Back in April, I pointed you to a new book series by a math teacher named Patrick W. Carr. That book was called A Cast of Stones, and the series is The Staff and the Sword. I enjoyed that entry into the world of Illustra and could not wait to go back.
Then I made the unfortunate mistake of agreeing to review, in a timely manner, the next book. The Hero’s Lot continues the saga of Errol and the Kingdom of Illustra and takes the reader into his backstory while moving toward the future of the kingdom that finds itself in need of a king.
We pick up not too long after the conclusion of A Cast of Stones as the survivors of those events are nursing their wounds and plotting their next move. From the beginning, A Hero’s Lot reveals that there are subplots and more intrigue afoot than the reader might have found in the first entry of the series. Not only do the bad guys have secrets, but the good guys have secrets. And there are still a few people that you don’t know which group they fall into!
The plot is complex but not convoluted. The overall plot, that is. The basic plotline is simple: our hero is commanded to into enemy territory and destroy the bad guy who got away last book. It is all the other events that make the plot complex.
That complexity is a great thing. This is not a fluffy little young adult novel. It is a full-bore action and intrigue novel, and one that is fitting for readers that can track such plots. I will continue to think a hand-drawn map would help, though. I need to get my daughter to draw one.
We further see the splintering in the religious hierarchy that has troubled the kingdom in this book. Also, the tone is overall a lot darker and heavier. It is, however, a second book in a trilogy. What do you expect? Even Back to the Future II was heavier than the others. If you made a trilogy of Care Bears Meet My Little Pony, the second film would have a heavy feel.
In all, if you like the idea of a semi-medieval setting where spiritual beings, political intrigue, and religious structures intersect, you should snag both the first book and this one, The Hero’s Lot, and read them both.
Oh, you’re wondering about the “unfortunate” comment? It’s unfortunate that I chose to do this in a timely manner. I read The Hero’s Lot, and now have to wait until February for the conclusion. And that’s just not good. Our hero is in danger…and we’ll be having Christmas dinner not knowing what he does.
Free book received from the publisher in exchange for the review.