These three books are loosely linked as “The Tales of the Kingdom.” Somewhere along the line, I picked up Jackaroo at a library discard sale. I remember reading it in high school and liking it and not thinking much more of it. Then, a year or so ago I stumbled across On Fortune’s Wheel at the Salvation Army for a dime. Goodreads revealed that The Wings of a Falcon rounded off the trilogy, so I went ahead and ordered it used on eBay for a couple of dollars.
I enjoyed my reread of Jackaroo. It’s a decent story set in a kingdom far, far away and centers around Gwyn, the daughter of an innkeeper. The Kingdom is ruled by the king, and two earls under him, and lords under the earls. The common folk pay their taxes and struggle to make a living, something more difficult due to a famine over the last couple of years. Gwyn and her family have it better than most; there is always business for the inn, and her father is a shrewd businessman.
This isn’t exactly a fast-paced story, but it unwinds at a comfortable pace. Gwyn is a likable character (although her brother is quite aggravating), and I enjoyed watching her realize things about herself and her life that led her challenge her own way of thinking. A 3/5 story that was pleasant but not life-changing.
On Fortune’s Wheel revolves around Gwyn’s granddaughter. This story had a bit more adventuring to it as Birle leaves the Kingdom and travels south. Despite that, the book still felt slow at points. When Birle returns to the Kingdom, there are several chapters that really seem to drag out. This book also involved a scenario that consistently infuriates me: girl gets pregnant and doesn’t tell the father because it’s “her” decision – as though he had nothing to do with it! I’m really tired of fathers getting zero rights and/or only the rights begrudgingly granted to them by mothers. (Followed by the mother sighing and bemoaning the fact that the father is distant or not helpful or whatever, urgh)
Anyway, another 3/5 read that was again a pleasant story but not something that really spoke to me.
The final book, The Wings of a Falcon, again takes place about twenty years later, but begins in the southern country rather than the Kingdom. This book was a lot weirder than the other two, and I found the main character, Oriel, to be 100% obnoxious. I never felt like Oriel grew as a person at all. He started by being a self-confident and pompous ass, and continued to be that type of douchey person from boyhood to adulthood. He uses everyone around him and only does things that benefit himself. The whole story really dragged and felt completely aimless. It was a 1/5 read for me, and not a book I would ever return to.
Overall, the trio garners a 2/5 rating. While I didn’t particularly love reading these books, at least I will have three empty slots on the bookshelves, as these are going into the giveaway box.