"King of Chaos" by Dave Gross.
From the back of the book:
"After a century of imprisonment, demons have broken free of the wardstones surrounding the Worldwound. As fiends flood south into civilized lands, Count Varian Jeggare and his hellspawn bodyguard Radovan must search through the ruins of a fallen nation for the blasphemous text that opened the gate to the Abyss in the first place - and which might hold the key to closing it. In order to succeed, however, the heroes will need to join forces with pious crusaders, barbaric local warriors, and even one of the legendary god callers. It's a race against time as the companions fight their way across a broken land, facing off against fiends, monsters, and a vampire intent on becoming the god of blood - but will unearthing the dangerous book save the world, or destroy it completely?"
Well, two of my favorite Pathfinder characters, Count Varian Jeggare and Radovan are back, and this time their latest adventure is set in Wrath of the Righteous adventure path setting. Since I do not actually play the RPG, and haven't gotten to play it (as of writing this) in the Pathfinder ACG either, I was not all that informed on the setting outside the whole crusader/paladin/demon concept.
In a lot ways, it almost felt like a continuation of some the events of "Queen of Thorns" since a lot of that novel also dealt with demons and fiends in the realm of the elves. It's also starting to feel like the reader would definitely benefit by reading the past novels, which may be a negative to some. Having read all the previous novels, I noticed a lot of references to events of the past novels, and it's starting to feel like while not 100% necessary, you'd lose a bit of the impact by NOT reading the other stories first. A perfect example was one of the early scenes that referenced the events in "Prince of Wolves", and if you did not read that book, you totally would not have noticed. Little things like that were scattered everywhere in the book.
I was also happy to see one my favorite side characters from "Queen of Thorns" make another appearance, as well as a couple of new supporting characters were introduced that I really took a liking to as well! The relationship between Varian and Radovan definitely feels like it has been progressing into something a lot less formal with each new book, and it's kind if cool to be able to look back and see that progression.
One of the downsides I did noticed was in how the characters ended up converging together in the story, I would have liked to have seen a extra chapter or so for each character or "party" (for lack of better term) to fully flesh out a few things, to make the actual meet up feel a bit more purposeful, and not just blind luck. (I mentioned something similar happening in "Master of Devils" as well).
Also, as with a lot of the other novels, both the main character's progressed a bit as far new revelations and experiences go. I've really enjoyed Radovan's progression, especially in "Master if Devils" and "Queen of Thorns", and "King of Chaos" throws another interesting loop onto Radovan that will be interesting to see how it plays out in future stories. Likewise, there is a large new revelation for Varian as well, that will also be interesting to see how it plays out in the future. That said, it did seem like a bit of the "combat training" both received in "Master of Devils" seems to have fallen a bit to the wayside, which as a martial artist myself, was a bit of a bummer.
All in all, I really enjoyed the overall story. It was a fun adventure, and the stories just keep getting better and better. I mentioned last time, that "Queen of Thorns" is the Pathfinder novel that is setting the bar for me to compare all other Pathfinder novels to, and this one is no exception! Just as with "Queen of Thorns", "King of Chaos" definitely delivers. If you have read the other novels, you won't be disappointed with this one, especially with some of the new revelations that have come along the way in this one. In that regards, I'd say it's pretty on par with "Queen" but I have to give "Queen" a bit of the edge just because I found the elves, and the elven kingdom so interesting. If elves are not your thing, but crusaders/pallies/demons are, the "King of Chaos" will definitely be a winner for you. This leaves me really excited for the next installment, "Lord of Runes".
Until next time, may Desna smile upon you...