Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Test of Loyalty (The Loyalty Trilogy)

Title: A Test of Loyalty

Series: The Loyalty Trilogy (Book #2)

Year: 2014

Author: Jack Lewis Baillot

Summary: Upon learning he is one of the sons of the now dead king, Prince Lachlan is forced to leave the only home he has ever known. Fleeing for his life, his step-brothers a step behind, Lachlan finds safety and friendship with a young seamstress named Magda, a hermit, an Elf, and two Dwarf brothers. Determined to keep the young prince alive, Magda and the others seek out help in the surrounding Nations.

Everywhere they go, the fugitives are constantly turned away. They are followed by Lachlan's half- brothers who are determined to kill him so that one of them might take their father's crown and become the next king. With every place Lachlan is taken, his brothers close in and when the finally catch up Lachlan is forced to face the question that has been haunting him since he left home.
Lachlan was saved in the hopes he would become a better king then his father and his brothers. But the last thing he wants is to sit on the throne. If he refuses the crown, will there be anyone willing to fight to keep him alive? (from Goodreads)

Main Characters:
~ Magda Kalmyk
~ Stefan Haulier
~ Prince Lachlan
~ Ennion
~ Golon
~ Cordon

Review: Another epic tale from Jack Lewis Baillot! Lachlan is still on the run from his brothers, yet everywhere he and his small band of companions go, they are met with danger or dismissal. No one seems to want to help the little prince, and those who do can only do so much. Safe-havens are no longer safe, and conflict is brewing much faster than anyone might have realized. Lachlan knows his half-brothers seek his life, but just how far can he run from their evil schemes? And is there someplace where he can truly be safe from them? 

Okay, did I love the first book? Yes. Did I love the second book? YES. Am I going nuts waiting for the third book in the trilogy? Double YES. This has all the flavor of Lewis or Tolkien, but in a completely new way. From what I expected from this book, Jack took all of that and threw it away. The epicness of the tale remains intact throughout the entire novel, but there was so much that jumped out at me unexpectedly. I just don't know if 5 stars do these books justice. Do I recommend this book and its predecessor? Triple yes.

A Test of Loyalty brings back all the fun characters we knew and loved in A Stretch of Loyalty. Magda -- the young seamstress; Stefan -- the one-handed hermit who is finally learning how to laugh; Ennion -- the "funnest" elf ever since Legolas; and then Golon and Cordon -- two very untypical dwarf brothers. And they are all banded together to help the little prince Lachlan. I really like the way Jack portrays her characters. They're not the best of friends (Golon and Ennion hardly ever see eye-to-eye, and that's not even because of their height difference), yet they still work together to help Lachlan. Learning to trust each other is no easy task. Humor is high, danger is around every corner, secrets are discovered, loyalties are tested (huh... now why would that sound familiar?), and it's a non-stop ride from start to finish. 

Now I realize this review must not make much sense, but I don't intend it to. I'd get too easily wrapped up in giving away all the spoilers if I tried to be sensible, so I'm just letting my fingers do the typing right now. Seriously, I've read a lot of fantasy over the years, and if there was one book/series that showcased everything I loved about that genre, it'd be this one. Dwarves, elves, journeys, hermits, jokes, adventure, swords, etc. What more could you ask for?

Advisory: Some fantasy violence (creatures, fighting, etc.), but nothing graphic.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Related reviews: A Stretch of Loyalty

*I received a free advance copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. A Test of Loyalty will be released on July 14th. Please click HERE to visit the author's website to learn more.*

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