Review: Defiant Revival by L. Rockwood

To free the kingdom from the depravity of Cardinal Aldrious, Prince Micah Helvendeere must take his rightful place as ruler.

Unfortunately, the prince has been dead for a year.

Billiam Grimhart, former page to the prince, knows Micah’s assumption of the throne is the last chance to purge Casperland of the cardinal’s corruption. And for that to happen, the prince must be revived. Only one person stands a chance of achieving the nearly impossible: exiled enchantress Shemmy DuBois, a raunchy bog witch with an affinity for corpses and a heart of gold. Billiam sets out to coax Shemmy to their cause, despite what wading through piles of bodies will do to his favorite shoes.

If he can accomplish it, Billiam might finally get to consummate his love for the prince—something Shemmy is keen to witness. But first, they’ll need to steal Micah’s body, brave a land inhabited by vicious faeries, and accept the help of accomplices as vile and perverse as their enemies. They might be far from typical heroes, but sometimes those are the only people who can get the job done.

If you like dark and edgy high-concept fantasy that’s not for those with delicate sensibilities, join Billiam, Shemmy, and their Faelock allies as they stage their revolution.

Narrated by Leke who is Billiam’s sister, the POV can be somewhat difficult as it appears to mostly be First person omniscient. It took a little while for me to get used to this type of POV as it isn’t the usual path taken by most authors I’ve read, and even those I have, didn’t successfully pull it off in this way. I will say that once the characters are explained a little more, and understanding the unique nature of Leke, it is easier to grasp the reason for this type of narration.

This is at times, hilariously fun, rough cut, raw, gorey, unique story. It is historical fantasy with different species, lots of intermingling, and really weird family dynamics. Shemmy is by far my favourite and that she was introduced in the beginning of the book made an impression and kept me engaged. The friendship between Shemmy and Billiam is a lot of fun. Shemmy is completely inappropriate but fiercely loyal. I loved their dynamic, and found that the quick wit and banter between them brought the entertainment value up for me.

Her reactions toward Zan on behalf of Billiam was refreshing and made me love her more. Crazy as she is, the story was better for her being there.

Billiam and Micah are ridiculous and adorable together, and somewhat creepy. I liked Micah’s playful antics. His reanimation doesn’t go exactly to plan, and he appears to be somewhat insane, but it fits in with the story.

There is a lot going on, and it can feel a little overwhelming. Don’t be afraid to re-read to grasp the connections in the story. There is a fair bit of violence, some creepy stuff (Shemmy is a necromancer so that should give you an idea of the creep factor), some political turmoil, and other content warnings that I believe Dreamspinner have already taken care of.

While I enjoyed this story, I was slowed down by the extensive character cast, and the flipping between people during the quest. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing for people who enjoy a larger cast. While the main storyline is about Billiam and Micah, or rather, Billiam’s quest to reanimate Micah and get him back his kingdom (and be with him), it was a bit difficult for me to follow all the characters and their relationships to each other in the beginning.

The plot stayed on point though, and I had no trouble following the journey, or the pit stops along the way. I was intrigued by the different elements, hierarchy, and political landscape of this entire world, along with the somewhat convoluted relationships, and weird mashup of feelings. I did find a few parts that dragged, and some parts quite outrageous, but overall the story was entertaining. The writing style may not be for everyone but I think it is worth a try.

Decent story development and some solid worldbuilding, I would recommend this for those who enjoy high action, Blackadder type comedy with crazy adventures and even crazier characters.

Warning: This story ends on a cliffhanger.

A review copy was provided for an honest opinion

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