4 out of 4 stars
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Scholar, Ashley, Cattleprod, and others are back for the next installment of Matthew Tysz’s post-apocalyptic world entitled The King of May. If you haven’t read the first in the series, The Turn, I’ll wait here for you to finish. At the very least, you can check out my review of Tysz’s first book here (viewtopic.php?f=21&t=49830). All caught up? Good, here we go.
The King of May starts off fairly soon after the completion of The Turn. Ashley and Scholar have made a significant name for themselves and Cattleprod reigns in Interstate. Although we are still in the first book’s post-apocalyptic world, we go leaps and bounds further into the lives of those carving out an existence after The Turn. In this book, we are introduced to a broad swath of new characters, given a considerably better idea of how the world works, and are thrown head over heels into violent conflict. We find out early on that the instigator of The Turn designed the subsequent world to have some very powerful people in charge. These people were given immortality, secret weaknesses, and now bear the title of being gods. Their grudges between themselves, their thirst for power, and their incessant abuse of the power they were given, however, were things they developed all by themselves. By picking up this book you accept to carry on following the journey of Ashley and Scholar as they make their way through this sorry excuse for a world. They make deals with gods, intermingle themselves in the personal vendettas of these immortals, collide with enemies from the previous book, and try to make the post Turn world a better place.
Much of the criticism that I had from the first book dissolves immediately when reading the second one. The pace of this book was much quicker, excitement and action were all over the place, and the many plots of gods and mortals kept the reader intrigued. In The King of May, we really begin to get a view into the motives of the characters and therefore how intertwined all the players really are. I loved following our two main protagonists, Ashley and Scholar, as they interact with mortals and gods alike. I love the status they have created for themselves and how no one, immortal or otherwise, is safe when they tangle with them. What I liked the most about this book is how it has slightly transitioned from a purely post-apocalyptic work to one that spans a variety of genres including fantasy, dark fantasy, thriller adventure, and magical realism.
There were a couple of minor things that I didn’t like about this book. One thing that may present a problem for some people (it isn’t that big of a deal for me as I’m invested in the story) is the fact that you really do need to read the first in the series to understand much of the action happening in the second. Since the two books are fairly different, they may have diverse audiences who enjoy them. Very similarly, and what I disliked the most, is that the readers are thrown right into the story without much of a reminder of what happened at the end of the previous book. I found myself looking back to the previous installment to find out where the main characters were when the The Turn concluded just so I could understand the main characters’ motives.
The more and more I think about this book, the more and more I realize how much I enjoyed it. I enjoy post-apocalyptic stories and this one delivered extremely well. I love books that bring immortal beings with real-life flaws to the storyline and The King of May undoubtedly includes these. Finally, I love novels that bring some violence, action, and intrigue to the mix, and our current tale definitely succeeds here as well. For the reasons above, I give this book 4 out of 4 stars. I fully recommend this one to those who have read the first book, those that enjoy post-apocalyptic fiction, and for those that want to go on a journey with both mortals and gods. If you aren’t a fan of books that delve into some mature themes (sexual content, violence, etc.), then maybe this one isn’t for you. I have been made aware that this book is the second installment of, what intends to be, a five-book series. I can see the many different directions that this series can go, based on how The King of May ended and am therefore eagerly awaiting the third book to see where this tale ushers us.
The King of May
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