Rating: 4/5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure
I was super nervous when I started The King Beyond The Gate. You see, I read this book 10 years ago and the hero, Tenaka Khan was my first experience of a larger than life warrior. I absolutely loved him. So I had all these expectations and I started it with the worry, “Would this book be as amazing as it’d been the first time?” When I read it the first time, I was much younger and I worried that my older self wouldn’t be as impressed by Tenaka Khan as my younger self had been. I didn’t want a bitter disillusionment.
TKBTG follows the life of Tenaka Khan, born half-Drenai, half-Nadir, shunned by both. It was hard for him to live on the brink of two worlds, to be hated by both because of his mixed blood. I felt such empathy for Tenaka Khan. In spite of his mixed blood though, I was glad that he had friends who respected him and a mother who loved him.
Then he met Renya. Drenai and a Joining to boot. She was spectacular, especially one particular scene where she was the one who had to save him, the fearless warrior Tenaka Khan. 😉
“Where Tenaka Khan walked, there would be Renya. He was unaware of it as yet. But he would learn.” Lol. I kept thinking, you go, girl!
She fell for him and then she wanted to change him. That didn’t sit well with me, maybe because I did the same. Throughout reading the story, I started to be a bit disappointed in Tenaka Khan. (Yes, I love his name lol.) You see, he wasn’t the flawless hero I’d imagined him to be all those years ago. In typical David Gemmell fashion, he was an anti-hero, with his flaws and issues, like Renya found out. I read his story through rose-colored glasses ten years ago and now I was seeing the reality and boy, was it a revelation in disbelief!
But he was still a decent man and he changed the fate of the Nadir by uniting all the tribes as one nation. I couldn’t expect him to be both Drenai and the Great Khan of the Nadir. His destiny was to rule the Nadir and they needed him.
Once I accepted that, I enjoyed the story a lot more. Add in the dry wit – there were scenes which were so funny at times which I didn’t expect that I laughed out loud – and the plot was pretty good. I don’t know why Tenaka Khan got such a grip on my heart but he still had it. 🙂