The River King's Road: A Novel of Ithelas
by Liane Merciel
Gallery Books, 2010
Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster
Earlier today, I finished the ARC of The River Kings’ Road: A Novel of Ithelas, by Liane Merciel. This is an alternate world, epic fantasy fiction, debut novel. I happen to like alternate world, epic fantasy fiction a great deal. There is a lot of alternate world, epic fantasy fiction out there and some of it has been bland or poor.
This was neither. Merciel has a work that is reminiscent of Brent Weeks’ Night Angel trilogy, minus the super-powered artifacts and characters. The scope of this debut is regional in nature, but does seem to have implications and foreshadowing of a much wider conflict. As such, the cast of characters was specific to this tale and not as large as Weeks’ overall cast, but this too may change as the scope of the conflict expands. Merciel uses multiple POVs from compelling characters spanning the entire spectrum of good, evil and inner-conflict personalities.
One of Merciel’s POV characters leaves the reader with a cliff hanger. It is the dynamic involved in this character’s absence that will have the series expanding in scope later on, I expect.
Merciel’s characters are compelling and her tale grips the reader. I found this to be a highly enjoyable read.
Verdict: Highly recommended