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M. Edward McNally is a North Carolinian of Irish/Mexican extraction. Grew up mostly along I35 northbound (KS, IA, MN) and now resides in the scrub brush surrounding Phoenix, AZ, where the scorpions and the javelinas play. MA in English Lit from ISU and Russian/East European History from ASU, though both date from an earlier era when there was a lot of Grunge on the radio and Eddie wore entirely too much flannel, even in the summer.
Deus impeditio esuritori nullus.
on July 15, 2013 :
It isn't always a good thing for there to be a sequel but "Death of a Kingdom was as good as the first. Read the whole series and would recommend it to anyone who likes sify. The characters, plot and descriptions are outstanding. You can't read one without reading all of them because it will definitely have you hooked. I found it almost a reflection of what is going on in our world, with some really scary things thrown in and matter of fact that is a lot like our world.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on Nov. 16, 2012 :
Death of a Kingdom is the second book in the Norothian Cycle (preceded by The Sable City).
Again we meet Matilda Lanai, Zeb, Phinn and many others as they proceed on their journey through the Lands under the Code and those who want to be. As new friends appear and new emotions develop and deepen, also new dangers and problems arise. The problems in Chengdea and Daul increase and boil down to war, a kingdom dies and is left without a ruler. Phinn plays with a forbidden toy and an acquaintance from the Sable City reappears for a moment, and the remarkably strange and dangerous, yet intriguing lady Nesha-tari has a revelation from a side she had not expected.
Death of a Kingdom is a wonderful sequel to the first book. The characters come more to life, and the lands they travel through are depicted in a very image-rich way. The way Mr. McNally has used cultural elements from our world and added them into this series of books, using a nice twist to them, is very appealing and makes the story all the more wonderful.
(reviewed 8 months after purchase)
on Jan. 15, 2012 :
Although I normally make small individual reviews, this series has me doing the rare combined review. I LOVED this series. I do mean L.O.V.E. This series NEEDS to skip everyone's to be read lists and go straight to BUY. This series, entirely, had me entranced. I did not stop, not even for air. This series is great for men and women alike. There is no doubt in my mind that this series can easily make for an amazing muti-million (Hundreds) dollar movie series.
With all that being said, on with the review. The writing style was masterfully done. Everything was perfectly balanced. The characters were done flawlessly. Their realistic personalities, combined with the richness in the detailed world, blurred the lines between real and fantasy. The author has an uncanny way of drawing you so far into the story-line that you can easily lose yourself. The pace was unrelenting. It never let me peel my eyes away from the pages of the story. It kept my eyes at bay with the twist and turns, edge of your seat, burst of humor, and the lively playfulness. The plot's climax could bring you to your knees. The only disappointment I had, was like all things, the book came to an end.
All three of these books easily made a 5 star rating, with mind blowing grace.
(reviewed 50 days after purchase)
on Dec. 07, 2011 :
Having read The Sable City I was ready for part two of the story with this group of characters. While two went their separate ways, the remaining of the group followed Cladja on her quest to save her people. This involved approval of the Emperor to join and adhere to the Code. After accepting this request the Emperor sends troops to the Duchy to assist with the transition and to avoid the King from retaliating against this desertion from his rule. Battles ensue between the King and the Emperors troops.
Very detailed battle scenes and history of the countries involved. This makes it feel more real than fantasy to me.
I will be reading book three to find out what happens next and where John and the Blue Dragon's favorite end up in the remainder of this trilogy.
(reviewed 33 days after purchase)
on Sep. 19, 2011 :
(Cross-posted from the Adarna SF blog)
I really enjoyed The Sable City, and I’m pleased to say that Death of a Kingdom is even better. The Norothian Cycle series continues to be a fun throwback to the adventuring-party type of fantasy, filled with lively characters and playful trope subversion. While it retains some of the D&D flavour, there’s no dungeon crawling in this book. It turns its focus on the raging battles across the continent and takes a more serious tone. The gang’s all here—Tilda the kleptomaniac rogue, Phin the snarky mage, Shikashe the stoic samurai, et al.—with the exception of John Deskata who’s off in the Miilarkan Islands trying to keep it from imploding. There are new characters introduced too who are just as delightful as the rest of them.
