3 out of 4 stars
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End of the Last Great Kingdom is the debut novel by author Victor Rose, and the first book in The Brimstone Chronicles. Published on April 18, 2017, this 332 page dark fantasy novel is refreshingly true to form. It has all of the captivating elements that I love so much about this genre; the vivid world building, unique characters and creatures, plenty of epic battles scenes - just to name a few. The characters are all well developed with plenty of background information provided, enabling the reader to properly form a connection with at least the more prominent ones.
In the words of the author, “Of all the ways to start this tale, the only one that makes sense is to start at the beginning.” (Page 1, End of the Last Great Kingdom) The Author thus takes the reader on a journey through the history of Sulphurium. This detailed introduction leads us on a path of war, destruction, and politics. We learn of the many pure races and hybrid races, with the enlighten being those who consider themselves superior because of their ability to master the elements.
With the stage now set, the author begins his tale of the poor and orphaned enlighten who had become a ward of the school. With no true knowledge of his actual age, he could only guess that he was at least thirteen. Due to his lack of memories, he also had no name. Those at school called him Leaf, which in orcish means someone who does not belong. Because Leaf had not yet awaken, meaning he had not mastered an element and could not use magic, he had fallen victim to bullying. It was the last day Leaf could qualify for mage School by passing one of the three mage trials. Not wanting to be forced to leave the only place he knew, Leaf decided to choose the trial which would end this part of his life one way or the other, the trial by duel. In one hundred years, no child even survived this third trial. To his own amazement, though, Leaf miraculously survived. He thus became Brimstone, the mage name he chose for himself.
Still poor and without any real magic, Brimstone continues to struggle, even as a mage. A freak accident, where a creature kills several of the students, complicates his life even more. Brimstone becomes a political scapegoat when he is forced by The Order to make a false confession. He’s then on the run, fighting one epic battle after another, while also still (literally) trying to find himself. His Crimson teammates and friends, Heat and Neutron, endure trials of their own as they work to clear Brimstone’s name and help bring peace back, if at all possible.
This is a tale of loyalty, friendship, bravery, and trust. The author pulled me in from the very beginning, and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this book. The writing is masterful. It flows smoothly from beginning to end, with no dull moments. I would definitely recommend this book to fans of dark fantasies, epic battles, and magic. I must caution, though, that the violence can be pretty descriptive – although, I did not personally find it over the top – and there are allusions to forced sexual encounters, though not openly described. Because of this, the content is probably not quite suitable for some younger readers, and should be approached with this awareness.
Because I did find several errors in the text while I was reading, I cannot give the rating of 4 out of 4 stars. Instead, I give 3 out of 4 stars with the disclaimer that the story itself is worthy of 4 stars. The ending provides the reader with enough suspense to foster a healthy anticipation for the next installment. I can hardly wait to read what is in store for these amazing characters!
End of the Last Great Kingdom
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