Title: Kalanon’s Rising
Author: Darian Smith
Published: October 2016
Amount Read: 100%
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Blurb: Solve the murder. Stop the war. Save the world.
Sir Brannon Kesh spent years building a new life as a physician, leaving the name Bloodhawk and the war that spawned it behind. But when the King’s cousin is murdered, duty calls him back. The crime scene suggests dark magic and the evidence points to the ambassador of Nilar, an alluring woman with secrets of her own, who sees Bloodhawk as little more than a war criminal.
As bodies pile up and political ramifications escalate, Brannon must join forces with a vain mage, a socially awkward priest, and a corpse animating shaman to solve the murders and prevent another war. But who can he trust when the phases of a bigger plan take shape?
The Risen are the greatest danger Brannon has ever faced. If he and his team cannot stop the killer then all of Kalanon – and the world – will descend into darkness.
Thanks for stopping by to check out another review of one of the finalists for SPFBO 5! Let’s not waste too much time on semantics and introductions and get straight into the review!
Overall, I truly enjoyed Kalanon’s Rising. I loved the blend of fantasy and mystery, the writing was great and easy to read, the story was intriguing, the twists ever-flowing and the ending definitely left me wanting for book two!
Okay, now that is how you open a book. Fantastic.
Just when I thought that the twist I’d just experienced was going to be the latest reveal, another would sneak up and shock me into reading more pages than I’d planned to each day. Truly well done.
The Blend of Magic and Mystery
I definitely felt a lot of nostalgia for the thrillers I used to read (and not sure why I haven’t read more of, to be honest) and I just thought this fantasy mystery was so well-balanced between the genres, a great blend between the classic mystery structure and the inclusion of magic to both complicate and help pursue solving it.
Strong Side Characters
Though I really adored Brannon and his traditional, loyal knight characteriacture, it was the side characters that stole the show. Taran I loved the most, but I also really enjoyed Ula and Ylani, as I thought both were really unique and enjoyable to read about.
This was a little on the shorter side and I personally wouldn’t have minded if it was a little bit longer, if only so we could have fleshed out the world a tiny bit more. I understand why it was at the length it was at, for the pacing of the mystery, but I wouldn’t have minded a little more worldbuilding!
More Internal Monologue
Alongside the point above, having just a tad more internal monologue with what the characters are thinking would be so nice. We do get this, but I’m mostly thinking about in terms of Draeson and his behavior. Honestly, I’m sort of surprised that Brannon let this sort of behavior go on as long as he did (especially with some of the ramifications), so I would have liked a little more explaination as to why he did.
In sum, I thought Kalanon’s Rising was an really enjoyable read for all the reasons I mentioned above and more, and introduced me to an author I definitely plan to read more from. I rate this book 4 gems out of five, 4 stars on Goodreads and a 8.5 out of 10 for the purpose of SPFBO.