What I’m Reading: Kings of Paradise

It’s time for my first read of the new year! One thing I love about this time of year is the feeling that everything is new and you can start fresh. When it comes to reading this feeling is like a weight lifted off my shoulders. I can start my Goodreads Challenge over, and I’ve got a clean reading slate.

Sort of.

Until I remember all the books on my TBR and the ARCS I’ve committed to reading. Which brings me back to this first read of the year…

Kings of Paradise
Ash and Sand #1
Richard Nell
Self-Published

Publication Date: July 19, 2018
Paperback
Pages: 591

A deformed genius plots vengeance while struggling to survive. A wastrel prince comes of age, finding a power he never imagined. Two worlds are destined to collide.

Only one can be king.

Ruka, called a demon at birth, is a genius. Born malformed and ugly into the snow-covered wasteland of the Ascom, he was spared from death by his mother’s love. Now he is an outcast, consumed with hate for those who’ve wronged him. But to take his vengeance, he must first survive. Across a vast sea in the white-sand island paradise of Sri Kon, Kale is fourth and youngest son of the Sorcerer King. And at sixteen, Kale is a disappointment. As the first prince ever forced to serve with low-born marines, Kale must prove himself and become a man, or else lose all chance of a worthy future, and any hope to win the love of his life. Though they do not know it, both boys are on the cusp of discovery. Their worlds and lives are destined for greatness, or ruin.

But in a changing world where ash meets paradise, only one man can be king… The first installment of an epic, low- fantasy trilogy. Kings of Paradise is a dark, bloody, coming-of-age story shaped by culture, politics, and magic.

Goodreads Blurb

I chose Kings of Paradise as my first read of the year because I’ve been sitting on it for too long. The author contacted me back over the summer to ask if I’d be interested in reviewing it as part of the publicity for the upcoming launch of book 3 in the series, Kings of Heaven. At the time I already knew I was swamped with reads and couldn’t read it for months to come, but Nell was gracious enough to send a copy anyway hoping I’d get around to it at some point.

Well that point is now.

I’d been wanting to read Kings of Paradise since 2018 when I first saw it making the rounds of bloggers who were reviewing some of the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (SPFBO) entrants that year. I noticed one positive review after another and marked it down as something I should maybe check out at some point. Time went by and I got sucked in by other books and I just never made it back to this one. So when Nell asked if I wanted to review it I jumped at the chance for a copy.

I’m excited about pretty much everything the book apparently has to offer. Low fantasy has increasingly become a favorite subgenre, and I really do enjoy the “dark and bloody” kind of read. Culture and Politics hopefully add some good depth. And the whole “ash meets paradise” vibe sounds gritty and good. Hopefully this one lives up to the hype for me. Not sure how quickly I’ll get it read but look for a review in the next week or so.

Have any of you read Kings of Paradise? If so what did you think? If not, does it interest you? Let me know in the comments.

– Jason

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