Kings Or Pawns by J.J. Sherwood | Book Review

Monday 11 November 2019

A while back I read a book that I absolutely loved, but for some reason I never wrote a review. How can I claim to love a book if I don’t do my best, as a book blogger to share it with the tens of people who read my new blog? Kings or Pawns is a book by J. J. Sherwood and was released way back in 2015. It’s part of a series called The Steps of Power and it is a must read for any fan of the fantasy genre. Here’s my review.

Let’s start, as we always do, with the premise. This is, in my oh so humble opinion, a mix between high fantasy and political intrigue. The political intrigue is where this book shines but it also does a military drama quite well too. The story follows Prince, soon to be King, Hairem who has just ascended to the throne of Elvorium after the death of his father. Jikun is the beloved general who is fighting a campaign against Saebellus, the great enemy of Elvorium. Hairem must fight his political enemies, those who don’t want him in power, while Jikun must fight his own battle against an enemy always seems to be one step ahead.

For some reason I have a harder time writing reviews for books I love but I can write about books I didn’t like with the ease of cutting butter with a lightsaber. I believe it’s because when I don’t like a book, I can pick out exactly why. It’s usually one or two things that don’t quite work that kept me from enjoying the story. When it comes to books I love, like Kings or Pawns, I have a harder time narrowing it down because, well, I liked it all.

What stood out to me the most about this story was how quickly I cared about Hairem and Jikun. How each point of view was unique and I I always saw their side of things. I felt like if they were real people I would get along with Hairem and have a healthy respect for Jikun. They were real people to me.Both Hairem and JIkun had their voice and you could feel it in their individual scenes. The supporting cast was just as good. They were fully realized. They never felt like a passing thought.

The world the book is set in is well thought out and vast. With it comes the promise of a plethora of stories. Much like the Shannara series by Terry Brooks, when this first story ends, Sherwood could start a brand new story in a land we already know and love. Personally I want a prequel series set during the True Blood Schism (read the book and you'll agree with me).

What impressed me most about JJ Sherwood’s writing was that she had this Aaron Sorkin-esque ability to make politics interesting. Discussions between the new king and the elected officials could become tense and intriguing at a moments notice. It felt less like C-Span and more like The West Wing, but with Elves. 

The good news about starting this series now is that book two, Heroes and Thieves, is already out so when you finish Kings or Pawns and need more Steps of Power in your life, you can jump right into the next book. I really enjoyed Kings or Pawns and I know you will too. 

Kings or Pawns by JJ Sherwood gets a 11 out of 11

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