGHTS: If you love grim military fantasy and realistically flawed characters, I highly recommend this riveting character driven tale that is the start of something I think will be great!!
Rating: 5 out of 5.