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A Mark of Kings

The Shattered Reigns, Book 1
Narrated by: Nick Podehl
Series: The Shattered Reigns Series, Book 1
Length: 18 hrs and 38 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (28 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Despite his youth, Declan Idrys knows of the evils of the world. He knows of the bastards and brigands who plague the King's lands, of the monsters skulking in the wooded depths of the realm. Together with his companion, Ryn - a beast of rather peculiar talent - he has spent the last decade of his life beneath the bloody banners of a half-dozen mercenary guilds, hunting precisely such festering wickedness within the borders of Viridian.

Unfortunately, fate is quick to pull on the leash of its favorite children. When one particularly troubling contract goes sideways, Declan and Ryn find themselves thrust into a war thought legend and long-ended, a conflict so old it is synonymous with a time in which dragons still ruled the western skies. Now, as dead men rise from their graves and the terrible beasts of the northern ranges descend into the kingdom with an appetite for savagery and flesh, Declan is faced with a profane choice. He can turn, can flee an ancient rising horror that would see the realms of man left as shattered death and wind-blown ash.

Or, Declan can face this mounting threat, can come to terms with the fact that his oldest friend might just be more than he appears, and learn to wield an ageless power all his own.

Centuries pass, after all, but the Blood of Kings does not fade....

©2019 Bryce O'Connor and Luke Chmilenko (P)2019 Podium Publishing

What members say

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  • Lanfear
  • 12-09-2019

A Hero Who's Hard to Cheer For

This book started off with promise. It was dark, gritty and had elements of high fantasy mixed in. I was ready to fall in love. However, it quickly became clear that the main protagonist, Declan, is a bit dense. At first, you understand and sympathize with him but after every moment stuns and stupefies him, it starts to get old. It got to point where I found myself laughing, I started to feel bad for the poor kid, as I felt the authors turned against him. I know by the end of the book I sadly had.

For those who are looking for grim dark fantasy you may want to skip this one. Nick Podehl's narration is great but alas, couldn't save this book for me. Poor Declan.

37 of 42 people found this review helpful

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  • Melissa
  • 24-08-2019

Good Book, hope the next one is better.

i really enjoyed the overall story but believe that even in a series a book should be able to hold its own weight. This one was cliff hanger ending which I feel was unnecessary when we could've had 5 more pages to finish up what was there and lead into the next book.

TL;DR Great book, but unnecessary cliff hanger ending.

21 of 25 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Diff-edge
  • 21-08-2019

Incessantly awed, shocked, & stunned into inaction

Plot 10/10
Characters 10/10. ( all but the main protagonist)
Narration 10/10

Wanted to love this story! The world is well developed and makes sense. Most of the characters are deep but not boringly so.

But then there is our hero, who is supposed to be a battle hardened mercenary, spends nearly whole book completely ignorant of what's going on because the writer is trying to build some unnecessary suspense. Not because the information isn't there but because his friends think he is to fragile to hear the truth. Which is probably right because he manages to find something in every battle to get shocked, awed, stunned, or overwhelmed into inaction and he just stands there while everyone else saves him. There is one battle he does himself at the beginning and that's it. seems like the side decides to search his feelings every time the Gore starts to fly.

I am in doubt if I will continue with the sequels.

38 of 48 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • 27-08-2019

This book is absolutely terrific.

One of the best things about reading fantasy novels is that every time you encounter a new magic system it's like an adaptation to physics this book has got a pretty good one.

15 of 19 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Tony G.
  • 07-10-2019

A difficult slog

I was very excited when I saw this book had been released, as I was a big fan of Bryce O'Connor's "Child Of The Daystar" series previously. That series was well crafted, full of believable, interesting characters driven by understandable motivations and the story line that never got dull. I found A Mark Of Kings to be the polar opposite.

**SPOILERS AHEAD**

The book begins with a series of incredibly contrived, unlikely circumstances that force the four main characters together at exactly the precise time to begin their road to stopping the evil "Endless Queen" who has risen again after being vanquished hundreds of years prior. what proceeds immediately after the characters join together is hours and hours of boring historical exposition that could and should have been cut down by about 85% and would have still brought the reader enough of an understanding of current circumstances to continue the story. But I don't believe there is enough content without it to fill a normal-sized book.

