Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Raymond E. Feist's A Kingdom Besieged - not quite a review

I was thrilled when this book finally landed in my mail box. I'm always thrilled when I get a new book in the Midkemia series, although, I have to admit the thrill hasn't been quite as big as it used to be before Wrath of a Mad God. I miss Nakor and I don't think I'll ever quite forgive Feist for killing off my all time fantasy character.

I can forgive him for his multiple continuity errors - like forgetting that Erik married Kitty, etc. I noticed them, went: "oh-uh, someone didn't do their job right editing this" and read on. I could do that and chuckle, while Nakor was still around, I'm experiencing less leniency towards these mistakes and also the lack of new interesting characters in his After-Nakor novels.

A Kingdom Besieged(AKB) has two new interesting characters. The demons; Child and her teacher Belog. Refreshingly different from the usual lot of descendants of former books' long dead heroes.

The other characters are not really that remarkable. There is Pug and his Conclave members and Pug is still the annoyingly slightly boring character that I've always found him to be, nothing new there.

Magnus is as bloodless as always - will his chance of being a proper protagonist and hero ever happen?

There is Sandrina the Sergant Knight-Adamant of the Order of the Shield ofthe Weak and James Dasher Jamison, who has rounded 40 and notice how his body isn't responding as well as it used to - this made me sympathize a lot with this character, though. I have rounded 40 and sadly notice the same. There is a lot of soreness and pain involved to being physically active when you pass the age of 39 and this came well across as Jim spies for his king and the Conclave.

The new young additions are The ConDoin sons of Duke Henry of Crydee; Henry(Hal), Martin and Brendan. There aren't really anything new about them, we've seen them before, we've followed them from a relative carefree adolescence to responsible adulthood so many times through this series there is nothing interesting to add about them. Same goes for Ty, son of Tal Hawkins who becomes a good friend of Hal as fellow combatant of the Masters' Court Championship and fellow student at the University of Roldem.

There is trouble brewing anew. No reports are back from the various spies in Kesh. Jim and Sandrina both travel down there to investigate, Jim to find out about his agents and spies, Sandrina to check out her suspicions of the Black Caps being back. Not only are the Black Caps back, or the Nighthawks as Jim knows them as, but it appears the Pantathians are back as well.

Kesh is clearly planning an invasion of the Kingdom of the Isles and their first goal is the coast of Crydee. It is left to Martin and Brendan to take a stand and protect the western region of the Kingdom. It is left to Pug and his closest Conclave members to figure out why and who and what is behind the scene holding the leash.

*Spoilers* highlight if you want to read
Sure enough, it is the Dread that again works to gain access Midkemia and this time it seems Pug and his friends are going to lose it all. Until the end of the novel where a thoroughly surprising reincarnation of none others than Miranda and Nakor left me completely bedazzled and confused. Is this really happening? Oh, yes. Feist introduced those interesting characters Child and Belog only to make them be reborn as Miranda and Nakor. They escape the demon realm, enters the Hall of Worlds and enters Midkemia through that tavern in LaMut. The last joke where the demon Child asks the demon Belog if he has an orange made me cringe. 

Okay, I have missed Nakor so much. I think it was a mistake of Feist to have him die. But, having him reincarnated again together with Miranda? Oy Vey! Now that's a proper facepalm for yah. I mean, seriously? I'm disappointed. This seems to be a rather awkward way of getting around a major mistake, doesn't it? Having the most popular character come back to life, because it suddenly dawned on you that this character is really who the readers wanted to read about? Earth calling Raymond! 

I'm still going to continue reading the supposedly two last novels in the midkemia series. Maybe I can manage to pretend I never read the books where they died and got reincarnated, maybe I can pretend that they have just been away on a long journey....but I doubt it. 

At the end, I'm left with mixed feeling about this last Midkemia novel. I'm still curious as to how it all will end, but...I don't like it when things get too weird.


  1. It's heaven and hell, he purposefully killed them to further explain that to people who hadn't got it yet.