“The King Below, Enemy of the World, is dead. Will his successor save the world…or rule it?”
Thank you to the author for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Wraith Knight is available now.
The idea behind Wraith Knight is an intriguing one. Jacob Riverson was a hero in life, one of those do-gooders who inspire folk songs and have specialty drinks named after them. Then things went a little sideways. The book finds him reeling knowing that, following his death, he spent centuries enslaved as a Wraith Knight, serving the very evil that he fought against. His free will is finally restored to him, his Master being dead(ish). Jacob gets to see firsthand what a world devoid of the evil he died trying to defeat looks like, and it isn’t what he expected. Now he has to decide: is he a hero or the next big villain?
There was a lot to like about this book. First of all, is how the author used Jacob as a conduit to the world and history while still avoiding the dreaded info dump. While Jacob was getting caught up on what had happened in the time he missed, the reader also got the important information. I loved that, as in all history books, what actually happened and how it’s being told aren’t precisely the same thing. Jacob gets to hear how people think things occurred and who they think he was. I got a laugh out of his thoughts on how his friends were described.
Jacob was the very definition of a morally gray character. From early on, he makes less than glowing choices, and his immediate justification of his decisions showcased a character with a sliding moral scale. I love morally conflicted characters, and Jacob was written very well. His personality allowed the author to explore questions of morality, such as whether the end really ever justifies the means and what makes up the invisible line between good and evil. The fact that the author also included dragons and fantasy battles makes this a win-win for readers.
Wraith Knight features a smaller cast of characters. These include Sarah, a witch who had a flair for Shadow magic, and a rather naive but well-meaning warrior named Regina (who was introduced on dragonback, immediately upping her cool factor). Regina, in particular, was a character that I went back and forth on. At times, I really enjoyed reading about her. After a while, she became a tad annoying, though. It was an interesting back and forth, and I’m really not sure what caused my changes in opinion on her.
The book was fast-paced with battles aplenty. The pacing was consistent, never dragging or jumping. The world itself featured slight twists on the general fantasy setting, being different enough to be intriguing yet similar enough that I didn’t have to think about it all that much. The book is character driven, so the world itself becomes secondary. It’s the choices made and the character development that are the focus in Wraith Knight.
There was a romantic entanglement of sorts which I wasn’t a big fan of. As those of you who have followed my blog know, I’m ridiculously picky when it comes to romance in books, so take my opinion on this with that in mind.
At the end of the day, there was a lot to like about Wraith Knight. While it’s a darker book, it never became fully grimdark. However, this book will be best enjoyed by those who like to read on the grittier side of fantasy. Pick up Wraith Knight for morally complicated characters and a surprisingly introspective look at right vs. wrong and the ideals that often stray a little into both categories.