2 star rating
Sworn in Steel
Tales of the Kin, Book #2
By Douglas Hulick
ISBN#  9780451464477
Author’s Website:  http://www.douglashulick.com/

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi

*Beware of possible Spoilers*

sworn-in-steel-tales-of-the-kin-douglas-hulickThe long awaited second novel of the Tales of the Kin series, Sworn in Steel

It’s been three months since the end of Among Thieves (at least in the world of the characters) and Drothe is struggling with his rise to power as a Gray Prince.  He’s used to running the streets so having an organization to command below him is strange for our new prince.  Not to mention he is still plagued with guilt on how he betrayed his former best friend, Degan.

Another Gray Prince has been murdered and all signs point to Drothe as the culprit.  And, when he realizes the rumors of him dusting Crook Eye started before the prince was even murdered makes it clear that Drothe is being set up.

Silver Degan makes it clear that he’s the one behind Crook Eye’s demise and that more princes will wind up dead at Drothe’s door if he doesn’t do exactly what he wants; find Degan so that together Silver and he can go before the Order of the Degans and fix the fracture that has occurred and also possibly restore Degan’s status in the process.  Drothe doesn’t like being manipulated by anyone, but agrees after what he’s done to Degan that he must do this for his friend, to give him a chance to get his life back, even if Degan doesn’t realize how bad he wants it for himself.

So Drothe, Silver, Fowler, and an acting troupe Drothe has picked up along the way head to the city of Djan to try to find Degan and convince him to come back to Ildrecca to set things right.  But once in Djan, Drothe quickly realizes that things aren’t what they seem and there is much more afoot here.  He must dodge his way through assassins, politics, lies and even friendship to get to the bottom of things and to determine the correct path for all involved.

I was excited to see this book was finally being released.  I read the first installment, Among Thieves back in 2012, and really enjoyed Drothe.  He reminded me a lot of Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean, in the sense that he was a bad guy you just couldn’t help, but love!  So, I was excited to see what author, Doulgas Hulick, and Drothe himself had in store for us this time around!

But sadly this book was plagued with obstacles for me.  First and foremost was the fact that it had been around two years since I read the first book so I felt a bit lost trying to catch up with what was going on in Drothe’s life.  I wasn’t sure if I was forgetting things that happened in the first book, or if the things going on at the beginning of the book, were just occurrences that happened between novels.  I think it may have been a combination of the two, and it just seemed as if I had a lot of catching up to do.

But I think my biggest complaint with this book was the fact that I felt the author really needed to ‘cut the fat’ in this installment.  I got so bored with Drothe’s day to day dealings in Djan as he was looking for Degan, and making his trips to see Heron.  Yes, I admit there were some things important to the story, but there was even more that wasn’t that could easily have been cut out to make the storyline more streamlined and flow easier.  I struggled to keep reading this book because I just found myself disinterested in it.  I also was able to figure out the revelations such as Ivory Degan long before Drothe figured them out, there were just too many clues hidden in all that mediocrity of his days on the streets of Djan to truly be surprised.

There was some humor in this book, but not nearly as much as there was in the previous installment.  I’ve come to expect Drothe’s sharp wit and tongue.  There were some great lines, but I’d like to have seen more.

“You talk; I’ll sleep. feel free to make up my side of the conversation in case you get bored. I recommend throwing in the occasional ‘fuck you’ on my behalf, just to keep things true to life.”

I really hope that these issues are fixed in the next book so we get a more enjoyable easy to read story.  I also hope there isn’t such a long time between installments so I can remember all the things that happened!  I do enjoy Drothe, but am looking for a stellar third installment that can make up for this outing.  This series could go in many different directions after the way this one ended, so I’m curious to see what happens next.  But please no more idle day to day drab that has no bearing on the story!  I want to go back to the enjoyment I had in book one!