The narrator, Benjamin Fife, provided me a copy of Second Son by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt to listen to and give an honest review as I have previously reviewed Kings’s Warrior (book 1 of The Minstrel’s Song). As soon as I started listening to this second book, I immediately felt like an old friend was reading to me. Mr Fife has such an expressive voice for the different characters, but reads through the descriptions so smoothly that one can just slip into the scene and be immersed in the story. He is one of my favorite narrators!
While this is book two in the series, I don’t see any reason that one couldn’t begin reading or listening to Second Son without the background understanding of King’s Warrior. The characters are vibrant and the setting is easy to imagine. The conflict is steadily built through the story and no prior history is needed. That being said, a richer understanding is achieved for those lucky enough to read the series in order.
This book starts with the two princes as young boys learning their culture, history, geography, roles, and arms. The beginning is heavily foreshadowed with the queen often wondering if they “are doing the right thing?” Soon we glean that there is something quite special about the younger Prince Rhoyan, even the older prince has an awareness of it. Meanwhile, the younger prince idolizes his older brother. Soon, it becomes obvious to more people that Rhoyan is quite spectacular, and equal or better than his older brother at most activities. It is not surprising then when Rhoyan has a special tutor who is actually a dragon. As usual, the character development is astounding and is what drives this book with such power and speed.
I really enjoy how the passing chapters sometimes speed through years of time, and sometimes the chapters all focus on one short adventure. The whole book is composed of multiple adventures by Rhoyan aka Roy aka Brand. Meanwhile those around Rhoyan/Brand seem to grow up and fall in love and settle into their responsibilities. Meanwhile, the adventurer who touched the star and gained that wisdom is always continuing to learn from Merfolk teachers and becomes known as a guardian of the land as “The Wanderer”. Just enough description of any scene is given so that the reader can picture it and fully imagine the smell of the stable, or the softly turned dirt, or the salty wind, and then the action moves. This, in my mind is the perfect amount of description without too much causing me to fall out of the story, bored by details.
When the narrator provided me the complimentary copy of this book, he let me know he was in the process of recording the fourth book. I have a couple more books on my TBR clamoring for my attention, but book three, Yorien’s Hand, is on my TBR list as well as book four, The Minstrel’s Call. This is a fantastic series and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in engaging fantasy series. The character development is awesome, the world building is fantastic, and the action steadily pulls the story forward.The books are appropriate for any library or public classroom.
You may also be interested in my review of the first book, Kings Warrior.
If you like these two books, you may also like, Agata, Princess of Iberia.