Due to some technical hitches I’m rather late with this ARC review, however better late than never.
The long awaited conclusion to the first trilogy in Jean Lowe Carlson’s Kingsmen Chronicles is called Goldenmark, and was actually released back in August 2018. It continues the story of Elohl den’Alrahel, the Alrashemni Kingsman turned Rennkavi, tattooed with the magical goldenmarks that designate him as leader and uniter of the kingdom, Alrou-Mendera. However, a false ruler has tricked his way into power, also bearing the sacred goldenmarks. Elohl must find a way to unite his people and beat Lhaurent den’Karthus in the war for the Menderian throne. Will he succeed or will Laurent annihilate his opposition?
Blackmark, book one of the Kingsmen Chronicles was actually the first novel that I reviewed here on the Sci-Fi Kingdom blog, way back over a year ago on October 2nd 2017. Check out the review of Blackmark here.
Goldenmark, as with its predecessors, Blackmark and Bloodmark, has an extremely well written, researched and painstakingly planned out story. The detail that goes into making this dark, epic, sword and sorcery fantasy series come to life is extraordinary, rivalling even George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, with its complex plot of war and treason.
At 4 out of 5 stars Goldenmark is a fitting conclusion to a great series. It binds this complex story together nicely, and has far less spelling errors/typos than the earlier novels. I especially love the keshar-cats and the warrior women that ride them into battle. However, I’m still mourning the loss of one of my favourite characters who doesn’t feature this far into the series, and I sometimes feel that the overly descriptive narrative draws out the story a little too long for my liking. These are all large books, mostly weighing in at over 700 pages, with Blackmark the slimmest volume at just over 500 pages.
I received a free copy of this novel direct from the author and have voluntarily chosen to write this review. I would recommend it to adult fans of epic sword and sorcery fantasy, such as A Game of Thrones, who like to get stuck into long, dark and gritty books.