The High King's Golden Tongue
Author: Megan Derr
Title: The High King's Golden Tongue
Series: Tales of Harken 1
Genre: High Fantasy
Rating: Four Petals
On the Author's Website: http://www.lessthanthreepress.com/books...
Prince Allen has trained his entire life to follow in the footsteps of his illustrious mother, who has made their kingdom one of the wealthiest and most influential in the empire. For the past few years he has trained to become the new consort of the High King. The only thing no one prepared him for was the stubborn, arrogant High King himself, who declares Allen useless and throws him out of court.
High King Sarrica is ruling an empire at war, and that war will grow exponentially worse if his carefully laid plans do not come to fruition. He's overwhelmed and needs help, as much as he hates to admit it, but it must be someone like his late consort: a soldier, someone who understands war, who is not unfamiliar with or afraid of the harsher elements of rule. What he doesn't need is the delicate, pretty little politician foisted on him right as everything goes wrong.
This book was first released as a free short story and I have been waiting for the longer version since then. The best part of the book was definitely the world Derr created. She created an empire comprised of many different kingdoms each with their own distinct culture, appearance, language, and more. That amount of attention to detail is remarkable and it makes this book stand above many others in the genre.
Prince Allen, the main character in the book, is one such person who comes from his own distinct place, but he has made his life's work the ability to understand the other cultures of the rest of the empire. In particular, he has learned their languages and dialects. He hopes to use his special skills to help keep the empire running smoothly, although the prickly king doesn't see that. In order to get the king to see his strengths, Prince Allen embarks on an epic journey.
This longer version does closely follow the plot from the original short story, which is both the book's strength and its downfall. Because the plot was already fleshed out, it allowed Derr to enhance the setting and to introduce new and very interesting characters. I really liked learning more about the castle. However, being stuck within the confines of the plot of a short story kept the plot itself from growing. It was a little too simple and lacked any real twists and turns, which could have been added had the plot not already been set.
Maggie's Final Recommendation:
This was a good book that is certainly worth reading. The attention to detail for each one of the kingdoms and cultures within the empire is amazingly done. The only drawback was that the plot was unable to grow beyond the original one set out in the short story. I will read the sequel whenever it is published.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.