Book Review: Neanderthal King

Title: Neanderthal King

Author: Matt Ward



Imagine Game of Thrones, but with Neanderthals too!

It’s 1107, and the once-great Neanderthal empire is no more, laid waste by the dark Sapien king, Isaac, the same bastard who slaughtered the Thal queen’s young heirs. A brutal reversal of medieval power forged in blood and fueled by Sap ingenuity.

But one babe escaped the mad king’s wrath.

Raised the son of a simple Thal herder, Maralek’s a rough lad with the ferocious pride and temper of his ruined people, a scorn for rules and rulers, and less than a little creativity in his thick skull. In a word, your average Neanderthal.

And life’s livable, until King Isaac resumes his bloodthirsty crusade, and Maralek’s forced into slaving shackles. Then, a rowdy caravan, a mysterious gypsy, a whispered prophecy… A whirlwind of devastation and war as his master is murdered, his fate unwoven, and his world ripped asunder in an epic battle to end all.

Neanderthal King is a historic epic YA fantasy by renowned science fiction and fantasy author, Matt Ward, that features savage twists and darker secrets, raging kings and enslaved heirs, and an audaciously ambitious coming of age quest set in an alternative medieval Europe. If you love Brandon Sanderson, Ursula le Guin, or Robin Hobb, or explosive high and low fantasy classics like Lord of the Rings, the Kingkiller Chronicles, and the Earthsea Cycle, you’ll love this heroic historical tale.

My Review

4/5 Stars

 I’m always excited when picking up a new book by Matt Ward. I never know to expect. Neanderthal King was no exception!

We’re introduced to a world where Neanderthals didn’t die out. They live in their own kingdom and so do the homo-sapiens. When an attack is launched against the Neanderthals, their bloodline is believed to be deleted. Little do they know, there is one surviving heir. And he’ll get his revenge.

So, like with every Matt Ward book, the worldbuilding is simply phenomenal. I don’t read many alternate history books, but it’s stories like this that make me interested in the genre. Ward even went so far as to create a specific language for the Thals. I also love the contrast in the entire way that each group of humans lived. For example, the Thals were typically led by their women while the Saps had male leaders. 

I could definitely see how this book would appeal to Game of Throne fans. Also, if you’re looking for something outside the box, this is the perfect read. Immersive with plenty of food for thought. 

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

Published by Author Kayla Krantz

Proud author responsible for Dead by Morning and The Council, fascinated by the dark and macabre. Stephen King is her all time inspiration mixed in with a little bit of Eminem and some faint remnants of the works of Edgar Allen Poe. When she began writing, she started in horror but it somehow drifted into thriller. She loves the 1988 movie Heathers. She was born and raised in Michigan but traveled across the country to where she currently resides in Texas.

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