I like reading fantasy, but I’ve usually read adolescent fantasy. Reading King by R.J. Larson was my first foray into reading adult fantasy and I was very pleased. The King has the quintessential elements of fantasy: another world, courageous and evil characters, and the eternal battle of good versus evil, and of course of an intense plot.
Although I had not read the previous two books in the series, King was intense and captivating. Both females and male characters had depth and pathos, and I like how Larson’s characters used their sorrow to seek after good rather than become bitter.
When Akabe finds himself king, instead of a free warrior, his overriding desire is to rebuild the Infinite’s temple. Although not shrewd, king Akabe genuinely seeks to better his kingdom and turns his subjects’ hearts to the Infinite. Through skillful narrative and incisive insights into human nature, Larson draws us into the troubles of Siphra and its enemies that will do anything to prevent another temple where the faithful can worship.
Through Akabe, we meet his loyal friends, Ela the young visionary and unpredictable prophet and Kien the new Lord Aeyrievale, who pledge everything to help him accomplish his dream. Although Akabe desires to do right, his plan has unforeseen consequences when he impulsively marries an enigmatic queen who represents those who want to undermine his temple plans. By eventually confronting his past, Akabe comes to realize that to faithfully follow the Infinite requires much more than making grand plans.
While Larson’s story is one of adventure and good triumphing evil, it is largely a story of how loss and love can transform people into more compassionate beings.
Larson’s reference to parental figures confused me at the beginning of the book but the guide in the front of the book was helpful. Overall, I enjoyed reading the King and plan to read the Prophet and Judge, also part of the Books of the Infinite series. Bethany House Publishing sent me a complimentary copy of King by R.J. Larson to review.