By: Mike Brooks
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit Books
WARNING: There will be spoilers if you have not read the books
The Black Coast and The Splinter King are the first two books in Mike Brooks’ trilogy, The God-King Chronicles. It is a perfect epic fantasy read for Pride Month, and if you are looking for LBGTQ+ inclusivity in your fantasy reads. These books were not only great fantasy, but same sex marriage and same sex relationships were normalized. I really like when representation is part of the world that the author creates. We read it for the amazing story, but in the world of the book, LBGTQ+ representation are part of the character make-up.
This particular series is interesting in its approach than others I have read. It takes place in the world of Naridia. In the first book, we see The Brown Eagle Clan from the islands of Tjakorsha come to the shores of Naridia. In the past, they have come as raiders, but now, they seek to settle among the Naridians as they escape The Golden, a body-snatching spirit that is bringing all the clans under it’s rule. The chief of the Brown Eagle Clan, Saana Sattistutar, has escaped with her people. They come to a reluctant alliance as they try to forge out a living together. It is Damien of Black Keep, where she has come, who agrees to their settling with the Naridians. When Saana discovers that men can marry men and women can marry women, she is not happy as this is taboo where she comes from. It is really wonderful how Mr. Brooks develops the understanding over a period of time. In order to unite their people, Daimon and Saana agree to marry. Once married, Saana wants to prove that she can accept their culture, and begins to refer to herself as a man, thereby adding gender fluidity in a very interesting way. She refers to herself as “this man’s husband”. Over time, they begin to accept the differences in each other’s cultures, and some in the Brown Eagle Clan form same sex relationships with the Naridians. This all occurs against the backdrop of an amazing fantasy that I highly recommend.
I felt like the acceptance of the Brown Eagle Clan to the normalization of same sex marriage and relationship was in many ways a hopeful mirror to our own society. The more you understand and learn, the less you fear change. The more you understand, the more you realize that these relationship are just as normal as any other, and as always, LOVE is LOVE.
BOOK BLURB: THE BLACK COAST
War Dragons. Fearsome Raiders. A Daemonic Warlord on the Rise.
When the citizens of Black Keep see ships on the horizon, terror takes them because they know who is coming: for generations, the keep has been raided by the fearsome clanspeople of Tjakorsha. Saddling their war dragons, Black Keep’s warriors rush to defend their home only to discover that the clanspeople have not come to pillage at all. Driven from their own land by a daemonic despot who prophesises the end of the world, the raiders come in search of a new home . . .
Meanwhile the wider continent of Narida is lurching toward war. Black Keep is about to be caught in the crossfire – if only its new mismatched society can survive.
The start of an unmissable fantasy series.
Review of The Black Coast
Purchase The Black Coast
BOOK BLURB: THE SPLINTER KING
The world fractures as a dead god rises…
Darel, dragon knight and the new leader of Black Keep, must travel to the palace of the God-King to beg for the lives of his people. But in the capital of Narida, Marin and his warrior husband will be drawn into a palace coup, and Princess Tila will resort to murder to keep her hold on power.
In the far reaches of the kingdom an heir in exile is hunted by assassins, rumours of a rival God-King abound, and daemonic forces from across the seas draw ever nearer…
Review of The Splinter King
Purchase The Splinter King
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Brooks was born in Ipswich, Suffolk and moved to Nottingham when he was 18 to go to university. He’s stayed there ever since, and now lives with his wife, cats, snakes, and a collection of tropical fish.
When not writing he works for a homelessness charity, plays guitar and sings in a punk band, watches football (soccer), MMA and nature/science documentaries, goes walking in the Peak District or other areas of splendid scenery, and DJs wherever anyone will tolerate him.
Mike is bisexual / bi+ / whatever equivalent terminology you want to use that doesn’t imply a refusal to acknowledge the validity of trans and/or nonbinary people, and is disabled (partially deaf. No, this happened naturally, and a long time before the punk band).