The Forever Knight: Brutal and tragic

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsThe Forever Knight by John MarcoThe Forever Knight by John Marco

The Forever Knight is a follow-up novel that takes place after John Marco’s BOOKS OF THE BRONZE KNIGHT, but Marco does such a good job of filling in the gaps for new readers that it’s meant to be able to be read separately. If you’re interested in a kind of brutal, really tragic fantasy, then this is worth a read.

Lukien is the Forever Knight. He has betrayed his best friend and the love of his life is dead, but he can’t follow them into death because of Malator, a symbiotic spirit who has imbued him with powers, including virtual immortality. For most people eternal life would be an amazing gift, but for someone who has lost everything he held precious, it’s a curse.

Lukien is living a sort of half-life while seeking combat against dangerous monsters that infest the local environs of the city he has claimed as home. Among the people who Lukien calls friend is an orphan girl named Cricket. Her memories are lost and she longs to be able to recall who she is, where she is from and the family she might have had. Her only clue is that she’s from Akyre in the Bitter Kingdoms. Together, Lukien and Cricket set out to find a purpose to live and a hope to reclaim the memories Cricket has lost.

The Bitter Kingdoms is a miserable assortment of petty kingdoms that have fought each other for a long time. Rivalries and lingering wars mark it as something of a cesspool. Into this morass of inhumanity is where Lukien and Cricket have to go to find where she is from and to hopefully help her recover her memories.

Marco writes some very interesting characters. Some of the supporting cast is both noble as well as totally debased, but they are vibrantly depicted. Whether you like them or loathe them, I was not left feeling like they were mere cardboard cut-outs — there was plenty of depth to them.

The plot/story of The Forever Knight is not very difficult to predict. There is a quest, there are enemies, and there is a big battle. This is all very common to the genre, but what sets The Forever Knight apart is that Marco incorporates some truly gut-wrenching events — horrible, dark acts that speak of darkness and evil even when they are motivated by a completely distorted justification and rationalization by their perpetrators.

I enjoyed The Forever Knight because I could really feel Lukien’s pain. The motivation to risk everything because there is nothing left to lose really resonated from Lukien. I sympathized with him and it was fascinating to see how the rash stupid things he did made sense only because he really didn’t care if he lived or died. The dark, despicable acts that occur in The Forever Knight are part of my memory that I would like to erase. Marco doesn’t dwell on them overly long, but they are horrible. This is a book for those who like their protagonists rough and their stories grim.

Release date: April 2, 2013 | Series: Books of the Bronze Knight. 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?

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JOHN HULET (on FanLit's staff July 2007 -- March 2015) is a member of the Utah Army National Guard. John’s experiences have often left a great void that has been filled by countless hours spent between the pages of a book lost in the words and images of the authors he admires. During a 12 month tour of Iraq, he spent well over $1000 on books and found sanity in the process. John lives in Utah and works slavishly to prepare soldiers to serve their country with the honor and distinction that Sturm Brightblade or Arithon s’Ffalenn would be proud of. John retired from FanLit in March 2015 after being with us for nearly 8 years.

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