It’s a joy to read McNally’s prose and it is definitely smoother compared to his debut. It continues to be heavy on the exposition, but while some of it used to detract from the action, now it enhances it. It’s especially notable with the fight scenes: it has memorable choreography while written with a snappy rhythm. There’s even a Completely Unnecessary Sword Duel; while it does nothing for the plot, it’s awesome and the author likely had as much fun writing it as I had reading it.
I still had some trouble with the world-building. There are a lot of names mentioned: persons and places, current and historical—and it’s a bit difficult to keep track of all the factions concerning the worlds of men, gods, and dragons. I’m no stranger to substantial world-building, I had a very clear vision of the factions in Frank Herbert’s Dune and George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, but I can’t say the same here. While maybe 30-40% of the details were lost on me, I still understood the general thrust of the conflict.
The world itself continues to be captivating and dynamic, and has a sense of depth which perhaps could be attributed to the author’s history background. I really enjoyed getting to know more of the cultures, especially the entrepreneurial Miilarkans. The political developments around Chengdea is intriguing (the region pledges allegiance to a distant empire united by a shared constitution, of course that means war with its not-so-distant former king), and the bird’s-eye view of battle tactics are excellently portrayed and filled with the surprises of the real thing. It’s sprawling world, but it’s well-realized and it makes this series extra special.
I noticed a few typos (e.g. “then” instead of “than”), but they occur only a handful of times in this lengthy tome. What I noticed more often was the overuse of hyphens. Using hyphens in compound words can be a stylistic choice, but in my opinion, more than a few were unnecessary. Some words should have been solid compounds, and I don’t think hyphens need to be used if it won’t lead to ambiguity (e.g. “far-too expensive”, no hyphen needed there). But as you see, these are minor nitpicks.
Overall, I highly recommend Death of a Kingdom, especially if you’re looking for a fun fantasy adventure with a rich historical world setting, and a bit of a D&D flavour. I wish that the author was more ruthless in stamping out the occasional typo and reining in some of the excessive history backstory exposition, but everything else works so well that I consider this series a gem.
Note: A free review copy was provided by the author.
(reviewed 40 days after purchase)
on Sep. 10, 2011 :
“Death of a Kingdom” is the 2nd book in the Norothian Cycle, following “The Sable City.” While not as lighthearted as its predecessor, there are plenty of moments that made me laugh out loud. There is much more action in this book, and the original adventuring band is split into two, as Nesha-tari travels back to her native country. The bulk of the book follows the trail of the larger set of adventurers, but there is a significant chunk in the middle addressing Nesha-tari’s adventurers, and the book ends with her as well.
This book mainly focuses on the larger band of adventurers, including the Duchess Claudja, as they travel to Chengdea in order to try to help that duchy come Under the Code of the Empire. Hughes, the King of Daul, in which Chengdea is located, is obviously not happy with this decision and as a result things become a bit... heated. We meet the Princess Allison, the sister to Albert, the Emperor Under the Code. She is quite a character and I think one of my favorites in the story so far.
Eddie seems to have found his own voice and stride in this novel – not to say that the previous book was derivative, but the influence of other fantasy stories was plain to see. “Death of a Kingdom” was more of an individual voice, and I think Eddie is an author to be on the look-out for, as he shows tremendous talent. Be in the lookout for the 3rd book in the series, “The Wind from Miilark.”
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)
on Aug. 03, 2011 :
After finished reading The Sable City I gobbled this sequel in no time leaving my others-to-be-read screaming in protests. Ed has written a great epic story with a touch of good humor. Why so serious like Zeb would say...I mean Joker. Since The Wind of Miilark has not been released I have ample time to read other books ;)
(reviewed 10 days after purchase)