By Nicholas Eames
Paperback, 512 pages
Tam works at a local pub, but dreams of living a life of adventure like the mercenaries she serves. Even her uncle is part of a band. But her father, an ex-merc, refuses to let Tam go – he’s already lost her mother and strict as he seems, he won’t lose his daughter too. That all changes when Bloody Rose, infamous daughter of Golden Gabe, and her crew come to Tam’s pub looking for a bard. Tam gets her wish for adventure, but realizes it may come at the cost of her life.
It took me forever to get started on this review because I’ve been in a bit of a funk and once again Eames has wowed me and I want to do this book some justice, instead of my typical scream-in-your-face-that-you-should-read-this-book-immediately thing.
I don’t think it’s 100% necessary to ready Kings of the Wyld before Bloody Rose, but Eames’s work is awesome and you should really read it all! Bloody Rose takes a look at the next generation of mercs after Castia is saved and a new hoard of monsters threatens Grandual.
If you loved Wyld, I think you’ll love Bloody Rose, but let me warn you, this book has a very different tone. Eames still had me laughing, but far less often. Not to say this book is a total downer, but it’s much heavier than its predecessor, which wasn’t without grim moments.
I found the cast more relatable though – maybe because they’re younger. The men of Wyld were entertaining, but I can’t exactly relate to being an older, washed up merc (or an older, washed up anything, thankfully!) I liked Tam immediately and once again I appreciate that Eames follows the perspective of a character that isn’t the star of the show. Rather than tell the tale from Rose’s POV, we get a look at her through Tam’s eyes. It’s interesting because she starts off a bit star-struck but as she becomes familiar and friendly with the group, her views change. I think any of us might find our opinions changed if we were to travel the world fighting monsters with a celebrity we idolize.
All of the characters are fantastic though. They all get a fair amount of screen-time, er, page-time, and excellent development. Rose especially, as we learn about how the events of the previous book impacted her and her outlook on her father’s fame and her own take on being a merc. Despite the heavy tone, there’s plenty of action, epic battles, blood and guts, mythical creatures, 80’s references (medieval Jenga, Jaws references, older folks not knowing how to use “phones” and more) and swearing to keep the plot moving.
As before, I’ve picked out some of my favorite funny scenes:
“Don’t expect we’ll see much of them today,” said the shaman with an exaggerated wink.
“If you know what I mean,” he added, winking again.
“I do,” Tam assured him.
“Because they’re having – “
“Bye,” she said.”
“-sex,” Brune finished, but she was already headed for the stairs.
“Right! I had a cat named Astra. Spiteful creature! And vicious.” He whistled. “I swear, it once killed a bird and left it on my doorstep in the morning.”
Brune shrugged. “So what? Lots of cats-“
“It was an eagle,” Moog finished.
The shaman nodded appreciatively and poured himself a drink.
Also “what’s-his-nuts” is way better than what’s-his-name and now I’m going to use that when I can’t think of someone’s name.
I’m looking forward to more from Eames. It hardly needs repeating (though I’m about to do just that), but it’s really a no-brainer that you should pick up Bloody Rose if you enjoyed Kings of the Wyld. Strap in for a deeper look into the world of monster-hunting mercenaries and the effects that lifestyle has on those who choose it. The end of the book left me feeling a little glum (though in a good way, you know?) so I’ll leave you with this thought from Freecloud:
Every battle has a cost, even the ones we win.