The Blood King
By: Gail Z. Martin
The Summoning and The Blood King make up the first two books of Martin’s The Chronicles of the Necromancer. I came across these books while scanning the fantasy bookshelves in the bookstore. The premise was interesting so I decided to check them out. The story basically follows Prince Martris “Tris” Drayke and his small group of friends who escape their home after Tris’s older brother, Jared, slaughters his entire family and claims the throne for himself with the help of his mage, Foor Arontala. Tris is on the run, pitted with a series of dangerous instances, vowing to return one day and overthrow his brother. At the same time, he learns that he is his grandmother’s heir, a Summoner with the ability to channel and contact the dead at will. The plot’s straightforward but Martin makes it interesting by throwing in some very interesting concepts, like the idea of a Summoner who could contact and summon the dead and the vayash moru, who are like vampires. What’s also great about this series is that the women aren’t very irritating; I noticed in a number of fantasy novels that the women are usually presented as either too weak or too annoying or both. I was glad to see that Princess Kiara was a strong character while still being a woman with her own wants and her own choices. She can be rendered defenseless in battle but she isn’t weak. What’s also great about these two books is that although they’re pretty hefty novels (500 pages each), the action is quick-paced and it doesn’t suffer from moments of lagging action (if you do, it would be a matter of preference later in The Blood King when the characters are splintered off depending on their task). Although Martin set out to write a series about this world, the story of Prince Martris Drake does conclude quite nicely at the end of The Blood King so you have the option of not continuing. I would recommend this book if you’re into fantasy involving family issues, magic, vampires and adventure.