The Forever Knight (A Novel of the Bronze Knight, Book #4)
by John Marco
Release Date: April 2nd, 2013
2013 DAW Hardcover
Softcover ARC; 282 Pages
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy
Source: Review copy from author
4 / 5 Stars
Lukien is the Bronze
Knight, beloved by his kingdom and renowned in battle throughout his
world. After betraying his king and losing his beloved, he wishes only
for death, but rather than die, Lukien is given a chance for redemption:
to be the protector of the Inhumans—those fragile mortals who live deep
in the desert, far from the prying eyes of their world. These
remarkable individuals have been granted magical powers in exchange for
the hardships and handicaps life has handed them. And Lukien, now
immortal himself, must be their champion. But how can one man, even an
immortal warrior, protect hundreds from a world of potential enemies?
The Forever Knight is the fourth installment of the Bronze Knight series, and I thought it was somewhat different from the former three novels. This was not necessarily a bad thing however, as it gave readers following the series a different, and fresh, perspective, on the events, and continuing saga, of Lukien and Cricket. What was also different from many other fantasy novels of its kind was its length as it is rather shorter than many of its contemporaries. At first, I wasn't sure how to take this as I felt that the 'meat' of the story was somewhat missing, but as I read through the novel, I came to like it as the story was just that, the story, and many of the frustrating extras were not there.
In this installment, Lukien is restless and looking for a purpose to his life which can sometimes lead to impulsiveness and carelessness. As an almost immortal, having a spirit living within his sword, Lukien is in more danger of the developing boredom than he is of anything that could hurt him as the spirit would just heal him anyways. Looking for a challenge, he decides to help Cricket search for her hidden past and sets off on a journey to Akyre, hoping to discover secrets that will help unlock Cricket's amnesiatic mind. During their travels, Cricket and Lukien hear of an unscrupulous king who is rampaging through the Bitter Kingdoms and find themselves in his path. I really enjoyed seeing things through Lukien's eyes as this novel was written in the first person, which is quite different from his usual style, but what I found is that I didn't quite connect with the characters in quite the same way because of this and found myself more impartial and less empathetic with their plights that I would normally have been. However, I was able to understand Lukien in a way that I had never understood him before so there is definitely a give and take to this type of narration. The author has great story-telling abilities, but I feel like some of that was lost in this novel compared to his previous ones. Don't get me wrong though, the story was still quite interesting.
One of the things I did enjoy was the introduction of some pretty horrendous creatures in this novel that make me wonder if there is a future for Mr. Marco in the horror genre. (I certainly hope so!) I found this novel darker and bleaker than the previous novels and rather enjoyed that as Lukien would certainly be hurting from events that occurred previously. I also enjoyed the rather unpredictable and annoying relationship between Malator and Lukien and wondered where some of the cryptic comments were going to lead. Unfortunately, not everything was resolved in this novel and readers will have to wait to get some answers to some questions regarding Lukien's future and the possible travel between realms as well as other things that have occurred. Frustrating, but understandable.
The Forever Knight is one of those novels whereby I wasn't sure what I thought about it until halfway through as the writing style was different from previous novels and it was far shorter than I would have liked, although this is more of a personal thing as I like my fantasy novels to be full of description. There will definitely be more novels in the future as the ending, while satisfying, did leave the reading with a plethora of questions that need to be answered. I would also recommend the reader read the previous novels in the series before reading this one. They are more complex than this one, and will explain a lot of things that are assumed the reader understands in this novel. I am a huge fan of the Bronze Knight and am looking forward to more adventures in the future.