Book Review: The Silent Shield
The Kingfountain series #5
By Jeff Wheeler
Thrust into the heart of events threatening to rip her kingdom apart, young Trynne Kiskaddon will gain new powers and sees old allies fall and new heroes rise as the battle for the kingdom and the lands beyond begins.
Courtly intrigue and rumors of invasion plunge Kingfountain into turmoil as the search for Trynne’s father begins in earnest. But Trynne’s quest to learn the truth of Owen’s sinister disappearance is sidetracked when tragedy strikes her family once again. Suddenly, the future of the kingdom rests in her hands as she struggles to learn—and control—the power that can keep the threatening Deep Fathoms at bay.
When King Gahalatine unleashes his overwhelming forces against the realm, Trynne must draw on her political instincts, warrior training, and Fountain-blessed magic if she hopes to survive the chaos to come. But a final, epic confrontation will force Trynne into an unimaginable choice: save her kingdom and the lives of her people, or lose the one who means more to her than life itself. (Courtesy of goodreads.com)
Adult Point of View
Since Jeff Wheeler kindly gave me an early copy I’m trying to be extra good about not giving out spoilers in this review.
Through the entire series I have liked how each book resolves a number of problems even though new problems crop up. I never have felt like I’m just being strung along. The Silent Shield has this same format. As you remember we were left on tenterhooks from The Hollow Crown that Owen has been kidnapped and King Drew has been given a year respite from the war because of this unexpected treachery by King Gahalatine. Another piece of intrigue that remained was the question of who could be trusted; Fallon or Morwenna, or neither.
Another aspect I’ve enjoyed through the series are the monologues, or interludes, by a “mystery” character. This literary device works well to see some of the events from a different perspective. It’s also fun to sleuth out who is speaking. You will immediately identify the character speaking in the little monologues inThe Silent Shield, and in this case, the reader will be happy to know the extenuating circumstances.
As always, I love the characters in the Kingfountain series. The protagonist, Tryneowy Kiskaddon (usually called Trynne) has come to accept her role as being chosen by the Fountain and she is dedicated to fulfilling the role of an Oath Maiden. I was happy to see that she has been tested in keeping those oaths. I did wish that I had felt her struggle a little more with resisting the temptation to kill for revenge. She certainly had reasons to want to kill for revenge! The man who disfigured her would be a good example. Trynne is loyal, looks for the good in others and is faithful to the will of the Fountain. She also still suffers from some self-doubt; her achilles heel. She continues in her role as a Lancelot as a fierce protector of her king, the epitome of a King Arthur.
Iago Fallon Llewellyn is steadier and has grown from his experiences. I liked him more as a person this time around and feel a little sad that he and Trynne will not get to marry (as stated in the last book by Sinia, Trynne’s mother). Elwis is another character who has grown into his role and learned to be more humble and patient. I hope something good comes for him in the last book.
Morwenna Argentine has never been a character that I can fully trust. How can I when she is named so similarly to Morgan le Fay, who was Arthur’s downfall in the Arthurian legends? Nevertheless, there continues to be more to her than meets the eye? How does she relate to Owen as her father’s daughter? What does she feel her place should be in the world? She obviously wants to be respected, much like Fallon seeks. It’s interesting to see how Fallon and Morwenna approach the problem of wanting respect differently.
In the last book we saw a very small slice of King Gahalatine, that he wanted to be the benevolent emperor for the world. In The Silent Shield we get to see more of Gahalatine. He is interesting because he is obviously misguided, manipulated and is actually a decent human being. He believes he is doing what is right. He see the good in Trynne as well as some of the rulers of nations who have opposed him. In the long run, I felt like Gahalatine was listening to others which made him very unusual.
The Kingfountain series is excellent for young adults and adults because it is clean, it has influences from history and legends and has excellent writing. I also recommend it because it has plenty of twists, but isn’t so convoluted that new readers to fantasy will be overwhelmed. If a book doesn’t have great characters I quickly lose interest. Wheeler does such a great job with his characters I always want to read more.
In keeping with his style, there is a big pow at the end. I can hardly wait for the next book, thankfully it will be out in just a few months!
(I’m always torn, is this a 5 out of 5 stars because I love it so much? Or is it still a 4 out of 5 stars by my original rating system. I’m leaning to changing the entire series to 5 out of 5 stars because the characters are so amazing!)
5 out of 5 stars
If you have enjoyed Wheeler as an author I would highly recommend reading A Cast of Stones by Patrick W. Carr and The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. I am confident that you will love their books.
A few older books to try would include The Raven Ring by Patricia C. Wrede, Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey and The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley.
Another Arthurian tale that I recommend is Merlin, The Lost Years by T. A. Barron.