In my last review I claimed that Talon of the Silver Hawk was Raymond E. Feist's worst novel to date. I take it back! King of Foxes now holds that dubious honor. How the author managed to produce an inferior sequel is beyond me. Feist had certainly not set the bar too high with its predecessor. Hence, to have failed to raise the level of quality of Conclave of Shadows with this second volume does say a lot about this series.
To be blunt, the book would probably have been rejected by the editors of Wizards of the Coast, who would have deemed it unworthy of their Forgotten Realms line. In all honesty, no editor would have gone through this manuscript had Feist not written it. A submission consisting of a few sample chapters sent to a literary agency would indubitably have generated a "Don't quit your day job" response.
Yes, unfortunately, it is that bad. Take Feist's name away from the cover and it's well nigh impossible to even consider that the person who has written this novel has sold more than 12 million books worldwide. Feist has a number of NYT bestsellers under his belt, but there is a very good reason why this one doesn't figure among them.
The worldbuilding is practically non-existent, adding nothing to the already well developed world of Midkemia.
Every single character is a cardboard cutout. Having created such endearing characters such as Arutha, Jimmy the Hand, Admiral Trask, Pug, Nakor, Macross the Black, etc, this is unacceptable for a notorious author like Feist.
The narrative is bland and, for the most part, uninteresting. The dialogues don't ring true and appear to have been taken out of a bad Hollywood production.
Frankly, if fans were not adamant about the fact that Feist's latest, Flight of the Nighthawks, is quite a good yarn, I'm persuaded that I wouldn't even bother with the third installment of this mediocre trilogy. I know I always try to bring out every novel's strengths and weaknesses when I write a book review. Sadly, there is nothing good to say about this one. . .:-(
I need a break from this series. Which means that I'll be reading Naomi Novik's His Majesty's Dragon/Temeraire next at work. At home, I am savoring Steven Erikson's Memories of Ice. What a pleasure. . .;-)
The final verdict: 6/10