Happy Friday, y’all!
I am thrilled to share a long anticipated (for me at least) review of The Wilderking Trilogy today. This three book series by Jonathan Rogers is fantastic! I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of plot but the mythic retelling of the David biblical story was absolutely amazing. Seriously, this is a clever series.
I first heard about these books on The Read Aloud Revival and have been intrigued ever since. They are a bit tricky to get ahold of. They weren’t at my library (what?!) so I ended up buying them. The first I found at Half Price Books and after finishing it, I bought the next two on Amazon so I would get them quickly.
- These books are so clever! The way Rogers intertwines the classic myth with his different details and unique world. I kept being surprised (and loving it!) as everything twisted and turned in familiar yet new ways.
- At the heart of this series is a struggle to remember the One God that Aidan is always quick to worship and serve. I love the central role of religion and faith in these books.
- These are not long books. I totally understand why Sarah includes them in her podcast because they are the perfect length for read alouds! The chapters aren’t too long and the action is a lot of fun. Can’t wait to read them to my kids one day!
According to Goodreads about book one, “Twelve-year-old Aidan Errolson comes from a long line of adventurers. His grandparents were among the first settlers of Corenwald’s Eastern Frontier. His father had been one of the kingdom’s greatest warriors. Aidan, on the other hand, lives the quiet, comfortable life of a nobleman’s son. He never has any real adventures, and that, he believes, is the one great injustice of his otherwise happy life. All that will change the day he first hears the bark of the bog owl and meets Dobro Turtlebane. Dobro is one of the feechiefolk—a tribe of half-civilized swamp dwellers who fight too much, laugh too loud, cry too easily, and smell just terrible. But another meeting on that remarkable day may change Aidan’s life even more profoundly. Bayard the Truthspeaker arrives with a startling pronouncement: Aidan Errolson will grow to be the Wilderking—the long-prophesied wild man who will come out of Corenwald’s forests and swamps to lead the kingdom back to its former glory. There’s just one question: Is Bayard the Truthspeaker a prophet or a madman?” The second and third books follow Aidan’s quest to be true to himself and his country while understanding the Wilderking prophecy and fulfilling his destiny.
I loved Aidan from the first page of book one and continued loving his journey throughout the trilogy. He is so kind and seeking to do what’s right. That doesn’t change. I loved his developing relationship with the fenchees and his courage and faith. I loved Aidan’s journey both physical and emotional in book two. He shows the kind of person he is in the way he treats others and the way he leads through love and friendship. One of my favorite relationships in this book is between Dobro of the feechiefolk and Aidan. They are a great set of friends and make me laugh out loud. What makes Aidan so relatable is that he changes. He matures. He makes mistakes and faces the consequences. He loses those he loves. He must grapple with fame, rebellion, and many differing opinions. But he always fights for right and for honor. I admire that. Overall, Aidan is a great protagonist and a classic hero.
Aidan is surrounded by dynamic characters–both his friends and his enemies. One of my favorite supporting characters is Dobro. How can you not love this character. He’s hilarious in his quirky feechie ways. But also fiercely loyal to Aidan and a true friend. I also loved Aidan’s father Errol for his incredible leadership and integrity. He is a beautiful role model of fatherhood. I enjoyed Bayern the Truthsayer because he is just a bit ridiculous while also being incredibly wise. King Darrow is a fascinating character and enemy. His transformation into a true villain is subtle and intense.
This is a true adventure story; the action is exciting and fast paced. I stayed up late to finish them all because I had to know what happened (or at least how Rogers brought the story together). Yes, this is the David myth so I figured that Aidan would fulfill the Wilderking prophecy. But it was sure a wild ride to get there. Favorite scenes were Aidan’s first experiences with the Feechiefolk and his discovery of the flying orchid. Also his reunion with his brothers in book 3 and his defeat of the enemy warrior in book one. Oh, and the journey through the underground caves end of book one! I loved the clever ways it all came together with lots of fun twists and turns along the way.
I loved the way the David story comes into play in these novels. At the heart of this novel is The One God and the fight to keep their country free. I love that God is so central to this story. We have more obvious connections like the Goliath-like warrior that Aidan fights. And I enjoyed the way the wandering prophet pronounces Aidan’s kingship on him at the start of book one. He isn’t the Wilderking yet, but I can see how he’s being prepared to become a leader. But what makes these novels even more engaging is the journey that Aidan goes on to discover who he really is. And the subtle ways King Darrow becomes corrupted by his power. While the enemy dynasty begins taking over as well. Even the way Aidan finally fulfills the Wilderking prophecy is interesting. It’s not how I though it would go. But as Bayern told Aidan “live the life that unfolds before you.” And that’s just what he did.
Side note on the ending. I’m glad Rogers wasn’t afraid to kill a few characters. It’s a pet peeve of mine when authors have a big battle and no one dies. The deaths in this one were sad but also satisfying.
I love this series! Such a clever, adventurous set of books. We need more literature for kids like these books. New fan of the Wilderking right here!
Have you read the Wilderking Trilogy yet? What did you think?
Do you have any favorite biblical fiction books?