I received this ARC from the other in exchange for an honest review. This is my first experience reading a novel written by the excellent Ben Galley and it certainly won’t be the last. Right from the start you are thrown into a gritty and cruel world where magic, or magick as it is told in the book, is forbidden and punishably by death. When you also throw into the mix: daemons, dragons, an all powerful evil empire, rebellion, and a revenge story you know that you are in for a kickass time. The Forever King is set to be released on December 1st and it should be on the radar for epic fantasy fans of all tastes and backgrounds.
This story does take place in Ben Galley’s Emaneska series, taking place many years after the conclusion of those novels. Don not let this deter new readers as Mr. Galley gives us a brief introduction to the events in his previous works and it sets the stage nicely for the Forever King. I have not read any of the Emanaska books and I never once felt like I was missing anything in the story. The book is told through Multi-POV characters but we primarily follow the story of Mithrid Fenn. The Arka Empire has a strangle hold not only on magic but the population inhabiting it. Spreading rumors and horror stories regarding the viscous Outlaw King.
The peace between the two kingdom’s is broken and an outright rebellion is unleashed in the northern fringes of the empire. To cliff-brat Mithrid, this is an age of tranquility and childhood games. That is until an illegal spell book washes up on her shores, and she finds herself thrust into a war she never knew existed. Now hunted by daemons and mages, she is dragged inexorably north to Scalussen and its rebels fighting doggedly to preserve a memory of freedom. Mithrid will go to any stakes to exact her revenge on the Arka empire and if she has to seek the help of the Outlaw King, then so be it.
Ben Galley is a very descriptive writer, letting the world and scenery unfold naturally as if you were a traveler making your way through the countryside. This does lead the book to be a little bit of a slow burn at times, but I didn’t mind this as the story was very engaging and the payoff was well worth the wait. Mithrid is a broken character eager to prove herself every chance she gets. When she learns of all the lies, deception, and unforgivable things her empire has done to her, she seeks to bring the thing down in any way she can. One of the best female characters I have read in the fantasy genre.
I am eagerly looking forward to continuing this series and even starting from the beginning with the Emanaska books to see how it all began. Ben Galley is an ambitious and skilled writer who will one day be a household name in the fantasy community.
Here’s to you Ben Galley, job well done!