Egil and Nix: A Discourse In Steel by Paul S. Kemp – Book Review [Bane of Kings]

A Discourse in Steel

Bane of Kings returns to the Egil & Nix series by Paul S. Kemp, with the second volume – A Discourse in Steel, published by Angry Robot Books.

“Paul S. Kemp provides an entertaining and enjoyable ride through the lives of Egil & Nix. Another strong contender for the most fun book of the year, people who loved their first outing won’t be able to put this one down.” ~The Founding Fields

I’ve had A Discourse in Steel sitting on my Kindle Fire for a while now after receiving an eARC, and for some reason, I never really got around to reading it until recently, despite the fact that I enjoyed the first book a lot. However, rest assured – A Discourse in Steel is as equally as enjoyable as The Hammer and the Blade, providing a fun romp that’s written with the confidence of a veteran author, and indeed – Paul S. Kemp is no stranger to fiction – his previous works include a Star Wars novel (Decieved, which I really enjoyed), a Black Library short story in Time of Legends, and has even been interviewed on The Founding Fields (Link). So, if fun, action-packed page-turning adventures in a fantasy setting is your thing, then you should really enjoy this sequel.

Egil and Nix have retired, as they always said they would. No, really – they have! No more sword and hammer-play for them! 

But when two recent acquaintances come calling for help, our hapless heroes find themselves up against the might of the entire Thieves Guild. 

And when kidnapping the leader of the most powerful guild in the land seems like the best course of action, you know you’re in over your head… 

File Under: Fantasy [ Incriminating | Mind Matters | One Last Time | The Steal Remains ] 

A hugely-enjoyable adventure in classic sword and sorcery mode, from the New York Times bestselling author of “Star Wars: Deceived” and “The Hammer and the Blade”. 

The plot of A Discourse in Steel isn’t complicated, and it’s pretty easy to follow, allowing Kemp to avoid being bogged down by attention to detail, and info-dumping, thus creating a fun sequel that doesn’t fall into the trap of spending more time exploring the world than actually bothering with a plot. It’s some of the best written fast-paced fantasy that I’ve seen, and if you’re looking to be drawn in and finding yourself unable to put the book down, then A Discourse in Steel and its predecessor will be the perfect books for you. Once I started reading this book, I couldn’t stop – and for the first time in a while, I was actually looking forward to bus journeys (where I read most of my eBooks) to finish this, and as a result, came very close to missing my stop more than once.

A Discourse in SteelEgil and Nix are as charming and as likeable as ever, and they’re really rootable protagonists. Nix himself has dropped out of a mage school, and Egil is a high priest, allowing for a fun duo that exchange a lot of witty banter over the course of the novel. This is easily one of the more entertaining books that I’ve read recently, and proves that you don’t have to write grimdark fantasy in order to tell an entertaining novel. Whilst this may be the second book in the series, if the author gets to tell more – it’s clearly not going to be the last, and I’ll be eagerly looking forward to more tales of Egil and Nix, and the world-building that is thrown at us in future books (whilst I mentioned earlier that it doesn’t overshadow the story, Kemp does manage to craft a very interesting world for the characters to inhabit).

The dialogue between the characters is clever and fun, and one of the highlights of the book. Kemp knows how to write humour and writes it well, and the style that fans loved in Hammer and the Blade will find that it hasn’t changed at all here, with a compelling plot that allows for a great variety of action sequences, escapades and adventures from Egil and Nix. Every situation they find themselves in they always seem to be capable of finding a way out – and as a result, A Discourse in Steel allows for a really entertaining read.

If you want a return to the lighter side of fantasy and are tired of all the grimdark novels that are hitting shelves recently (sure, some of them are good – but it’s nice to have a break once in a while), Paul S. Kemp’s Egil and Nix series will be perfect for you. Fun, witty, clever and enthralling – this is one series that you’ll love once you give it a chance. Kemp is easily the writer to look out for on the sword and sorcery scene at the moment.

VERDICT: 4/5

EGIL & NIX SERIES: The Hammer and the Blade, A Discourse in Steel

Milo, aka Bane of Kings, is a SFF/Comic reader, and watches a lot of TV. His favourite authors are Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson & Iain M. Banks, whilst his favourite TV shows are Battlestar Galactica (2003), Person Of Interest, Firefly, Game of Thrones, & Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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