Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Book Spotlight: Knights of Rilch (Serengard, Book 2) by Rachel O'Laughlin

Salut, Beardies!

Have you missed me? I can’t believe it’s been almost five months since I wrote my last Book Spotlight! The past months have included action, adventure, and enough high drama to fill a whole novel, but why would I bore you with the details when I have a fantastic book to tell you about?

This week, our friend Rachel O’Laughlin celebrates the publication of her second novel, Knights of Rilch, the follow up to last year’s Coldness of Marek, which we reviewed as part of a Fae Books blog tour. I’ve been waiting with bated breath for this book ever since I finished the first one, so I was stoked when Rachel asked me to be among the first reviewers for it!

Nine years ago, rebels destroyed the monarchy of Serengard, ruining all that Princess Kierstaz Orion and her brother, Mikel, held dear. Determined to restore the monarchy, Mikel and Kierstaz formed a band with the knights still loyal to them, skirmishing with the rebels along the border between Serengard and neighboring Dreibourge, but when the casualties became too much, they retreated into hiding. Now, Kierstaz and Mikel are once again on the run, but if possible the stakes are even higher, for they are sworn to protect Malcom, son of Trzl, leader of the rebels. Malcom is becoming a fierce fighter in his own right, but he is also plagued with a mysterious illness. When danger mounting for both Malcom and Mikel, Kierstaz must sacrifice everything to save them both in a land where nothing is as it seems and no one can be trusted.

Gems for Writers:
World Building. In Serengard, Rachel O’Laughlin builds a complex world and thoroughly explores all of its components. The reader comes away with a total understanding of Serengard in every aspect from its political structure and geographical features to its cultural norms. It takes a deft hand to incorporate this level of detail without dragging the story down, but there is absolutely no drag in Knights of Rilch. Small details, such as the custom of Seren warriors exchanging blood when forming alliances, are explained in context, building the world gradually, so that by the end, the reader simply stands in the middle of it all and gazes around in awe.

Smoke and Mirrors. This series has one of the most nuanced, complex plots I have read in quite some while, and is all the more enjoyable for it. In Serengard, nothing can be taken at face value and no one can be trusted. The revelations and betrayals range from subtle to shocking, and keep the suspense building to the very end. That end is also a perfect cliffhanger, leaving me anxious for another installment of the story, but perfectly content to go back to the beginning and reread while I wait!

Evolution of a Heroine. Kierstaz had a small part to play in Coldness of Marek, and I was most pleased to see her take center stage in Knights of Rilch. It was absolutely fascinating to see her come to life in all her glory, a wonderful blend of fierce warrior and protector and mother figure to Malcom, and to watch her fight for her beliefs and those whom she loves. In my short acquaintance with Kierstaz, she has taken her place with my all-time heroines.


Thanks for joining me today, Beardies! It’s great to be back, and rest assured you won’t be waiting long to hear from me again. See you next time!

Until then, Keep Calm and Scribe On

***Knights of Rilch (Serengard, Book 2) (2014), by Rachel O'Laughlin, is published by and copyright Dublin Mist Press. It is available in stores, online (see above), and from your local public library.

***Per FTC Regulations: I received a free Advance Reading Copy (ARC) from the author and was not compensated in any way, monetarily or otherwise, for this review.

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