Review – Heavy Lies the Crown by Ben Galley

(The Scalussen Chronicles Book II)

Ah, well, here I am again with my words. I am sorry for leaving you lovely readers hanging for months on end with not a single word. I must admit that a great deal has happened to me during this long quiet time and I have found reading let alone writing hard to do with this unquiet mind of mine. However, I have read some good, really good, books. Here’s the blurb for one such book, it is the continuation of a great new series:

To save the world, first you have to survive it.

The battle for freedom has left Emaneska reeling and desolated. Both Scalussen and Arka are dead or scattered to the winds. With the Blazing Throne now empty and the Arka Empire for the taking, the race to claim Emaneska has begun.

Farden and Mithrid are stranded in strange eastern lands by errant magick, They battle not to return home, but to uncover an ancient weapon capable of defeating a god. A god who desires nothing but chaos.

In Emaneska, the survivors of the Rogue’s Armada search for safer havens, something rare and lacking in the uncharted waters of the south.

Treachery and pain await them both, but the price of failure is steeper. New enemies lie in wait on those foreign paths. Dark creatures born of nightmares and forgotten powers. Warlords set on mastering magick. And an old threat reborn, doggedly pursuing one fate:

The death of Farden.

Review

As for The Forever King, Ben kindly gave me an ARC for Heavy Lies the Crown in return for an honest review, and I’m really sorry that I have taken so very long to write it. My apologies Ben. As I mentioned in my review of The Forever King, the Scallusen Chronicles trilogy begins many years after the Emaneska Series ends.

So, the beginning of Heavy Lies The Crown starts immediately where The Forever King left off. An armada, including the gigantic book ships, sails the seas holding what is left of the Scallusen population and peoples of other parts of Emaneska, including the dragons and their remaining eggs. It sails in search of their Forever King, Farden, who disappeared during the eruption of Irminsul, led by the reluctant General Elessi. Using the inkweld to send and receive messages, they discover he is alive but unbelievably far to the east. Loki still plagues them and their voyage is made all the more desperate due to his machinations. Elessi has to battle wits with the devious god, the armada must flee his summoned leviathans, survive storm-wracked seas, and escape dangerous islands. Meanwhile, Farden, Mithrid, Aspala, Durnus and Warbringer have no idea where they have been transported by Durnus’ Weight. Unfortunately, the Weight was destroyed in the process and cannot be used again. They travel through strange lands that become progressively stranger, coming across odd peoples, creatures, religions, even plants – some of which are bloody dangerous and seriously creepy – all wonderfully grisly inventions of Ben’s.

Farden and his group travel ever further from Scallusen on a quest for a weapon that will end the war for good and save the world, yet through it all, Farden seems to stir up violence and hatred in many of the unusual lands he travels through. These vengeful peoples dog his trail and it all culminates explosively and quite satisfactorily.

With both groups travelling vast distances, we discover so much more of the world Ben Galley has created for his stories. We explore a vast landscape with the characters we know, and meet many new intriguing and strong characters. The former grow in depth and breadth, so we get to know them much better and understand their motives and needs. I particularly love Mithrid’s arc, her struggles with who she is and what she must become. The plot is nicely convoluted, and any frustrations with decisions made – by Farden mostly – come to clarity much later. Oh you devious writer, Ben, you have created a most convoluted and satisfying read. Thank you.

I look forward to reading the third book of this series.

All the best to all of you

Rosa B Watkinson

P. S. Though the war in Ukraine continues with brutality and desperation, isn’t it uplifting to see and hear of the caring, generosity, and kindness of so many people all over the world. So many folk sending and bringing much needed aide to Ukraine’s neighbouring countries to help in their care of the refugees. And to those people taking in the refugees, whole families in many cases, fleeing the destruction of their homes, I salute you. It is wonderful to see that in such dire times so much goodness comes to the fore.

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