Besides the endless exposition, my biggest complaint with this book is the main protagonist, Declan. He is introduced as a veteran mercenary who has joined nearly every mercenary company in the land over his career. He was also raised and trained by a 700+ year old shape shifting dragon to be a survivor. One would expect Declan not to be a complete dunce, but one would be wrong. Declan is constantly shocked into disbelief by "Revalations" every time he has a conversation with any other character. So much so that he typically tells the others that he needs to stop the conversation. This shock is used as a mechanism by the author to cut exposition short for the reader's sake, but it is used far too often.

One excuse that is used to explain how Declan hasn't figured any of this out so far is that Ryn has been blocking specific thoughts in his mind. But many things are never explained. Why is Declan shocked that magic is real after he was raised by a telepathic shape-shifting dragon who outlived both his parents and can magically sense things within a certain radius? Why wouldn't Ryn have told Declan that he can use fire magic? Why is Declan so shocked that Ryn is a dragon, but wasn't shocked when he thought Ryn was a magical shapeshifting creature unlike any known thing in the world? Why did Ryn not tell Declan he was a dragon? Why did Ryn hide anything from him actually? Everything is revealed at the most convenient time that it just comes off as poorly planned.

Besides all this, the romantic element feels forced, This could have been formed believably over the course of the book, but it just happens immediately after they meet.

Argh.. I could go on about my issues with this book, but I'll cut myself off there. I'm very disappointed with this book as a whole.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-09-2019

only one good character

female lead was obnoxious and just whines all the time, main character is dull. at least the wargs were cute

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • John
  • 26-08-2019

I cannot connect with this on any level

You have to be on acid to come up with this concept. A horse that transforms into a wolf? One has hoofs and the other has paws - Right?. So - When Declan communicates with this animal "Telepathically" - He asks the horse to go get the plates for dinner. Ohhh I said that right. The horse goes into the pack and pulls out the plates. No explanation of how this happened.. The story starts off with a melodramatic scene we're are all supposed to connect with? I couldn't get into the opening screen and I was uncomfortable with the entire saga. I don't know what anyone is thinking.. I really tried - But I think the book will be going back.

21 of 33 people found this review helpful

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  • Charles Grayson
  • 22-08-2019

Typical hero's journey story, but needs an editor

The fact that the author didn't bother with having anyone check his grammar drove me nuts. He seems to have never heard of the objective case, which includes "him, her, them, me". Instead, it's "he gave it to she and I". All through the book.

17 of 27 people found this review helpful

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  • Veronica Brogan
  • 22-08-2019

Best thing since The Land

marathoned straight through, left me needing more asap.
exceeded all my expectations.
can't wait for the rest.

12 of 22 people found this review helpful

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  • Haakon Ramsland Hol
  • 19-11-2019

Just too boring.

I listen to a lot of audiobooks, scifi,thrillers,fantasy. This is one of the few that there couldn't finish. Just didnt engage me at all.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 15-08-2019

Show, Don't Tell

Ive never been so annoyed about the lack of agency in a book. The "hero" of the book is constantly getting shocked by every thing he encounters without taking any significant initiative.

Half of what I've read so far is either info dumps or incredibly descriptive travelling information.

The only thing I've enjoyed about this book so far is Nick Podhel's Narration.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Maylil
  • 03-09-2019

One of the best I've recently read

I think i might shortly find this author on my hard to get on top lists. One less star only because some of the times the background expose was interrupted became a touch stillted and there was a lot of it. That said I still thoroughly enjoyed the presentation and feel it was giving nods to our favorites without being too obv or stealing (like some 'sword' books we might love/hate). I think it was just me noticing the freshness of a new author shining through, but if so, a damn good one.
Heartbroken the sequel isn't out, and looking forward to being really wowed

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • kian
  • 18-08-2019

Good setup

Good start, its setting up the scene and back story for the series, but I felt more should have happened instead it's lot of story telling of the past and travelling on the road, still I have faith it will get better in the next book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful