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Reviews for The Skeleton King - Book 3 of the Silk & Steel Saga

5 stars - Best fantasy in ages!! What a treat!! Highly recommended!!
July 11, 2012, posted on Barnes&Noble by Rhazzel
This is the third book of the series (Steel Queen, Flame Priest) and, WOW...if just keeps getting better and better. It is so refreshing to read such a compelling, imaginative, and well-written fantasy story. In The Skeleton King, the adventure intensifies with unexpected plot twists, courageous heroes, cunning evil, and heart-rending losses. A great 5-star read!!

5 stars - My Favorite Kind of Fantasy
August 5, 2013 - posted on Amazon by Erika (United States)  (REAL NAME)  
Karen does a great job with balancing the sense of horror, loss and sorrow with hope, fulfillment and joy. While this book is pretty darn dark it does a great job of filling the reader anticipation. While it's not my favorite in this series it serves it's dark purpose. I really like the mounting tension and foreshadowing. It's a great read.

5 stars - Loved the series
March 20, 2013 - posted on Amazon by patsy 
Have written previous reviews on the series this particular book was as enjoyable as all the rest waiting for the next in the series to be published can't wait to get into it

4 stars ... and the plot focuses...
Oct 29, 2012, posted on Barnes&Noble by Anonymous
Ever since Karen introduced us to her world there was the inevetible comparison to Mr. Martins epic. Well no longer. Taking nothing away from that acknowledged master, in The Skeleton King, Ms Azinger has succeeded in excelling in her own right and in leading us into NEW paths that really strengthen the rationale behind the characters. By focusing the story here she has made this GNOME very happy!

5 stars - Fantastic entertainment!
June 12, 2012, posted on Amazon by "Seregil of Rhiminee" (Finland)
Karen Azinger's The Silk & Steel Saga is one of the most entertaining fantasy series I've read and it's one of the best new fantasy series, because it's an interesting and well written series, which is full of surprises. I have to confess that this series has reminded me why I read epic fantasy and why I like it so much, because I had almost forgotten how rewarding it is to read good and entertaining epic fantasy.

The Skeleton King wonderfully and satisfyingly continues the story, which started in The Steel Queen and then continued in The Flame Priest. It's a perfect sequel to the previous books and it won't disappoint fans of The Silk & Steel Saga.

Before I write anything else, here's a bit of information about what happened in the previous book (The Flame Priest):

Liandra faced the threat of the Red Horns. Kath and her companions went to Deep Green and asked help from the Children of the Green. Kath met her father in Castlegard and was treated almost like a prisoner. She escaped from Castlegard so that she could do what she has to do. Kath and her companions traveled to Cragnoth Keep. Samson and Justin tried to find a way to get rid of the religion of the Flame God. Samson made a big sacrifice. Duncan's secret was revealed to Kath and her companions. Steffan created an army and wanted to set it free. The Priestess got new responsibilities from the Dark Lord. The Mordant sowed mistrust and hate across the realm and made him way toward the north.

And here's a bit information about The Skeleton King:

War threatens the kingdoms of Erdhe. The Mordant continues to do evil in the monk's (Bryce) body and the monk's soul suffers. He enters into his domain and faces the Trials of Return, which will make him the ruler of the Dark Citadel and give him the right to sit on the Ebony Throne. The Knight Marshal and the king go to investigate what happened at Cragnoth Keep. The king still refuses to believe her daughter. The king starts to prepare for the forthcoming battles and war. Kath and her companions continue their journey beyond the Dragon Spine Mountains and face problems on the steppes...

That's all I'll write about the plot of The Skeleton King, because I don't want to reveal the whole plot in this review (it would be unfair to write spoilers).

Unlike the previous books, this time the events take place in the northern part of Erdhe. I think it's great that the author has chosen to write about Kath (and her companions), the Knights of the Octagon and the Mordant. In the previous books the events took place all over the Erdhe, but in this book the author concentrates on writing about what happens in the northern part of Erdhe and in the Dark Citadel. In my opinion this is a good thing, because it gives the author a chance to develop the characters and advance the plot.

Karen Author has develop a lot as an author, which is good. I noticed this development in the previous book, but now it's easier to see how much she has developed, because she has written a highly entertaining fantasy book about the battle between good and evil.

Now that I've read The Steel Queen, The Flame Priest and The Skeleton King, it's easy for me to notice how small and insignificant things come to mean a lot as the story goes on (the author has created a good and interesting story arc). When I began to read The Skeleton King, I instantly liked the new plot twists and I enjoyed reading about the characters and their new adventures, because Karen Azinger has a talent for surprising her readers. I like this kind of storytelling, because it shows that the author loves fantasy and wants her readers to fully immerse themselves in the story (the author clearly wants to entertain her readers). I'm sure that when you read this book, you'll notice that Karen Azinger has written it with passion and she has a talent for writing complex stories.

Karen Azinger has her own writing style, which differs nicely from other authors' writing styles. Her prose is descriptive and nuanced. I like the way she writes about her characters, the conversations and the happenings. The conversations between the Mordant and the captured soul of Bryce are very interesting, because the Mordant tries to make Bryce understand that he's a prisoner and there's no escape (I enjoyed reading about these conversations).

Each character is believable and has his/her own problems and feelings. Strong female characters are seldom seen in epic fantasy literature, but in this series the women are strong. Although they're stong, they can also be vulnerable and they have to make difficult decisions (Kath has lots of things to consider and she faces different kinds of problems). The Mordant is an interesting character, because he's viciously evil and the author explores several things from his point of view. The Mordant is without a doubt one of the most interesting and colorfully depicted villains I've read about. I also enjoyed reading about the Knight Marshal, the king and the Knights of the Octagon, because the author writes exceptionally well about them and their lives.

Karen Azinger writes engagingly about magic and magical things. I've always loved reading about magic, so this book offered me lots of enjoyment. It was thrilling to read about the characters' abilities etc and also about the unnatural abominations, which the Mordant has created. I enjoyed reading about Danya's Beastmaster magic, which is a rare form of magic, because there aren't many authors who write about this kind of magic. The twisted soul magic of the Mordant was also worth reading about, because soul magic is dark magic. I'll also mention that the focuses are interesting magical items (a focus gives its user an ability to use certain kind of magic) and it was fun to read about them.

The author has a way of writing vividly about the battles and fight scenes. For example, when you read about what happens on the vast steppes, you'll notice how fluently the author makes the surroundings come to life and how easily she describes what the characters feel when they fight against their enemies.

The worldbuilding is just as good as it was in the two previous books. The author has created a huge fantasy world and there are fascinating places in the northern part of Erdhe. It was nice to read about the steppes and the Dark Citadel, because Karen Azinger writes about them in a fascinating way. She gave her readers a chance to read about the Dark Citadel in a short story called The Assassin's Tear (this story can be found in the short story collection The Assassin's Tear), but now she reveals more things about the Citadel. I think that several readers will enjoy reading about the Dark Citadel and its dark wonders and horrors.

The author has a wonderful way of writing about duty, destiny, honour, friendship and treason, and all things related to them. She also writes fluently romantic things and love. For example, the scenes where Kath and Duncan are close to each other are perfect (it's also nice to read about Blaine's feelings toward Danya). The author can also write convincingly about brutal happening. For example, the scenes where the Mordant demonstrates his powers are simply fantastic, because the author writes fascinatingly about the Mordant's evil and sadistic nature. The sexual arousal of the Mordant during some of the scenes is handled exceptionally well, because he inhabits Bryce's body and can use the body in every possible way.

The Skeleton King is a traditional fantasy book, but it's also a delightfully modern fantasy book. I think that fans of The Silk & Steel Saga have noticed that the author combines fluently traditional fantasy storytelling, violence, brutality, romance and sexuality - this combination makes this book a modern fantasy book.

When I finished reading this book, the first words that came to my mind were: "Wow! What a book!". I liked the first two books very much, but I have to say that The Skeleton King is a damn good fantasy book and it's even better and more entertaining than the previous books. It seems that this series just keeps on getting better and better with each new book, because the author keeps the story flowing and takes time to develop the characters. I can hardly wait to read what happens in the fourth book, The Poison Priestess.

The Skeleton King is an exciting, fresh, brutal and addictive fantasy book, which offers lots of entertainment and surprises for fans of epic fantasy literature. If you like entertaining epic fantasy, I'm sure that you'll like this book.

This book is excellent and fantastic entertainment! 

5 stars - As good as the first 2 books in the series
May 14, 2012, posted on Amazon by KindleQueen (Charleston, SC)
Not much else to say. If you enjoyed the first 2 books, you will enjoy this one as well.Can't wait for the next. One of my favorite series. 

5 stars - Simply Amazing
September 27, 2012, posted on Amazon by JKemhus
I have loved the Silk and Steel saga so far. The Skeleton King is my new favorite out of the 3 books. Each book keeps getting better and better.
The Skeleton King is fast and hits with a bang from the beginning on to the end. Surprises left and right. Karen really draws you into the Characters of this book. She evokes the feelings and emotions of the reader in this book, wrapping you up into the story. The daunting tasks and journeys that they go through really were page turners!
The personalities really take off and evolve during this book.
Love love love!!! 

