The River Kings’ Road begins with an ambush that leaves most of the village of Willowfield dead; however, the action primarily takes place in the distance away from the page as the author chooses to focus on Brys Tarnell, who has the good fortune to exit the church before the ambush occurs. Throughout the book, Liane Merciel continues to make choices like that, which means there’s a lot of “telling” rather than “showing.” A good portion of it is quite boring; yet there are sections that brought me back into the story and kept me intrigued. I frequently wanted to skim scenes, especially when Brys was without Odosse; on the other hand, I enjoyed reading about Odosse. She was forced to make hard decisions quickly and without the chance to mourn her dead relatives. In caring for her child and the sick heir who barely survived the attack that left his parents dead, Odosse proved herself an admirable woman, unlike the majority of the other characters who thought only of themselves. Although Leferic’s act of vengeance and his motivations were clichéd, I did find him an interesting character. I’m certain The River Kings’ Road would be more entertaining if it focused on two or three characters rather than constantly jumping to the various perspectives.
Review copy provided by the publisher, Gallery Books.
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