Review: Throne of the Bastards by Brian Keene & Steven L. Shrewsbury

Rating: ★★★☆☆+

Synopsis

Sword and sorcery collides with horror once again in this sequel to Brian Keene and Steven L. Shrewsbury’s award-winning KING OF THE BASTARDS.

Learning that his family is in danger, Rogan returns to his former kingdom, now under siege from foreign invaders and supernatural forces led by his bastard son. With time running out, the aging barbarian and his trusted companions, Javan and Akibeel, must forge an alliance of new friends and old foes, mustering an army to retake the kingdom. Surrounded by savages, soldiers, demons, and dark magic, it will take all of their cunning, skill, ruthlessness, and courage to survive the slaughter and determine once and for all who shall sit upon the THRONE OF THE BASTARDS.

Review

Thanks to the publisher and authors for an e-copy of Throne of the Bastards in exchange for an honest review. Receiving a copy of the novella did not influence my thoughts or opinions. I received this novella as part of Apex Book Company’s Back Catalog Blog Tour.

While not quite as engrossing, punch-packing, or bloody as its predecessor, Throne of the Bastards is a worthy sequel that gives readers of KotB more of the dog-cussing, sexually explicit, and head-hacking barbarian they came to know and love.

With these novellas being so short, you certainly aren’t in for a ton of back-story, fully fleshed characters, or redeeming qualities. The world-building is rather tight and concise, the plot moves around quickly to get to the meat, and things become fairly predictable.

But honestly, who gives a rip when all you want is blood and death, demons and wizards. That is exactly what you get in this installment and it is worth every penny. Sacrificial magic, winged demons wreaking havoc, bodies being taken over by souls of the dead, etc. The horror definitely gets ramped this time around while the fantasy is just along for the ride until the last quarter or so.

The writing is crisp and easy to follow, leading to a rather quick read at under two (2) hours, depending on speed. These novellas aren’t going to have any profound impact on you, but if you enjoyed Robert E. Howard’s Conan, except replace him with a blood-thirsty King who wants to kill absolutely everyone, then you’ll enjoy to your heart’s content.

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