I’m back again, guys! It’s been a crazy few weeks in my neck of the woods, and productivity has been difficult for me. But I’m finally back at this with a review of my newest and current read, The Heron Kings by Eric Lewis. This is actually Day 1 of the Blog Tour for The Heron Kings, and I am so thrilled to be a part of the journey! The Heron Kings is a fantasy story set in a world ravaged by the violence of war, and it’s told from an unlikely protagonist – a former nun who was previously devoted to caring for the battle-wounded soldiers from both sides of the war. If you like war-time fiction and epic fantasies, then I think you’ll love this book.
While The Heron Kings tells a story that feels familiar– with bloodshed and battle camps in a fantasy world– it approaches these themes in a wholly unique way. It has themes I love and really compelling characters. Fantasy is not my go-to genre (hence my blog’s focus on Science Fiction) but when an author gives me a strong female lead and a quietly progressive take on the fantasy genre, I am in for the long haul.
The Heron Kings is at once a commentary on war and its repercussions, but at other times considers the premise of necessary violence. This book is a lot more than just a wartime story, though. The main character, the nurse and former nun Alessia, is strong-willed and determined, and starts the story completely devoted to healing, helping, and standing up for others. The choices she is faced with are choices of conscience, and I love the changing tides and solid strength of her character throughout the story. She’s a refreshing take on the strong female lead of a fantasy novel, and I’ve really enjoyed her perspective.
On top of everything else, the writing in The Heron Kings is superb, and I found it really approachable for a fantasy novel. Eric Lewis’s writing reminds me of the writing of Brandon Sanderson — with vernacular that’s uncomplicated yet full of emotion and depth — and that’s some of the highest praise I can give a fantasy novel. I think The Heron Kings would be an enjoyable read for long-time fantasy buffs and also those new to the genre. While I haven’t fully finished the book yet, I do recommend it based on my time with it so far; it’s proving to easily be a 4 star read for me. I’m super excited to not only finish this book, but also to dig into Eric Lewis’s backlist short fiction!
The Heron Kings released April 23rd, 2020 and is published by Flame Tree Press.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
By day Eric Lewis is a PhD research chemist weathering the latest rounds of mergers and layoffs and still trying to remember how to be a person again long after surviving grad school. In addition to subjecting his writing to one rejection after another, he can be found gathering to himself as many different sharp and pointies as possible and searching for the perfect hiking trail, archery range or single malt Scotch. Don’t ask where, because he’s never lived anywhere for longer than five years.
His short fiction has been published in Nature, Electric Spec, Allegory, Bards and Sages Quarterly, the anthologies Into Darkness Peering, Best Indie Speculative Fiction Vol. 1 and Crash Code, as well as other venues detailed at ericlewis.ink. THE HERON KINGS is his first novel.
Thanks to the author, Flame Tree Press, and Random Things Tours (and Netgalley!) for providing me an arc of the book for review!