The first book review on the new Sci-Fi Kingdom wordpress.com site is Blackmark, book 1 of The Kingsmen Chronicles by Jean Lowe Carlson.
After being summoned to Roushenn Palace and an audience with the King, the King’s army, known as the Kingsmen, are dubbed traitors, mysteriously vanishing from existence. As a result, ten years later, there are very few Kingsmen and Kingskinder (Kingsmen children) still in existence who sport the famous brand on their chests – black tattoo’s which signify a soldiers’ allegiance to their King. Elohl is one such soldier, carrying the ink of the Kingsmen, despite being a year shy of fully completing his training. He is despised for carrying the ‘blackmark’, and after a decade of betrayal, Elohl seeks the truth behind the incident at the Palace all those years ago.
There is a large and varied set of characters within Jean Lowe Carlson’s Kingsmen Chronicles. This provides a lot of depth to the series, however it can be difficult initially to keep up with this vast array of complicated names and locales, making for slow reading. There are also a few inconsistencies in the spelling of certain names, a minor point, but rather irritating at times.
Now please don’t mistake me, this does not mean that Blackmark is not an enjoyable novel, far from it in fact. This is an extremely well written, researched and painstakingly planned out book which I have given 4 out of 5 stars. I just had to read slowly and carefully in order to keep up with all of the different aspects to the story.
In a similar vein to large, epic tales of war and strife, such as George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire Series A.K.A. Game of Thrones, once you grow accustomed to the plot and begin to differentiate between the houses, armies, names and locations etc. Blackmark is an enthralling start to a much larger series.
I now look forward to reading the follow-up, part two of the Kingsmen Chronicles, Bloodmark.
I received a free copy of this novel direct from the author in exchange for an honest review.