Book Review: THE SPLINTER KING by Mike Brooks

Title in black on blurry image of pagoda-like buildings
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 3 stars
Series: yes - second book in series

*SPOILER ALERT: contains SPOILERS for THE BLACK COAST*

Synopsis:

Book cover for THE SPLINTER KING: title on blue and yellow image of pagoda-like buildings

Darel, dragon knight and newly chosen leader of Black Keep, must journey to the palace of the God-King to beg for the lives of his people. But in the Naridan Capital, Marin and his warrior husband will be drawn into a palace coup, while Princess Tila will resort to murder to keep her hold on power.

In the far reaches of the kingdom, rumours of a rival God-King abound, an heir in exile is hunted by assassins and daemonic forces from across the seas draw ever nearer.

Synopsis taken from the back cover. Add to your Goodreads shelves here.


Review:

THE SPLINTER KING is another big book that feels long, with highly unconnected POVs. As often happens later in a series, there are more POVs to contend with. I counted eight main POVs and two POVs with one or two chapters.

Usually, you’d expect POVs to get more interconnected as the series progresses because there are more chances for people to meet as the plot develops. However, if anything, this book felt like the characters and storylines were less interconnected than the previous. There were seven main storylines that fleetingly touched one another, but could have been read independently with only a glimmer of lost understanding.

That sort of story telling just doesn’t feel satisfying to me because I don’t feel like there’s a “point” to having some of these characters in here as they could be removed and there’d be no impact. Oh, sure, maybe there’d be an impact on the final book, but I’m not reading the final book. I’m reading this one, and it’s not feeling like a book, but rather like a bunch of novellas set in the same world got smushed together to engorge the size of it.

The individual storylines themselves feel under fleshed out as they get so little time and they’re so spread out I kept forgetting what had happened. Not to mention a chapter might end mid fight and then I’d have to go through five or six other’s character’s events (which have moved time on) before getting the other half of the fight.

Will I keep reading? Yes – I’m pretty sure it’s a trilogy, so there’s only one book to go (though a mental run through of all the various conflicts and how little each storyline gets makes me wonder if it’s a quartet.) Plus I am invested in the story of Black Keep – I want to know if they’ll survive and thrive. That’s the reason I kept ploughing through this book, because that storyline is so enjoyable, so engaging. I just wish I didn’t have to wade through everyone else to get to their story.


Read my reviews of other books by Mike Brooks:

The God-King Chronicles (this series):

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