Monday, August 8, 2016

Kings or Pawns (Steps of Power: The Kings Book 1) by JJ Sherwood [4.5 stars]

From the Description

The first book in JJ Sherwood's Steps of Power epic fantasy series. The Kings, Book I: Kings or Pawns is a political intrigue that spirals into an action and adventure series as the final events unfold.

8,994 P.E.
The elven city of Elvorium has become corrupted to the core by politics. With his father dead and The Royal Schism at his back, Prince Hairem becomes the king of the elven world on Sevrigel. Young and daring, Hairem is determined to undo the council’s power, but quickly finds his loyal council members brutally murdered by an assassin loosed within the city.

As corruption and death threaten to tear the city apart from within, the warlord Saebellus threatens the city from without, laying siege to Sevrigel’s eastern capital. With the elven world crumbling around him, Hairem finds himself in a dangerous political balance between peace and all out war

Publication Date: October 1, 2015

Publisher: Silver Helm

Publication Length: 385 pages

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this novel. To find out more about Kings or Pawns or JJ Sherwood or just for more fun and giveaways follow along with the blog tour over at

I mostly read and review horror or thrillers here at Horror Maiden's but when I was contacted about a review for the Kings or Pawns blog tour the description sounded really good so I decided to give it a shot. I am so glad I did! Kings or Pawns is the first book in an epic fantasy series. Filled with fantastic locations, creatures and characters this book captured my imagination right away. The landscape reminded me of a mix of two of my favorite games (Skyrim & Dragon Age: Inquisition) with impenetrable walled cities, lush forests, swamps, frozen tundra, and hidden tunnels. I loved the witty dialogue and relationships of the main characters. I think that my favorites were Hairem, Alvena, Jikun, Navon, Kaivervi, Erallus, and Sellemar. This book is an exciting adventure, filled with dangerous enemies, epic battles and enough twists and turns you're not sure what will happen next. I can't wait to get my hands on book two of this series! A highly recommended 4.5 star read.

Buy the Book

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About the Author
On a cold winter night, wind howling into the desert sky, one ordinary hospital gave witness to a historic event. JJ Sherwood was born at 2:30 a.m. on December 31st, just barely managing to squeeze in to supplant New Year’s Eve. JJ has always had a flair for the dramatics.

Sherwood began writing in the womb after a harrowing incident in which Mother Sherwood swallowed a penand thus, destiny was born. JJ’s first work was completed by the age of 5: a riveting tale of a duck attempting to climb into an apartment during the pouring rain. Unfortunately this book is not in print, but it served as the first spark that spurred on a lifetime of creativity.

Much of JJ’s childhood was spent tearing through the woods, playing out fantasy worlds, and tying Barbie to the roof so that the Power Rangers might rescue her. Middle and high school carried on this roleplaying, while college encompassed creating and refining over 250 characters in the world of Aersadore.

After escaping college, finally armed with the tools of the trade and a lifetime of development, JJ set to writing what would become the Steps of Power series: it was then that Eraydon slew his first dragon, Jikun battled the warlord Saebellus, and Taranus rebelled against his brother’s throne.

When not orchestrating the lives and deaths of the people of Aersadore, JJ’s hobbies include drawing, video gaming, wearing a bathrobe, and eating too many baked potatoes. JJ Sherwood lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with one loving and extremely patient spouse, a bearded dragon, a monk parakeet, and four cats who look far too similar.

Praise for Kings or Pawns

This is world building (and character development) at its finest. -- Pure Jonel

I'm a big fantasy fan and as such I find it's rare to see a world of elves that's new and refreshing. -- Drako's Den

[...]you are completely invested in the story as a political thriller before it becomes an action adventure story. Calling it epic fantasy almost seems like an understatement. -- The All Night Library

Enter the giveaway to win signed hardcover copies of the Steps of Power series Kings or Pawns and Heroes or Thieves and some epic fantasy swag!