Spoiler Free Summary: The King’s Despatcher by David Farland is the eighth story in the Unfettered II Anthology. Deval is hated by all the boys he trains with. He was found by the princess of the country, but all he’s received after being placed in training is scorn and distain. The story begins with the most important question, how can a man be true to a country he hates? The answer may lie in a very specific set of skills.
Character: I liked these characters. They were sympathetic and believable. I like Deval the most (I may be spelling that wrong. I listened to the audio book, so I only have sound to go on). The author did a fantastic job of showing the pain he was going through while still giving him a way to endure without corruption.
Exposition: This was nearly flawless. Yeah, there was a tad of exposition hidden in some dialogue, but I do that myself, so I didn’t mind it at all. This story is very clean. There isn’t any part that drags down the story. My problem with the story is actually that I wanted more. I didn’t get the sense of closure I wanted. I’d be happy to hear if there is a direct continuation of this story out there. So as a teaser tale, it works, but I’m frustrated by the tease.
Worldbuilding: The worldbuilding for this story is focused narrowly on the characters involved, but it teases a wider world. This is a nice mix in which the reader gains glimpses into a wider world, but remains rooted in the scene and events of the smaller story.
Dialogue: This was solid. There wasn’t a ton of it, but the conversation between the princess and her father is great. It reveals character while providing context to the events. It’s quite masterful.
Description: The description in this story wasn’t as visceral as I’d like. I can’t really picture much about the characters or the scene. If I’m reading a book, and you’re going to lack something, this is the one I’d pick.
Overall: This is actually a great short story. It fell out of my top three because I didn’t get that sense of finality I like in a story, but it’s a powerful tale that has great characters. I really do recommend it.
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