Hey all, Dani here.
And today is a wonderful Happy Book Birthday to author Kevin Hearne for his first epic fantasy novel. I’ve talked about Hearne before, mostly gushing about his Iron Druid Chronicles books. I would like to reread the first three books and then continue on with the series, so I’ll probably have reviews for the whole series up in the future. But today I am not here to talk about his wonderful urban fantasy series. Instead I am here to talk about a book I have been anticipating since the moment I first discovered it thanks to following Hearne’s social media accounts.
It’s time to dive into my review for A Plague of Giants.
Oh, and I should also thank the publisher and NetGalley for giving me the chance to read this book early. Being granted an e-galley did not influence my rating or opinion in any way. After all, I planned to buy this book long before I requested it from NetGalley.
From the author of The Iron Druid Chronicles, a thrilling novel that kicks off a fantasy series with an entirely new mythology—complete with shape-shifting bards, fire-wielding giants, and children who can speak to astonishing beasts
MOTHER AND WARRIOR
Tallynd is a soldier who has already survived her toughest battle: losing her husband. But now she finds herself on the front lines of an invasion of giants, intent on wiping out the entire kingdom, including Tallynd’s two sons—all that she has left. The stakes have never been higher. If Tallynd fails, her boys may never become men.
SCHOLAR AND SPY
Dervan is an historian who longs for a simple, quiet life. But he’s drawn into intrigue when he’s hired to record the tales of a mysterious bard who may be a spy or even an assassin for a rival kingdom. As the bard shares his fantastical stories, Dervan makes a shocking discovery: He may have a connection to the tales, one that will bring his own secrets to light.
REBEL AND HERO
Abhi’s family have always been hunters, but Abhi wants to choose a different life for himself. Embarking on a journey of self-discovery, Abhi soon learns that his destiny is far greater than he imagined: a powerful new magic thrust upon him may hold the key to defeating the giants once and for all—if it doesn’t destroy him first.
Set in a magical world of terror and wonder, this novel is a deeply felt epic of courage and war, in which the fates of these characters intertwine—and where ordinary people become heroes, and their lives become legend.
Rating: 4 stars
This was a complex story with so many perspectives to follow. Coming from someone who adores reading big epic fantasy books with complicated stories, it may be saying something that I had times where I struggled with this one.
I really enjoyed Fintan the bard, and his kenning–or magical ability–to project his voice over long distances and tell stories. That plus seeming stones that allowed him to look like the person whose story he was telling was really interesting. The problem is that the POV of Dervan is also in first person. So you jump from Dervan who is watching the bard, to the bard’s tales, which are also in first person. Sometimes it makes it difficult to remember which of the 11 characters you’re following in that moment.
Primarily this book is about the orations that Fintan the bard is giving. In fact, the story spans over 19 days as Fintan goes out to tell these stories, typically telling three smaller bits of the overall story each day, and rotating through the various people whose tales he has collected.
The world-building is great, and I loved the wide diversity of the world in general. Add into that the magic of the kennings and things get even more interesting. The people of the world commonly accept five different kennings, but through these tales it is suggested that there may be a sixth and perhaps even a seventh kenning.
Learning about these different people from all different lands in the world was an adventure, and while sometimes I felt like it was taking me a while to get through the book, I did overall like what I was reading.
This does not have the same feel as the Iron Druid Chronicles, which definitely have an easier urban fantasy flow to them. Instead, the first book in the Seven Kennings trilogy sets up a vast magical world with plenty of political complications and other issues. I may have to read this book again to fully grasp some of the developments and such, but I look forward to seeing what happens in the next book.