Chris Bunch – The Demon King

Often it is said about sequels to the first book of a trilogy that they are weaker because they have connect the beginning and the end. This is not so the case for the Seer King Trilogy by Chris Bunch. In book two, The Demon King (1998), he easily circumvents the problem by not picking up the story immediately after the events of book one, but making a jump in time, about eight years later. This way the story is more independent and he also avoids having to write much about less interesting things.

One thing that Chris Bunch didn’t change was the first person point-of-view. In my review of the first book I stated it was a bad choice to do so and certainly in about the first half of the book this remains a weakness. Although I assume Bunch thought so otherwise, this part of the story is also the weakest of the book, adding little to what seems the actual story and filled up with too many sex scenes (another complaint also in the first book). It’s not that I mind sex scenes, but they should not be extended or rather repetitive.

Surprisingly it is when the main character gets to be on his own (without his women or characters who bother him) he starts to become more interesting. The point-of-view nuissance fairly disappeared and the story became a much better read. But alas this is not to be and from the second half to about the last third he loses his independence and the story weakens again. Regained independence in the last part turns the story for the better again leading to a more surprising ending.

Except for a few twists the main story follows a rather predictable course. The movement of time is sometimes so fast that the narrator is moving his story in a rather unpersonal way, while in my personal taste a focus on important and more extended scenes would have proved more fertile. As I expected the story ends where book one began. It is rather clear how the trilogy will end but still it’s the journey that will have to entertain.

There is some character development, but as told above the story moves as bit too fast to allow for extended scenes for the characters to deepen themselves. However, we do get a bigger taste of the side characters who come alive a bit more.

Overall The Demon King is an improvement to The Seer King. There are still quite some weaknesses but there were some parts I quite enjoyed instead of the story just being a decent read. As the narrative will lose the prospective view (the narrator mentioning things to come as a comment to events he’s telling about) as the story has come to the beginning of book one, I hope there will be further improvement in the final book.

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