Return of the Wizard King by Chad Corrie is a fantasy novel which was released last year. I have already bought the second one and assume the third will be available soon. If you happened to read my last book review you are aware my reading habits have recently changed giving me more freedom to read different types of literature. Ironically, I have ignored this newfound liberty and dove into some new speculative novels I bought at a physical bookstore where you had to use your legs and stuff. You check out OCD, reading, and me here if you feel inclined.
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
Stars: 4.5 Stars
Reviewer: Michael D. Griffiths
The Return of the Wizard King is a fresh fun look at a new fantasy universe. However, instead of trying to be clever in finding new twists and personalized changes to the genre, Corrie embraced the Tolkien fantasy traditions. But more than this, to me at least, it feels as though he is writing out a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. I mean this as no insult to the author, in fact, I find it a positive and refreshing thing. It is nice for a player of Dungeons and Dragons to just be able to read a novel which could be set in that fantastic realm. To me this made it more enjoyable and felt like I was sitting around the gaming table even when I was on a plane flying from one side of the country to the other.
Like a standard DND party, this novel follows the point of view of many heroic figures, and, you guessed it, their various threads woven into a strong rope which became the main party for this adventure. Dugan was my favorite character. A boy raised for the gladiatorial slave pits must make the most difficult decision of his life. Will he stay and let his abusers have the final laugh by torturing him to death or should he sell his soul for a chance to escape?
The group is led by a blind Priest. Gilban has visions in which he sees the group working together to rid the world of the danger presented by the lich form of the final Wizard King. The Wizard King has an agenda of his own and the reader follows him and other evil creatures as the story progresses. While the various heroes gather, their end goal becomes clearer, and they head off into the jungle to thwart the evil elves and the Wizard King.
This novel was highly entertaining and accomplished what it set out to do. This is a fantasy novel, a classic fantasy novel, and if you indulge such things, I feel there is little here that would derail you from enjoying this novel. The author may have gone a little overboard with having multiple points of view for the first novel in the series. For me, it is important not to get too bogged down with multiple viewpoints slowing the tale. I often find when I start to enjoy seeing through the eyes of a particular character having to wait for him or her to resurface can be annoying in some books.
Overall, Corrie gives us a strong new edition to our fantasy library. If you are looking for a dreary dystopia where every race must have a different name, so the author feels like they are not ripping off classic fantasy literature then this is not for you. If you want a fun romp following adventures fighting their way through dangers and traps and magic, then go ahead and grab this one for yourself. I am glad I did.