Review: Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames (The Band #1)

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“They used to call us the Kings of the Wyld, remember?” “Yeah, they did. When we were twenty years younger. When our backs didn’t ache every morning and we didn’t wake up five times a night to piss. But time did what it does best, didn’t it?”

I know – I’m late to this particular bandwagon (heh). Kings of the Wyld is a book I’ve been eyeing for ages, unsure if I’d like it or not despite all the praise. I finally decided to take the plunge because of two things: 1) the ebook went on sale in my region after years of waiting and 2) I need lighter reads and this seemed perfect. And I just had to see what all the fuss was about.

Did it live up to the hype? Well…yes, but also no.

Saga used to be the most famous of the monster-hunting bands, but their glory days are long behind them. They’re old. Their backs ache and their knees creak. They’ve settled down. Until Gabe appears on Clay Cooper’s doorstep, begging him to help him rescue his daughter who’s caught in a besieged town. And so the band gets back together for one last adventure.

Let’s start with the things I liked: older protagonists, probably my favourite aspect. Both the limitations that come with it, and their reactions to a changing world and moaning how thins were different in the good old days. It’s still all too rare to have people who have children and are not in their teens or 20s anymore as protagonists. And they’re all so damn likable, too.

However, I had a problem with the pacing. It takes a good third of the book if not more to round up all the members and actually get the band back together – and even after that, I found myself struggling. The chapters are short and easy to get through but overall, the story felt…long. It was fun – which is one of the things I expected of it – but not as compelling or fast-paced as I hoped. There were way more convenient coincidences than I’d prefer, too.

I was also not completely sold on the pop culture references. It was one of the things I was worried about going in, and while I didn’t hate it as much as I thought I would, it still took me out of the story at points. I didn’t quite see the humour either, but this is nothing new and more of a me problem than a book problem – humorous fantasy rarely ever works on me (hell, Pratchett didn’t, not quite).

This sounds like a lot of complaining, but really – it’s good. It’s well-written enough, it’s fun, it mostly accomplishes what it set out to do. I don’t regret reading it. It was just not quite a me book.

Enjoyment: 3/5
Execution: 3.5/5

Recommended to: classic rock fans, anyone looking for a fun read with older protagonists
Not recommended to: those who hate pop culture references, those looking for a fast-paced read