Review: King John (The Lost and Founds, #4) by Edmond Manning
Determined to find the mysterious garage mechanic named Vin who helps men “remember who they were always meant to be,” Alistair catches his quarry amid the extravagant sculptures, fire worshipers, mutant cars, and lavish costumes. After searching for three years, he’ll finally get to ask the question burning inside him: “Will you king me?”
Wandering together through the desert, Vin Vanbly and Alistair explore Burning Man’s gifting culture and exotic traditions, where they meet the best and worst of their fellow burners. Alistair’s overconfidence in Vin’s manipulative power collides with Vin’s obsessive need to save a sixteen-year-old runaway from a nightmarish fate, and the two men spiral into uncontrollable, explosive directions.
In this fourth adventure of The Lost and Founds, beneath the sweltering summer sun and the six billion midnight stars, one truth emerges, searing itself on their hearts: in the desert, everything burns.
I've only read book one and four in this series and I absolutely need to remedy that. This book is brilliant. BRILLIANT. Edmond Manning writes prose to make my heart sing. The escapism of his stories is so complete that I find myself wandering lost beside his characters.
Vin Vanbly is back. Back with his unique take on humanity and people and living. This time though it is not him who has chosen the person to be Kinged, rather the person has sought him out. Alistair wants to be Kinged. He's spoken with other Kings and knows a little of the gift Vin gives them; the ability to recognise their true self; the ability to face fear - and he wants in. Vin's utter gift for reading people means he is unsure if Alistair has what it takes to be Kinged. He's hiding too much; from himself and from Vin.
Set against the background of the Burning Man event, Vin and Alistair start this journey. I loved the setting of the tale. This mass meeting in the desert where people can be the them they feel inside. The person they long to be when society isn't forcing them inside the boxes it loves so much. The traditions of the event, plus the beautiful descriptions of people and their interactions is stunning.
I think of this story as colour. It is bright and vivid and orange and red and yellow. Not in an autumn way but in a lively vibrant summer way. Deep blues and sharp light. Noise and smell and festival. When I think of this story, this is the impression I am left with. It's as clear to me as if a painter had painted the scene of the Burning Man in front of me. Something that vivid is as much a character in the story as the characters are.
And I love the characters. Especially Vin. Edmond Manning teases and tempts with what seem to real insights into the main character of the stories, yet really Vin is an enigma. An enigma I want to solve. I want to know him, everything about him.
We were talking at work the other day about magicians. Not the kind in fantasy novels, but the kind that do shows or tabletop magic. The kind you know is done by sleight of hand and trickery. Well I hate watching them, unless the tricks are explained to me. (Vin and I would NOT get on!!) I want to know how things are done as much as why things are done, and this is how I feel about Vin. It's like Manning has written around him, he seems solid but when it comes to it he's just a puff of smoke; a magic trick. AND I NEED TO KNOW ALL THE THINGS. All the things about Vin.
I devoured the story (and book one) gleaning information about this MC like my life depended on it. And it wasn't - isn't - enough. Except, truly, the author has done his job. He has me well and truly hooked. The story is a complete. We find out about Alistair and King John and the story arc is solid and true, there's no cliff hanger ending... but I still need more.
So I'll wait for the next book. I'm lucky, I have books two and three to keep me from being starved of Vin. I'm still waiting for another story because as well as wanting to know the ins and outs of Vin's arse (figuratively) I also want him to get an HEA. I want him to receive what he so generously bestows on others.
I want. I want. I want. I know... but I do!
If you've not read this series... well you need to. It's fabulous.
A copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review.
For more information, see Goodreads.