“The Forever Knight” by John Marco

I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

“The Forever Knight” by John MarcoThe Forever Knight by John Marco
Published: 2013 by DAW
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 282
Format: ARC
Source: TLC Book Tours
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When “The Forever Knight” begins, the revered knight Lukien is an old man.  He’s got his share of battle scars, and only has one eye.  However, he’s kept alive by a spirit that dwells within his magical sword.  Lukien has lost the love of his life, and he’s bored with his immortality.  He feels as if his life no longer has a purpose.  In an attempt to find new meaning, Lukien sets out with a young girl named Cricket to find out the secrets of her childhood in the war-torn land of Akyre.  Meanwhile, a tyrant king and an undead dragon may be the challenge that Lukien needs to rediscover his inner strength.

“The Forever Knight” is actually the fourth in a series, but don’t let that dissuade you.  The book can be read and understood without reading the books that came before them.  I haven’t read the first three books, and I was completely immersed in the story before I’d even gotten fifty pages in.  The author does a good job of setting the scene and explaining the events of previous books, but by using Lukien’s brooding as a way to do it, the recap of previous books becomes an organic part of the story.

One of the most interesting things to me about “The Forever Knight” is that I didn’t find Lukien to be terribly likeable, even though I enjoyed the book tremedously.  He’s a bit whiny and makes a lot of stupid mistakes which tend to hurt those that he cares about.  He can judge people harshly and he can be self-centered.  At the same time, Lukien’s personality makes the book more realistic and gives it more depth.  He’s got plenty of flaws, even though he does genuinely care about protecting the people he cares about.  There’s a difference between his intentions and execution, and that’s part of what it is to be human.  Considering that Lukien is now immortal, it keeps him from becoming boring or too god-like.

Another thing I liked about “The Forever Knight” was the presence of GLBT characters.  Without getting into too much detail, Marco’s gay characters are presented as complex human beings who are both flawed and heroic.  Actually, the description “flawed yet heroic” could sum up most of Marco’s characters, which was one of the factors that impressed me so much about his writing.

A word of forewarning–people die in this book.  People die in the previous books.  John Marco isn’t afraid to kill off his characters in tragic and painful ways.  There’s one particular part of the book that, if you’re at all like me, will make you cry.  At the same time, I was pleased with the way that the book ended.

Overall, I’d highly recommend this one if you’re looking for a new fantasy read.

 

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12 comments

  1. Hi Grace!
    The first in this series are something like 800 pp, so excellent to know that The Forever Knight can be picked up without having read the others first. I like your description of the LGBT and the flawed heroic characters.

    1. This one’s definitely a bit shorter, then. It’s a very manageable length for fantasy, which is good. I like it when authors write books in a series that can stand alone. Starting a new series from book one can be a huge time commitment, especially when it’s not finished. 😀

  2. Ditto on the GLBT characters. I’m in for a book with great characters and this sounds really good. Glad to know that you don’t need to read the full series to enjoy this one. While I love a good series, I like it when a book in a series can stand on its own.

    1. Same. I’m working full time and finishing up grad school, so I’ve had a lot less time for blogging (and reading, by extension) over the past few months. I was a bit nervous to accept this one when I saw that it was book four, but I’m so very glad that I did!

  3. “John Marco isn’t afraid to kill off his characters in tragic and painful ways.” Reminds me of George RR Martin … he’s quite fond of killing of characters. Still, I like that; it makes the book feel more “realistic” to me despite the genre.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

    1. Haha, I’m putting off starting “A Storm of Swords” till the semester’s over for exactly that reason. Characters will die, and I’ll get upset, or characters will *almost* die and I’ll have to keep reading for two hundred pages to find out whether or not they’re okay, by which point another favorite character will be in jeopardy… 😀

    1. Hi Lynn! Everything’s been going pretty well. It’s been busy with work and school, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. After this semester, I’ll just need a summer class, and then I’ll be graduated and have time to read and blog more again. I’m moving next week, which is exciting! Not moving very far, but far enough to be able to walk to work instead of having a long commute, and I’ll be living directly across the street from a public library (and of course proximity to a public library is one of the first things I think about when I get to pick the apartment. Buahahaha!)