Having really enjoyed the audiobook of Kingshold a few weeks back, when I was offered a copy of the in-between-books story anthology audiobook, I happily accepted. More Mareth please!
Thanks to the author, as well as Tantor Media for the review copy!
I am Mareth and I collect tales – tales that do not make the official histories. Join me and learn the secret stories of those who sparked the wildfire. Stories from our past, from that fateful summer and its aftermath.
If you loved Kingshold, discover the next installment in the epic Wildfire Cycle.
Tales of Kingshold, Book 1.5 of the Wildfire Cycle, includes four novelettes and six short stories.
Anthologies are usually a hit or miss thing for me, as I always end up loving at least one story, and then finding at least one that just doesn’t do it for me, so an anthology will find a place somewhere in the middle of like and dislike.
This one, I’m happy to say, was all like! ^_^
Of course that’s more likely to happen when the entire collection is by the same author, or, as this one is, by the same author and all in the same world. Kingshold is an interesting place, and this one served to give a little more story on some characters, and introduce a few more characters who will be coming up in book 2. In between stories, there are some entries from Jyuth’s diary regarding the magic in this world, which was a nice way of expanding on the magic lore of the world.
Here are some of my favorites from this one:
Of Buccaneers and Bards – This one follows the exploits Vin Kolsen, who is thrown in jail after a bar fight goes a bit too far. He and his cell mate. the drunken bard (guess who!) end up as oarsmen on a pirate galley, and they shenanigans themselves right from the oars to the top of the pecking order. I liked this one a lot. Mareth being a little bit magical is always entertaining!
Twin Lies – This short story follows Florian and explains how he joined the army. I really liked Florian (and Trypp and Motega) in Kingshold, so getting this little behind the scenes history on him was great.
All That Shimmers – Kyle the chiseler lives in the great city of Unedar Halt, which is the Dwarven city underneath Kingshold. He accidentally releases a specter one day and does all he can to stop it from wreaking havoc on everyone. I hope to see more of Kyle (and his sidekick, the giant worm)! He was a great character.
The Working Dead – Florian, Trypp and Motega are hired to find out the skinny on the town of Stableford, which is full of zombies. There appears to be a necromancer at work in town and it’s up to them to figure out where they are and stop them from zombifying the entire town. Once again, I really like these characters, and this was a really enjoyable and often hilarious story.
Hollow Inside – Finabria is a student of the Hollow Syndicate, the assassin’s guild of Kingshold. When a position opens up in the Syndicate, a trial is held to fill the spot. Even though Fin is still a year or so away from graduating, she volunteers to take part in the trial. And many shenanigans (of the assassinny kind) are had!
Visions – Neenahwi undergoes the ceremonial coming-of-age vision quest of her tribe, like she promised her brother she would do. She treks into the wilderness with nothing but a water skin in the hopes that she’ll have a vision, and when she does, it gives her all kinds of answers that she’s not sure she wanted. I liked Neenahwi in Kingshold, and I found it really interesting to finally see a bit of her history in this one.
The narration on this one was just as good as it was in Kingshold. Sheila Dearden has the sort of voice that is just easy to listen to for a few hours on end, and so I ended up listening to this book, not only all in one day, but all in one sitting. It’s not overly long, clocking in at about 8 hours total, and since I listen to books sped up, it ended up being only an afternoon of listening.
All told, I thought it was a great set of stories in the world, and was a pretty great use of an afternoon of listening. 4/5 stars!~