Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Book Tour ~Song of the Adoël by Kevin King (Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway)

Song of the Adoël
by: Kevin King
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: March 15, 2024
Publisher: Ingramspark

Raendel is one of the Adoël, the cursed people. Passed on to each generation, the curse drains his body of color, leaving his skin and hair a ghostly white. To protect himself from the commoners who fear what they don't understand, all of the Adoël live as servants to the royal family, using their unique skill with illusion magic to entertain bored nobility. Raendel is bound by traditions, but also by his own lack of self-confidence. Prince Kenan is the younger of two princes, frustrated by his gilded cage and the combat tutoring that feels pointless in a secure and peaceful kingdom. He dreams of adventure, of making a name for himself with heroic deeds. An unexpected assault from an ancient enemy sets the two on a quest that begins as pursuit of vengeance, but soon leads them into a struggle for survival that will teach them both that they are small pieces of a long, dark history. But even the smallest actions can change the fate of a kingdom.
Building the Story World

My world was born from a single idea – a curse, placed on a group of people generations in the past, inherited by their descendants. The curse has several negative effects, but also one side effect that benefits them, if only they would see it that way. That side effect ends up being what saves them in the end. From there I thought about what kind of ability might be powerful yet easily dismissed as trivial, or shunned because of association with a curse. Maybe illusions. Okay, but immediately I think of some powerful ways to use that, so they need additional restraints. Maybe one of the negative effects is a change in appearance that frightens people, so they can’t live normal lives among others. Pure white skin and hair, pale eyes. Maybe the king’s family shelters them, and in exchange they work as servants and use their illusions strictly for entertaining the royals. Their ability is considered tainted because of the curse, and considered trivial because it’s only used for entertainment. They are forbidden from causing harm, in an attempt to reduce fear and as penance for ancestral wrongs.

Thinking about kings and servants, I imagined a medieval setting. That is a simple template. I’ve read many stories set in medieval times, so it’s easy to create a basic world in that setting. Also, if illusion is a trivial magic, there must be more powerful magic to make it seem weaker by comparison. So I developed a complex structure of powerful magics that can enhance combat, wreak destruction, heal mortal wounds. The curse blocks its victims from being able to use any of those more powerful magics.

Next I developed a class of Mages, old masters of magic, probably employed by the king for simplicity. Perhaps the antagonist who created the curse was one of those Mages, but was corrupted by using forbidden magic. Necromancy, to give him a way to return to the world by taking over someone else’s body. He was forging a powerful weapon, and one of the good Mages fought to stop him. The Necromancer called on his servants to help, but they hid in terror. Mortally wounded, he cursed the servants with his last breath. The good Mage stole the Necromancer’s weapon, maybe even killed him with it, and then used it to make himself king. He took pity on the cursed servants and offered them protection.

The story begins four generations later, when descendants of that king have defeated all their enemies. The powerful weapon hangs on the wall gathering dust. The king has grown bored and alcoholic. The two princes shirk their duties, the older by gambling and partying with friends and the younger by skulking around daydreaming and chatting with servants.

A traitor plots a coup, trying to summon spirits from the underworld to assassinate the king. His ritual calls up the spirit of the Necromancer, who uses the connection to possess the traitor’s body. With this new body, the Necromancer plots to recover his stolen weapon and take revenge on the descendants of the man who killed him.

That plotline idea formed the main pillars of my world – the Adoël are the cursed people, who sing to create their illusions. Thus the title – a reference to the figurative ‘song’ (history) of the Adoël, and also the literal song that powers their magic. There are Masters of the various branches of magic who are private tutors to the princes. The royal family with a shady past. Then I developed specific characters to fill the key roles – Raendel, the Adoël servant to Prince Kenan, the younger prince. Queen Havilah, a political bride from a conquered kingdom. Various kinds of shadow demons. Supporting characters with their own gifts and goals.

My first draft had extra worldbuilding thrown in, random weird creatures and other things that seemed like a good idea at the time, but it muddied the plot too much so I ended up cutting out most of it. The story is the important part. The setting should support it, not hog the spotlight. So, what I hope I ended up with is a relatively simple world with some interesting elements grown somewhat organically around the plot and the characters.

You can read more about the religion and the magic system here (spoilers have their own folder so you can avoid them): https://www.worldanvil.com/w/lumiria-boethos

Raendel wove through the room with practiced ease, gliding between isolated clumps of noblemen scattered across the room, passing the time with idle gossip as they waited for the guest of honor to arrive. His gaze flicked along the way in front of him, choosing the path that would keep him farthest away from the guests. Most of them wore enough perfume to give him a headache from five yards away. The enhanced sense of smell shared by the Adoël only added to Raendel’s trepidation. All the nobles stank of pride. The smell of fear drifted in clouds, especially near visitors who had never seen one of the Adoël before. Raendel spent most of his day inside the castle, serving Prince Kenan.

His distinctive features would have drawn stares even without the stories. The name Adoël had been used to frighten children for generations. Mothers would clutch their children as he passed in the street. Don’t go outside at night or the Adoël will get you. Don’t wander into the woods, the Adoël will catch you and suck the life out of you. Each passing generation believed the stories a bit more than their parents. To encounter an Adoël in person resurrected the terrors planted in the hearts of children now grown.

Whispers swirled in his wake. Ghost-child. Cursed. Tainted. Touched by the Necromancer. Raendel had heard them all before, but he still flinched with every sting.

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Kevin works as a software developer in the Seattle area by day, and an author by night. He enjoys Renaissance Fairs, bookstores, fencing, and daydreaming. He has been reading fantasy from age six, and writing from age twenty-two. He loves exploring fantasy worlds, especially exploring human nature through fiction. Fantasy is his first love, but he also dabbles in sci-fi, creepy horror, and devastatingly sad dramas. He posts regular flash fiction stories to his Instagram account and website.

Places to find Kevin King:

You can follow the Song of the Adoël Book Tour here.

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  1. Thank you so much for hosting today! It's appreciated.

  2. I enjoyed the post today. The story sounds really interesting.

  3. Replies
    1. You're welcome. Thank you for the guest post and for stopping by.

  4. Do you have a favorite movie or TV show?

    1. That's a hard question - it really depends on my mood. I tend to enjoy movies that make me cry - Sling Blade, Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead. Other times something like The Princess Bride. Sometimes I like a dark comedy like Very Bad Things. I like well-written characters, clever dialogue, and well-crafted action. All over the place. :) But I don't spend a lot of time watching movies or TV.

  5. This looks outstanding. Thanks for hosting and sharing this tour.

  6. I love everything about this - genre title and especially the fantastic cover!
    Thank you for sharing this.

  7. looks like a fun one


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