Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Book Review: King Maker by Maurice Broaddus

King maker: The Knights of Benton Court 1 by Maurice Broddus
412 pages
Angry Robot

This is an excellent and original first novel of urban fantasy, with dark horrific over tones. King maker is most easily described as King Arthur's court in reset in the ganglands of Indianapolis. Having grown up an hour south of Indianapolis, I grew up going to Indy to go to sporting events, metal and hardcore shows. So I was interested in this novel that took place in a city but familiar and unknown to me.

I think many of my friends who has lived in or around Indianapolis might still feel they have a little to learn about the from the point of view Broaddus provides. I admit I probably enjoyed the geography and local references a lot but there is plenty to like even if you have seen been to Indianapolis.

This book is a origin tale and has the difficult task of setting up characters who stand-in for King Arthur and his knights. Not to mention all the gang riff raff they have to deal with. It was smart to include a a chart at the front of the book.

The fantasy elements are pretty restrained, and only appear in small doses until the end of the book, also it sets up the future books having a greater level of fantasy. This worked for me as Broaddus focused his energy on building strong and well defined characters. In this sense the first ¾ of King maker has more in common with The Wire than Excalibur. This is an excellent choice on the author's part because more than most Urban fantasy novels the world felt raw and real.

This is an excellent debut, but it is an origin novel and it's strength lies in strong characters and the road ahead. It's fortunate that Angry Robot has already released books two and three. They are already on my list.

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