Review: Kings and Daemons by Marcus Lee

Kings and Daemons by Marcus Lee

Jen reviews Kings and Daemons, the first book in The Gifted and Cursed series by Marcus Lee.

I won a copy of Kings and Daemons so long ago now, that I can’t even remember where, but I’d like to send out a huge thanks to the author Marcus Lee (and whoever hosted the contest) for the copy.

About the Book
Series:The Gifted and the Cursed #1
Genre:fantasy
Publisher:self-published
Date of Publishing:May 24th, 2020
Trigger Warnings:violence
Page count:419
Book Blurb
Kings and Daemons by Marcus Lee

‘What the gods give with one hand, they take away with the other, for if you are gifted, you shall also be cursed.’

—–

In the Ember Kingdom, a dying land riven by famine and disease, Daleth the evil Witch-King plots his conquest of the neighbouring Freestates. Gifted with eternal youth, his vampiric power is responsible for the decay that afflicts his realm, and now other kingdoms must fall to quench his never-ending thirst for life.

However, on the cusp of the invasion, Maya, a peasant huntress, is arrested, Daleth’s soldiers kill an old farmer’s wife, and a young outcast is reluctantly enlisted into the Witch-King’s army. Three seemingly innocuous events that nonetheless have the potential to alter the destiny of generations to come.

For Maya is gifted with the ability to heal and can influence the hearts and minds of men if she but finds the strength to do so. The young recruit carries a gift of reading thoughts and has no love for the king he serves. As for the vengeful farmer … he’s an ancient warrior gifted in reaping souls who now seeks to fulfil a long-forgotten oath against unbeatable odds.

The world will soon be soaked by the blood of war, but with these three individuals’ lives inescapably entwined, the faint light of hope begins to shine. Alliances will have to be forged, enemies convinced to become friends, and a flicker of love given a chance to become a flame for there to be a chance to fight the encroaching darkness of the Witch-King’s evil.

—–

The Gifted and the Cursed. A dark fantasy trilogy set in a dystopian land, with heroes that are at times more demonic than the evil they face. The bloody battles, quests for revenge and fights for survival are artfully balanced with a light romance, tales of redemption, and the breath-taking beauty of Maya’s gift

Quote of the Book
Quote Background

“Kalas stood overlooking the waterfall, which over fifty years ago had seen him bury his armour, bury his memories, bury his shame.”

Song of the Book

No Judgement by Niall Horan

Review

Kings and Daemons gives off some seriously fun, classic feeling fantasy vibes. If you know me, I am a fan of all the tropes so I was ready for something familiar to relax into and just enjoy the ride.

***

Kings and Daemons featured a world where the land of the Ember Kingdom is dying, its life force slowly being drained from every living thing – from the land to the people themselves to feed the Witch King Daleth. Because Daleth’s source of life and power is slowly draining away, he is now looking towards other kingdoms to conquer and move into to replenish that vitality.

There were a lot of really cool things in this world – between its creatures and its magic, but the one thing I really thought was a neat touch was how the dying of the land also meant that people’s values and morals were dying with it. This loss of hope and beauty and their livelihood pushes everyone into survival mode with the atmosphere around them affecting who they are and how they treat others.

***

Maya is a healer, she has long hidden her gift and her health in fear of being arrested for magic use. She has lived a lonely life away from the village, foraging as much as possible afraid of her secret being discovered.

Taran was banned from his village after turning on his father in his grief over his mother’s death. Taran has the gift of being able to read intentions/thoughts. His gift has helped to keep him alive as a youngster with an abusive parent and as an adult drifting from place to place.

There are quite a few notable characters outside of Maya and Taran, that round out the world.
I particularly liked Rakan, who despite being a man who has done some nasty stuff, we begin to see the influence of Maya’s gift and the change it brings to him – healing the poison in his soul and body that the environment has helped to create. I liked how we could see the changes in him that being with good people brought on.

And of course, I can’t not mention the witch king, Daleth. Daleth is one of those villains I love to hate and it just makes for an entertaining time for me when I can root for the bad guy to fall into a well on a deserted island and die a slow agonising death… not to sound incredibly bloodthirsty or anything, but he is just such an awful person and I loved every second of wishing for him to get his due.

***

The overall tone in Kings and Daemons made it a fun classic fantasy, good for teen+ to adults. I found for the most part it didn’t take itself too seriously even when faced with unbeatable odds and some darker themes, there was time to make a few jokes to lighten up the mood

Considering some of the events like people being sucked dry or having beings in your head taking control, Kings and Daemons could have gotten seriously dark, real fast, but the story leans towards the noble-bright with the feeling that things will work out but not before we see our heroes put through the ringer.

Other Notes

A fun touch for me was the trail that Maya leaves because of her ability. I had this mental image of her progression on a map – highlighted with a big green highlighter.

Our Judgement
Might Require Their Services - 3.5 Crowns

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