Back in 2011, I heard about a TV show called Game of Thrones. Checked out an episode for free. Thought it was cool. Got a chance to read the book. Made it past the 12 page prologue, but no more. It simply bored me.
4 years later, author Jill Williamson reveals she's writing a prequel series to her fan-favorite Blood of Kings trilogy. Giving a list of differences between BoK and the prequel, I couldn't help but think the prequel was, structurally, like A Song of Fire and Ice. The essential difference? I can read and get sucked into this new series, The Kinsman Chronicles.
I haven't read Jill's previous stories (except The Senet Box), but I can tell she knows a few things about worldbuilding. She combines elements of familiar real cultures and eras while keeping them in this unique land, a land called the Five Realms.
Each Realm has its own unique rules and culture. Each has a different kind of royalty or reign, but they all have one thing in common that is causing strange confusion.
The Root Prophecy.
A single prophecy that is worded variantly by each religious culture, none 100% agreeing on the word nor meaning, except for the angle of cataclysms. The Five Woes.
Not only that, each character central to the story has a part to play, whether to the story itself or to the prophecy.
I was quite blown away by how layered, nuanced, and consistent the story is. Moreso, I was impressed by the plausibility of the magic system, its style, usage, limitations, how each culture views it, and the slang used for those who practice it. Not once did Jill contradict the magic system, but let it unfold organically throughout.
Not only magic, the politics are well thought out. From the seemingly glitzy to the downright disturbing sides of court side politics and religion-based politics, while making sure it didn't reflect real-life religion.
After all I read of the superstitions, the Renegades, the incredible romance and unexpected treachery, I can't wait to see what happens out at sea.
Read and find out what I mean by that. 5/5 stars.