The Dagger and the Coin: The King’s Blood by Daniel Abraham – Book Review [Bane of Kings]


Bane of Kings reviews one of 2012’s best fantasy novels, The King’s Blood, the sequel to his favourite fantasy book of 2011, The Dragon’s Path. It’s written by Daniel Abraham and published by Orbit.

“Among my favourite fantasy novels of 2012, The King’s Blood continues the Dagger and the Coin epic that proves why Daniel Abraham is one of fantasy’s best authors out there.” ~The Founding Fields

Yeah. The King’s Blood is very good. Whilst it’s not King of Thorns-level good, it’s certainly up there among the high end of 2012’s fantasy novels, and probably among everything that I’ve read that was released this year so far. Abraham shows that he can excel in a variety of genres, no matter whether he be writing under James SA Corey (with Ty Frank, his space opera The Expanse series), or MLN Hanover, (his urban fantasy series The Black Sun’s Daughter), or under his real name. The King’s Blood is a superb follow up to The Dragon’s Path that does not disappoint fans of Abraham’s works.

War casts its shadow over the lands that the dragons once ruled. Only the courage of a young woman with the mind of a gambler and loyalty to no one stands between hope and universal darkness.

The high and powerful will fall, the despised and broken shall rise up, and everything will be remade. And quietly, almost beneath the notice of anyone, an old, broken-hearted warrior and an apostate priest will begin a terrible journey with an impossible goal: destroy a Goddess before she eats the world.

The Dagger and the Coin series is shaping up to be another great fantasy work. Whilst perhaps there are is a heavier focus politics than one would like and the gap between novels sometimes can cause the reader to forget certain subplots and other similar things, which made the novel a rough start (I suppose I should have re-read The Dragon’s Path first), but once I found myself fully immersed in the book, the pages were flying by at a rip-roaring pace from which I could not put it down.

The characters in The King’s Blood are superb. Like George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, each main character gains a chapter from their third person perspective. We see a great focus on character development, and Marcus, Cithrin, Geder are the main three characters even though there are other POVs introduced. They are flawed, and none are two-dimensional – which is an aspect of The King’s Blood I really enjoyed. Each character is human, and what’s more, in the world of The Dagger of the Coin, nobody is safe – and the tension is always high.

The novel itself is well written, action packed and although the cover may not be my favourite, as I prefer the jaw-dropping artwork of James SA Corey’s The Expanse to Daniel Abraham’s Dagger and the Coin, that shouldn’t bother you too much as this particular novel is well worth the read, especially if you loved the first book like I did.

Although The King’s Blood may not be my favourite fantasy novel of 2012, that still doesn’t stop it from being a bloody epic one. The strongest element of this book are the characters, going back to my earlier point – and each have their own voices and although second installments are normally the weakest in fantasy series, Daniel Abraham manages to maintain the high standards. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a must read. Utterly unputdownable, very enjoyable and delightful in every way. A lot of people will spot the connections to George RR Martin’s work, but it’s not a carbon copy. It’s a delight to read.

Verdict: 5/5

The Dagger and the Coin Series by Daniel Abraham: The Dragon’s Path, The King’s Blood, Tyrant’s Law (TBR)

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