The legend of Tal Harrenfel lives on, and a new song spreads across the Westreach. But as a devil inhabits Garin and old enemies and old flames haunt Tal, their victory promises to be short-lived…
Tal, Garin, and their companions survived the traps of one Extinguished at great cost, but their troubles have only begun. Garin having learned why Tal took him under his wing, the secret has broken them apart, even as circumstance and need force them to travel together. The roads to the elven realm of Gladelyl, once the safest in the Westreach, are rife with danger. And Tal is bound to the commands of the Elf Queen he cannot trust.
Upon reaching Elendol, the capital of Gladelyl, they find their troubles go further. With the gates to the East open, Elendol is in turmoil. The nobles strive for greater power, while the underclass and Eastern immigrants seek new rights. And all the while, an ancient enemy strives to turn them all against each other…
Now Garin must come to terms with his devil, and Tal with his challenges both past and present, before civil war tears Elendol apart…
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You’re a fool, Tal Harrenfel, he told himself. But then again, I’ve always known – a fool can do what a wise man never could.
War brews as the tendrils of an awaiting evil begin to slither into all corners of The Westreach in J.D.L. Rosell’s A Queens Command, book two in the epic Legend of Tal series. A tale of duty, courage, and the power of forgiveness, readers journey into new lands under the guise of seeking knowledge, but are quickly embroiled in a plot to tear a kingdom asunder from deep within. This is a story that explores the haunting concept of “what if”, ultimately urging that the past lies in the past. And while anger and guilt may be a heavy burden to bear, one must endure and continue on the path forward in order to properly heal. Filled with charismatic characters to love and hate, beautifully realized settings, and an ample amount of intrigue, A Queen’s Command is a gripping and deserving follow-up novel to Rosell’s debut, A King’s Bargain.
At the core of this story lies a sprawling cast of all walks of life – human, elf, and everything in between. We encounter many familiar faces, as well as a generous amount of new ones, each fighting their own demons in their own way, and each battling the tides of fate. Whether you’re peering through the eyes of a reluctant hero hiding his guilt behind a facade of false smiles, or a young, powerful boy and fount of barely-restrained rage, readers witness this tale unfurl from all angles. Much like book one, the narrative revolves around Tal and Garin and the consequences of their actions. Immediately following the events of A King’s Bargain, their adventure takes them to Elendol, whether by obligation or desperation, and a rift continues to grow between the two after some shocking secrets come to light. Rosell beautifully captures the heartache and melancholy that accompanies the conflict, and smartly utilizes the inclusion of additional characters to both evolve and dive deeper into the tale being told.
This book also gives insight into the pasts of several beloved characters that we’ve already been acquainted with. I won’t say too much here, because these discoveries answer the burning questions that arise in the previous installment. Just know the breadcrumbs that have been placed along our path lead to what we seek; the monikers and the tales they’re weaved upon, the truth behind the legend, the bits and pieces that come together to craft the grand scheme.
He felt as if he leaned over a precipice, toes scraping pebbles into an endless chasm below, the winds of fate kissing his face, urging him to leap.
The majority of this tale takes place in the Kingdom of Elendol, home of the proud Gladelysh elves. Rosell’s portrayal of this area is awe-inspiring, delivering you into an alien world with such beautiful detail. Noble houses built into and composed of gargantuan trees, a canopy so dense sunlight fails to penetrate, gloom lifted by twinkling sorcerous lights, and so much more. Far below high society lies the Mire, the murky slums that house those of lesser blood, as well as an influx of Eastern foreigners seeking refuge. Crime and danger lurk around shadowed corners, while scheming occurs in deserted alley ways. The kingdom is rich with history and customs, even more so with political unrest that acts as the backbone for the conflict of this intriguing adventure. There’s something magical about Elendol, its roots steeped deep in the past and its soaring branches reaching into a new future of progress. I adored my time here, and I only hope to revisit it in the future.
A Queen’s Command is indeed a mystery laced with uncertainty and machination. Its slow build introduces pieces of the puzzle and allows time for readers to properly arrange them before being heaved into an explosive conclusion. The narrative does suffer some pacing issues, especially towards the middle of the book, caused by just a bit too much fluff to explain histories that may or may not have bearing on the story at hand. However, the race to the finish is extraordinary, the honorable fight for a common cause a stunning display of courage and loyalty. I always evaluate a book on the emotions it’s able to induce, and judging by the hitched breaths and heart swelling with the incredible feeling of victory, this is one that’s absolutely capable of drawing in its readers in the best of ways.
A Queen’s Command is a spellbinding story of second chances within grasp where the hope of redemption trumps the darkness. The particular story arc within its pages ties up nicely, but paves the way for a new, harrowing adventure that awaits. We’re left with the forming of a new fellowship, a legend in the making that will be sung about for time immemorial, I’m sure. I’ve become a huge fan of Rosell’s Legend of Tal series, and while I know it will eventually conclude, I honestly don’t want it to end. If you’re looking for an excellent Epic High Fantasy tale, then I thoroughly recommend you give this series a shot. I can’t wait for the next.
NOTE: A huge thank you to the author for a complementary advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
J.D.L. Rosell is the author of more than seven books, including the dark epic fantasy series The Famine Cycle, the fast-paced LitRPG/Gamelit series The Everlands, and the sword-and-sorcery series Legend of Tal. He also writes some serialized books, including the Nordic epic fantasy The Frozen Throne, which has over 100k views on Wattpad.
Previously, J.D.L. Rosell earned an MA in creative writing and has written as a ghostwriter. Always drawn to the outdoors, he gets out into nature whenever he can and indulges in his hobbies of hiking and photography. But most of the time, he can be found curled up with a good book at home with his fiancée and two cats, Zelda and Abenthy.