The Way of the Wilderking by Jonathan Rogers: Last, but not least
Third book in the Wilderking Trilogy
Overall rating: 9/10
Quality of writing: 9/10
Concerning content (language, violence, etc.): minimal
Age level: 8 and up
In the third and last volume of the Wilderking Trilogy, Aidan Errolson returns to the land of Corenwald after living three years in the Feechiefen Swamp, but discovers that he has attracted a following of “Aidanites”: commoners who believe he is the Wilderking of legend and want him to overthrow King Darrow—despite the fact that Aidan could not be more loyal to Darrow. With a looming Pyrthen invasion, Aidan is forced to combat not only a foreign enemy, but also his own countrymen, who want him to seize the kingship: essentially treason against King Darrow.
Exploring issues of loyalty and trust, The Way of the Wilderking blends Biblical plot elements with a detailed fantasy world and convincing characters to create a unique adventure story that has been compared to classics such as the Chronicles of Narnia. Fans of adventure and action stories will not want to miss this book!
The plot in The Way of the Wilderking is more cohesive than that of the first book in the series (The Bark of the Bog Owl), but lacks the unity of the plot of The Secret of the Swamp King (the second book in the series). Taken as a whole, it’s relatively engaging, but at points in the story it is unclear exactly who the antagonist is (is it the Aidanites, the Pyrthens, or Maynard?). However, the plot overall is interesting and well-written, deserving a 9/10 rating on difficulty.
One characteristic of Rogers’ writing in the Wilderking Trilogy is that he introduces relatively few new characters, instead reusing characters from previous books. This technique would be acceptable, except for the fact that his characters tend to remain mostly consistent and don’t develop much across the trilogy’s story arc. However, The Way of the Wilderking does offer the reader a bit more insight into the characters’ perspectives and motivations, especially through the characters Errol, Maynard, and of course Aidan. Combined with the fact that Rogers’ characters are remarkably personable and interesting, this fact earns The Way of the Wilderking a 9 (albeit a “low” one) out of 10 on characters.
Not surprisingly, this book is comparable in difficulty to others in the series: the style incorporates descriptive language without being too ornate, and the plot is readable and reasonably simple. Overall, The Way of the Wilderking gets a 3 out of 10 on difficulty.
Quality of writing
As always, Rogers does an excellent job in this book of incorporating the plot of a Bible story without seeming at all “preachy,” even making it quite engaging and interesting. Rogers also uses a decent amount of descriptive language for the book’s age level, but keeps the style light and not overly ornate. Finally, Rogers’ fictional world, Corenwald, is admirably detailed and realistic, with different character groups and races inhabiting different regions. Overall, the quality of writing in The Way of the Wilderking is quite good, especially for the book’s age level, and deserves a 9/10 rating.
As with other books in the series, The Way of the Wilderking is squeaky-clean when it comes to language: characters only use exclamations such as “humph” and “aw.” This book does incorporate more extensive fighting scenes than the previous two books, including a two-chapter showdown between the Corenwalders and Pyrthens towards the end of the book; however, Rogers does an excellent job of keeping the book true to its age level, and the fighting is suitably non-graphic. Overall, readers should not have to worry about any content in this book; although the fighting is somewhat more frequent than in the other books, it is entirely age-appropriate.
As with other books in the series, this book is readable, interesting and has no age-inappropriate content. On the whole, The Way of the Wilderking is recommended for readers from age 8 to age 14.