The Kinshield Legacy by K.C. May
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
One of those books that makes me want to read everything from the author.
Let me start by saying I picked this book up mostly because it was free and because I needed a book title with a K for the A-Z reading challenge I'm playing along with this year. That being said, I was surprised to be drawn in immediately.
The hero is Gavin Kinshield, a bounty hunter or lawman for hire, who finds himself drawn to solving the Kings Runes. This is not something he desires. Instead, the runes and their solutions haunt him constantly, annoying him until he has no cure but solving another one. All this you get in the first chapter or so. After that, Gavin's character gets even more interesting. At first glance he's nothing one would consider kingly material, but the author slowly reveals there is more to him in a way that draws you in.
Another interesting character is the main female lead, a warrior called Daia, who has an interesting ability, a noble past, and a conflicted present. She finds herself alternately disgusted and impressed by him, an interesting thing in itself, and the banter between Daia and Gavin is both natural and amusing. She is also a member of an elite group of women called the Viragon Sisterhood, which battles otherwordly creatures called beyonders and hire out as protectors. This brings in another aspect I enjoyed, the portrayal of women as strong and capable.
But their prowess and strength are not enough to protect them from the evil sorcerer who seeks the rune solver for his own nefarious purpose, and they are caught up in the ever more intricate web that threatens not only Gavin, but also the entire country, for Brodas Ravenkind as king would be worse than no king at all. As the evil villain, Brodas is both despicable and powerful, scary and charismatic. Certain chapters are told from his perspective, which reveals just how awful he truly is. I loved it!
Another thing I loved about this book was the history that is revealed as the story progresses. Gavin's personal history and the Kinshield legacy, for which the book is named, are fascinating and are built slowly to allow the reader a chance to guess at what more there may be. But it is not only Gavin with a noteworthy past, Daia, Brodas, a young warrior woman Brawna, and the Farthans, Artlet and Risen Stronghammer, have their own stories to tell, all of which lead to a satisfyingly rich cast of characters with believable motivations.
As for the quality of the book itself, Kinshield Legacy is smoothly told and well-edited. It's a well polished product that I feel confident recommending to others.
Overall, I loved this book and feel it is worth reading again. I highly recommend it to folks who love adventure, fantasy, and a complex (but not overwhelming) plot. The story is just the right size, the writing is solid, and the experience is worth repeating.
I want to read the next books in the series, though the print copies run a little high for my taste. Still, as stories I'll likely re-read, the investment in paper may be worth it. Plus, I want my husband to read them, and he's not fond of e-readers. I'll probably read them all in ebook before getting the print copies.
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