4 out of 4 stars
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End of the Last Great Kingdom by Victor Rose is a dark fantasy novel. The book takes place in the land of Sulphurium. The main character is Leaf, who enters the Central Mage school. He is a ward of the school with a mysterious past. He doesn’t know how old he is or what his real name is. Leaf is bullied by other students at the school.
He struggles to find his element, and hasn’t successfully used magic. He chooses a trial by combat, thinking it is the only way he can become a mage. Living as an enlighten at the mage school, he is considered a higher social class. If Leaf had to leave the school, he would not have much of a life. He wins the trial by combat, becoming a mage and taking the name Brimstone. Brimstone is still struggling at the school. He is very poor, and can’t buy the basic supplies he needs or much food. He is still targeted and bullied by other students. The Order comes to the school to investigate something that is killing students, and Brimstone is accused and has to flee.
The book has excellent worldbuilding. It starts off with a prologue explaining the history of Sulphurium. At first I found that part a drag, but after reading the book I think it was really necessary for the reader to understand what the enlighten are, and the culture and hierarchy of Sulphurium. The mage school and the other students are well drawn out. I found all the characters to have excellent character development.
Something I think readers should be aware of is how graphic the book can be. There is lots of blood and gore. All the violence, especially with the main characters being described as young teenagers, might be disturbing for some. The violence never came across as gratuitous, however. It always made sense within the context of the story.
The book is frequently described as Harry Potter meets Game of Thrones. A harsh, quasi-medieval setting makes it feel similar to Game of Thrones. The magic school makes me think of Hogwarts. Like Harry Potter, Brimstone even has two close friends, Heat and Neutron. It is absolutely not a Harry Potter knockoff though. Sulphurium is a wholly original fantasy world.
I would rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. Fans of epic fantasy will love this book. It has a vibrant, well developed fantasy world with characters the reader will really love. It is also edited and formatted well. Sometimes with self-published or independently published book that is a problem, but not in this case.
End of the Last Great Kingdom
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