Jill Williamson. King’s Folly. Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2016. See here to buy the book.
King’s Folly is the first book of the “Kinsman Chronicles” series. It is actually a combination of three novellas: Darkness Reigns, The Heir War, and The End of All Things. I checked this book out from the library because Bethany House will be sending me a copy of the book’s sequel.
This is a fantasy work. At the beginning of the book, author Jill
Williamson has provided a list of key characters. She lists them by
country and tells us who they are. She also provides in that section a
list of the gods and goddesses who will be mentioned in this book.
There is also a map at the beginning.
The main country in this book is Armania. There are earthquakes,
which are partly a result of the greedy mining of unstable land, but
which many believe is the result of divine retribution. King Echad of
Armania is sacrificing people to Barthos, the god of the earth/soil.
Prince Wilek believes that his father is superstitious. Meanwhile,
there is dispute about who will succeed Echad: Wilek is an option, but
so is the sinister Janek, who may not even be the son of Echad but
rather the son of the court wizard; there is also a prophecy in the
sacred books that a Messiah from outside of Armania will rule it. The
religious landscape of Armania is featured in this book. Arman is the
father god, and there is a belief among some that he alone should be
worshiped. But that belief was supplanted by those in the establishment
who were against privileging one god, thinking this would make the god
power-hungry. They advise people to select five gods to worship.
Trevn is another son of Echad and is in love with Mielle, the servant
of Lady Zeroah of the land of Sarikar. He receives helpful love
advice. Zeroah is to marry Wilek, as a way to foster an alliance
between the two countries, but Wilek is unsure how exactly to interact
Another country is Magonia. Charlon flees there from kidnappers and
will become heir to the queen herself. The queen has a close
relationship with Magon, the goddess of magic, and Charlon must develop
that relationship as well. There is a prophecy that a great figure from
Magon will pose a threat to Armania.
The world that this book portrays is intriguing, and there are
endearing scenes. The writing-style could be rather dry, and I had to
pay close attention to know what was going on. The prose was simple
enough, but I was not always sure what was happening. I’ve had
difficulty getting into a lot of the fantasy books that I have read: I
do finish them, but I get lost when I am reading them. The book was a
rather comfortable read, though.
While the book did get into religion, I was wondering what exactly
was so praiseworthy about Arman. He comes across as a jealous, wrathful
deity, who is causing the earthquakes because people don’t worship him
only. Of course, people can say that sounds like the biblical god. But
perhaps the biblical God can be rehabilitated by adding other
considerations: God realizes that only God can fulfill us and does not
want us to worship what is inferior. This book presented other gods as
dead-ends, or as roads to undesirable destinations, but it did not
explain, as far as I can recall, why Arman is worthy of praise.
The next book should be interesting.
This review is informal and quickly-written. Please keep that in mind after reading it.