So, I mentioned this series the other day, not by name. Let me mention it by name now.
The first book is The King’s Sword. I read that late last year and liked it quite a bit. It was part of the Noblebright bundle, which is the only story bundle I’ve tried where I liked more than half the novels included. I have made more than one good discovery via bundles which otherwise I would have missed, though, so maybe I should try some more bundles.
Now, I remember clearly saying at some point that I would enjoy slice-of-life fantasy where not much exciting really happens. It turns out this is sometimes true (In Arcadia) but sometimes not so true. In A Cold Wind, I sometimes felt that not enough was happening. Also, many times during the veeeery show development of Kemen’s relationship with Ria, I wanted to shake Kemen and shout, JUST PROPOSE ALREADY. I liked the book okay; it was a pleasant reading experience; but I did not rush out super fast to buy the third book.
On the other hand, I did buy the third book, and I wound up liking it quite a bit. Kemen’s got his life with Ria in order at last, thank heaven. What we have now is a secondary character from the second book, brought front-and-center as a point-of-view protagonist. This is Elathlo, a boy of the Tarvil people, who were raiding and generally being a nuisance in the first couple of books. Now Elathlo’s grandfather has given him to Kemen to train as an apprentice and basically to “teach him to be a man.”
It turns out I liked this set up a lot. I liked Elathlo, I liked Kemen, I liked the training-the-apprentice scenes (I generally do like those kinds of scenes), I liked the development of Elathlo’s character and the implicit promise that he would eventually grow into the sort of leader his benighted people need.
I particularly liked how Elathlo was so certain Kemen would eventually loose patience and kill him. That conviction should probably have worn off a bit faster, as evidence piled up and up and up that Kemen would never do anything like that. But in some ways Elathlo is a rather young fourteen-year-old, and his own people are pretty brutal.
So this book turned out to be my favorite of the trilogy, plus it’s the story that sparked the basic idea that led to my just writing 108 pages in nine days. Things I kept: the basic idea of a young(ish) character from one society thrown abruptly into another society, completely at the mercy of a much more powerful character from that society. What I also kept, because of course I did: both characters are fundamentally decent people. What I changed: absolutely everything else.
Oh, wait, the protagonist is also from a cold country. And I’m telling my story in first person, which is the same as the Erdemen books. That’s a departure for me, but I’ve been trying out first person from time to time recently, you just haven’t seen the results of those experiments yet.
Other than that, yeah, everything else got changed.
Nevertheless, Honor’s Heir would not have given me a push to write this other thing of my own if it hadn’t been quite catchy and stayed in my head after I finished it and given me things I wanted to play with.