5 stars - Bring On Number Four!
August 22, 2012, posted on Amazon by Lydia M. Dobranski "The Travel Queen" (Bend, OR USA)
The third in the series "The Silk and Steel Saga", was as expected... Excellent! New charactors, new story lines, continued charactors, continued story lines. I can't recommend this book (and this series) enough! 

5 stars - Can't Wait for the Next Book!
August 22, 2012, posted on Amazon by angstprone
Each book in the series is as good as the one before. I've read plenty of books where I was disappointed after reading the next book in a series. This is NOT the case here. Each is able to stand on its own, even while continuing the saga. Very impressive! 

5 stars -They just keep getting more exciting!
July 26, 2012, posted on Amazon by Ronna K. Rothenberger "ronnakay" (Portland, OR)
I can barely contain my enthusiasm when it comes to this third book in Karen Azinger's Silk and Steel Saga. While I loved the first two books in this one I was even more immersed, even more in love with the characters. Kath has matured into one of the best female characters I have read since falling in love with Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series! I am completely HOOKED. Very much looking forward to the next installment! 

5 stars - Heart Pounding Adventure!
July 7, 2012, posted on Amazon by Ruthie A. Pfueller "wyer222" (Corsicana, Texas United States)
Each book in this series takes you deeper into the adventure that is sure to come to a climatic finish. The excitement builds as the characters discover each day more about themselves, their alliance with each other, their alliance with family members, and the mechanisms of the enemy they struggle to defeat. Deceit, treachery, misgivings, mourning, pride, and fear all boil in the pot to steer the direction of those who depend on each other to fight the foe. Kath and her odd assortment of companions must depend on an outcast and misunderstood group of seemingly primal people to help them defeat their common enemy. Trust has to be earned, and loyalty has to be proven. The Mordant uses the very nature of humans against them to control them, and understanding that nature and how so many became beaten down submissive captives helps our Kath to stir the uprising kindled by Duncan into a crescendo that will overcome the fear and degradation the masses have suffered. But how will she overcome her personal losses? How will they combat the prejudices of their time, both against people who are different and the roles of gender? How will the unity needed to defeat the foe be wrought in the midst of so much diversity? How indeed. I guess we will have to wait and see. I urge Ms. Azinger to publish the next installment and whet my appetite for this adventure! 

4 stars - The third book in an exciting series!
August 9, 2012, posted on Amazon by M. Wanchoo
OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: This is the third book in the Silk and Steel saga by Karen Azinger, The first two books showcased a high fantasy world and a large cast of characters that have filled the pages so far. At the end of the second book, unrest and evil have spread to almost every corner of the lands of Erdhe. This book opens with war threatening to erupt in several kingdoms of Erdhe. The action now focuses on the northern part of the country shown on the map, and is symbolic as the start of the saga originated from there as well.

In this book, Kath the Imp and her group are travelling to a region, which is not only dangerous but also has been known to be quite morbid. The Mordant has taken a new soul for his entertainment and his plans to bring pain and suffering further bear fruition. The plot features Kath, the Knight Marshal and the Mordant for a majority of the tale and this pretty much gives the reader an indication of the events in the book.

The book again showcases Karen Azinger's strengths, which is a fast paced storyline, plot twists and characterization. The story of course is a grim one and the author doesn't shy away from the violence or dark nature of the events. The author has been hinting at certain things in the past two books and it's in this middle volume of the series that many character and plot arcs are finally being revealed to the reader. This highlights some serious plotting on the author's part and kudos to her on it. The characterization is top notch as ever as this time we get more than an intense look into the mind of the Mordant who is as evil as they come but fascinating and equally gruesome to read about. The author has to be lauded for not making him a two-dimensional villain.

The Skeleton King's biggest fallacy is its predictability and its inability to separate itself from its genre setting. The predictability factor comes in the direction of the story, which for most fantasy fans is not hard to guess and therefore does not hold anything new for them. Most fantasy stories always have some of the genre's underpinnings but every author tries their best to give the plot his/her own twist. This however doesn't work quite so well in this case as the storyline while exciting doesn't gain much points for originality.

The Skeleton King is a good book and it's a good continuation of the Silk and Steel saga. For fans of the previous two books, this is a terrific third volume and they will definitely enjoy its plot and scope. For general fantasy fans, this might not be the place to start, begin with the Steel Queen to enjoy a high classical fantasy quest book. 

4 stars - Skeleton King
September 6, 2012, posted on Amazon by Robin
I love this series and am having trouble waiting for the next book.
The author's understanding of governing policies and politics, so
parallel our times - deceive, divide, conquer - it's a hoot.
There's romance, action, good vs evil, death, and magic - what's not to like?