Kingdom in the Balance (Volume 5, The Myrridian Cycle)

Debra Killeen
Helm Publishing (2011)
ISBN 9780983010937

Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (11/11)  

Discovering Debra Killeen’s “Kingdom in the Balance” quickly assured that my reading list grew by an additional four titles. This is namely Volume 5 of The Myrridian Cycle, and although I now know the ending, I am definitely intrigued enough to want to go back and read the entire series from the start. While I have liked fantasy for a good while now, all too often I find it too gory and gruesome for my liking, and while there is a fair share of fighting going on in Debra Killeen’s “Kingdom In The Balance,” a lot of it is verbal sparring of a very amusing kind.

Debra Killeen’s “Kingdom in the Balance” is a great mix of political intrigue, wonderfully imaginative fantasy world set in medieval times, powerful magic and enough cloak and dagger adventures to keep the reader’s heart racing. The very beginning of the story, with one king dead from a disease and one found murdered, as well as the prospective heir to one of those kingdoms having been abducted by villains serving the nefarious purposes of somebody wanting to usurp the throne, sets the tone for the entire story. It is entertaining, if at times somewhat convoluted, but always deeply engrossing. Some parts of the story moved a tad slow for my liking, but they eventually picked up the pace and brought the story to a fitting conclusion. 

I found Ms. Killeen’s writing style to be very engaging. The story, with a few aforementioned minor parts being a bit slow, had a good flow to it and the intrigue kept me interested throughout. The characters, if quite numerous, were clearly drawn and diverse. While it was sometimes difficult to figure out certain “connections,” I would put the blame for that on the fact that I was not familiar with the previous four volumes in this series, and not on the author herself. Overall I found this to be a well-balanced and imaginative book.

I would gladly recommend “Kingdom in the Balance” to readers of fantasy of diverse ages, with a slight footnote about some dalliances which might not be appropriate for very young readers, at least not without parental guidance. But for that, this would be a great read for any lover if intelligent fantasy.

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