Ty Johnston's Kobalos trilogy continues with book 2, The Road to Wrath. At the end of City of Rogues, revenge-obsessed Kron Darkbow transferred his rage from Belgad the Liar to a fantastically powerful wizard named Verkain. Now he's on the road to Verkain's kingdom of Kobalos, accompanied by Adara, master swordswoman, and Randall, Verkain's son who has become a healer.
The action never stops. Kron thinks he's done with Belgad for now, but Belgad isn't done with Kron. Along the road they'll meet savage mountain tribes, superstitious villagers out to murder Randall for using magic, and a tribe of cannibals who've escaped from prison.
Then there's Verkain. He has summoned indestructible war demons and sent them out to find Randall. If Kron and his companions can somehow survive this gauntlet of enemies, they'll have to face Verkain himself, a wizard of such mind-boggling power he could swat them all like insects.
My reaction to this book was similar to my reaction to City of Rogues. The story is irresistible. It drew me in completely. There was no question that I would keep reading, and I'll be reading the third book, Dark King of the North, as well.
The writing is flawed. Things are phrased in clumsy ways. And the number of typos is distressing. Yet the power of the storytelling trumps all of that. It's irresistibly entertaining.
The emphasis in these books is on action. The world-building is moderate at best, as is the characterization. Kron himself is almost ridiculously wooden at times. None of the characters are especially complex. Still, there are some interesting relationships and some tricky moral dilemmas that give the book some depth.
The wealth of action is one of the book's strong points, although it leads to one of my minor complaints. There is an appalling body count among the bystanders, in this book and in City of Rogues. Sometimes I almost wished the heroes would be killed, because they kept escaping at such a dreadful cost to the local population.
Overall this is an excellent adventure story with loads of action, and definitely recommended.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)