The Vagabond King is an action packed fantasy novel that kicks off a new trilogy from debut UK author Jodie Bond. The story starts with Lleu, who is part of a group of soldiers called the Palimore and they are just about to launch a surprise invasion on a neighbouring island. As they take the city, Lleu recuses the Prince Threon and sends him to safety—for reasons as yet unknown to Threon and the reader. Five years later, Threon returns to his homeland for revenge and rebellion. What follows is best described using a very fitting quote from the book which illustrates the underlying plot of the story:
“We are all pawns in a game between Gods. We can only hope we’re being manipulated by the winning side.”
There are many incredible main characters and Gods that you’ll encounter throughout this book:
Threon Greenbrooke: The prince and rightful heir to the Waterlands, forced out by war but rescued and seeking refuge in the Southlands as a musician.
Lleu: An outsider with blue eyes, a Palimore soldier under obligation to invade the Waterlands that were once home.
Savanta: A mother and an inventor, she is given wings by Zenith the God of the sky, but she is under his hold and control.
Azzania: A witch from the group known as “Guardians”, they channel power from the void and reject all gods.
The Gods (The Vyara):
Deyar: God of the Earth and self claimed “King of the Gods”. His wife, the Empress Keresan, has ruled the land of Thelonia for a thousand years and wants to extend Deyar’s influence into the other lands.
Zenith: God of the Sky and brother to Deyar. A manipulator with his own agenda.
Athys: Goddess of the water and sister to Zenith and Deyar. She wants balance, as the more Deyar controls, the weaker her own and Zenith’s influence becomes.
Fantasy fans will love this, but it’s also a really satisfying read for those that just enjoy the genre here and there, as they can get a hit of all the good stuff in one book. The Vagabond King manages to pack in bloodthirsty battles, magic, flying, a competition, immortality, shapeshifting, kings and queens, gods, and more!
The book is well paced without dumping backstory and information on the reader. Some fantasies can feel a bit alienating but The Vagabond King just draws you in and you learn about the world as you go.
In addition to all of the action, it would have been nice to have a little bit more insight to the characters and what makes them tick. I like books that really get under the skin of the character, as you can get to know them better and it helps the story stay with you long after you’ve finished reading. Perhaps that will come in time with the rest of the trilogy.
The ending was smart and doesn’t just end on a cliffhanger. I’ve read some books where they just seem like half a story, or just setting up for the next one in the series. The Vagabond King is not one of these. Some plot threads reach a conclusion, and others are left a little bit open. The reader knows there is more to the world that could be explored so it feels like the next book will bring new adventures and obstacles for the characters. I can enjoy this one on it’s own, but will I read the sequel? I’d say it’s very likely.
Will you be picking up The Vagabond King? Tell us in the comments below!
Synopsis | Goodreads
In a land where immortality can be bought, cruelty thrives…
Exiled and alone, Threon is torn from a life in the palace to scrape a living on the streets of a foreign land. Once a prince whose every whim was obliged, now this vagabond must adapt to survive.
Throwing his lot in with a witch, a rebel soldier and a woman touched by a god, he seeks retribution for the wrongs committed against his family. Slavery, famine and destruction of natural resources are rampant, and the struggle to avenge his kin soon becomes a battle to restore justice across the Empire. Together Threon and his new companions must rekindle old allegiances, face an immortal army and learn to trust one another.
But when the gods begin to interfere with their plans, is it a curse or a blessing?
Part One of The Vagabond King trilogy, Jodie Bond introduces an exciting new voice in fantasy fiction.