We all know I love a good fantasy book. The Return of the Knights is a book that was kindly sent to me by Kontaxis himself quite some months ago. The book focuses on our main protagonist Elliot who takes on the task of essentially attempting to slow down and possibly even stop the conquering of Knightdorn by Walter, a tyrant king who is looking to slowly sweep across the land and rule it all. But Elliot is more resilient and talented than his younger years may suggest.
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The Return of the Knights is epic fantasy in almost every sense of word – it has mythical creatures, kings and queens, vast sweeping lands, politics, knights riding horses, swords and everything else you think of in you typical fantasy stories. Therefore, what does The Return of the Knights do to stand out from the rest of the crowd? Is it worth your time or does it just feel like something you’ve read before?
The Return of the Knights plot – 4.25/5
As I briefly laid out above, the general plot of The Return of the Knights is that our main protagonist hatches a plan with the support of Sophie Delamere, Queen of Knightdorn to draw Walter, one of the most ruthless leaders of all time away from Iovbridge and face him in in Wirksworth.
I’ll be honest, when I first started reading the book, I thought it all felt a little unbelievable (says the guy reading fantasy). Elliot is written as an incredibly young man which everybody comments on and so when he comes out with these grand plans and incredible talent with a sword, I found myself finding it hard to immerse myself. However, as Elliot grows throughout the novel and continues to prove his intelligence and talent and even makes mistakes, you begin to ignore his age.
The plot itself throws you straight in the first chapter and then rapidly slows down and meanders for a bit whilst they talk about plans and then begin to put them into action. However, the pace then picks up again as we’re introduced to lots of other characters, places, creatures and cultures.
My absolute favourite thing about The Return of the Knights was the world-building. You can easily describe a backstory and expand a world by just dumping paragraphs of text about such, but to be able to build the world via character conversations is much more difficult – however, Kontaxis manages to do that here.
Not only does this make it feel far more engaging but you also realise you’re learning more about the history of the world, characters’ previous actions and the lands without even realising you are. It’s fantastic.
The Return of the Knights characters – 4/5
As I mentioned above, Elliot is our main protagonist and at the start of the book, I wasn’t sure if I was that much of a fan of him. He seemed incredibly arrogant and unlikeable as a result. He would walk into almost any situation and immediately think he was the smartest and the best fighter and frustratingly he was.
However, as the book progresses, he begins to relax a bit as he speaks with other people. He begins to open up, show other emotions and even admit and show weaknesses which meant I actually ended up liking him much more than I thought I would.
Other characters also fill you with joy throughout the book. We have the “grumpy but loveable” characters, we have the “evil but sees good” characters and we have the “scared but shows bravery” character too. This all results in a group of people who you find yourself vouching for and wanting to read the conversations of.
I hope the sequel continues on with these stories and these characters and shows us further sides to them as we grow more fond of them.
The Return of the Knights final rating – 4.25/5
The Return of the Knights starts off a little questionable but eventually finds its rhythm and becomes a fantastic debut epic fantasy novel from Gregory Kontaxis. It has epic battles, politics, mythical creatures, likeable characters and a plot that will keep you reading to find out what happens. Its strongest element though is its world-building which develops so naturally that at times you don’t even realise you’re learning anything more. I know there’s a prequel novella coming out which I’m keen to read and find out more about this world. The Return of the Knights is a strong recommend for any fantasy fans!