Futility of Defense

Fiction - Fantasy - Epic
605 Pages
Reviewed on 07/19/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Delene Vrey for Readers' Favorite

Futility of Defense is the second book in the epic sword and sorcery series The Paladin's Journey by Bryan Cole. The series follows the exploits of Krell, a paladin of the god ReckNor, and his band of warriors under contract to protect the harbor town of Watford. Watford has become the target of sea devils that attack during storms and kill indiscriminately. This time, Krell has to face a giant and a basilisk and reanimate his killed friends. Again. Consequences from the past bring death and destruction to Watford as a demon wants to destroy Krell. If dealing with these things is not enough, Krell has to navigate human life and relationships, which sometimes seem more difficult than fighting monsters.

In this second installment of The Paladin's Journey, Cole has taken time to flesh out the characters. As more background is given regarding Verbena, Dahlia, and Sheana, Krell develops both in his magic and hand-to-hand combat skills, his view of the world, and his role as a Paladin of ReckNor. We also learn more about the political background of the region and see how much Krell knows about achieving peace by winning a war that no one realized was being fought. Once again, the book has immersive world-building and great characters driving the story. Character and plot development brings a new angle to the story while staying true to the characters and plot from the first installment. The book covers various themes that include gender violence, making hard choices, and understanding that you have to deal with consequences.

K.C. Finn

Futility of Defense is a work of fiction in the epic fantasy, adventure, and action subgenres. It is best suited to the mature adult reading owing to scenes of graphic violence, sex, and sexual violence references as well as the use of explicit language throughout. Penned by author Bryan Cole, we find ourselves in a world where Paladins, wielders of divine power, disrupt the delicate balance of power. The protagonist, Krell, a stubborn and uneducated individual, is unexpectedly chosen by the god of the seas and skies, ReckNor. As he becomes embroiled in a battle against the sea devils, Krell's triumphs draw attention and fear from the rich and powerful, who worry about the consequences of a Paladin's actions.

Author Bryan Cole masterfully creates a captivating narrative filled with intrigue and tension. The conflict between Krell's desire to defend a small town and the escalating danger posed by the sea devils adds layers of suspense to the story. Readers are kept on the edge of their seats, eagerly following Krell's journey and the repercussions of his past choices. The author's world-building skills are commendable, with vivid descriptions that transport readers into the realm of gods, seas, and menacing adversaries. Krell's character development is skillfully handled, showcasing his growth and the weight of his decisions. Cole's storytelling prowess shines through as he weaves an engaging tale of divine intervention and personal struggles with close personal narration and dialogue that moves the story forward without a lot of extra prose. Fans of fantasy and adventure will find themselves captivated by this compelling novel, and overall, Futility of Defense is a thrilling and thought-provoking read that explores themes of power, consequence, and the choices that shape destinies.

Asher Syed

Futility of Defense by Bryan Cole follows the Paladin, Krell, and his dragon, Fortis, in the coastal town of Watford, where they combat sea devils and investigate the mysterious Betterment Society. Krell, a follower of the deity ReckNor, navigates various trials with his allies and remains loyal to Verbena despite personal doubts. In a dramatic turn, Krell is faced with death by a demon and his faith in ReckNor becomes a matter of life or death. Meanwhile, an internal crisis at the Gyrfal estate unfolds when deception is thrust upon the group by way of a cursed wine and a loss of the very thing most critical to the battle for survival happens, spiraling when an intent to destroy all that Krell holds dear comes to a head. Defeat is not an option but victory, however small and improbable, is unlikely to come at all....or without unthinkable cost.

Oh my goodness, the battle scenes in Futility of Defense are spectacular! This is the second book in the series A Paladin's Journey by Bryan Cole, preceded by book one, Beginning of Arrogance. I started reading Futility and actually went back, a chapter in, to read Beginning. It is that engrossing. There are a lot of characters in play, from Mitah, Eric Gyrfal, and Yalrin, to Dahlia, Sheana, and Verbena, and are all well-developed. I could see some of them having their own prequels, as the series has the potential to branch out into multiple character directions. Krell is saved so many times by so many others. Cole acknowledges that no matter how powerful one can be, there is no surviving without others. Heroism is not limited to the bravest, the strongest, or even those who intend to become heroes. Not going to lie, I fist-pumped when Tristan had a brief moment of glory. I'm excited to see what Cole puts out next. Very highly recommended.

Parul Sood

Bryan Cole's Futility of Defense, the second book in the gripping Paladin's Journey series, takes readers on an exhilarating ride of growth, heroism, and intrigue. Futility of Defense seamlessly picks up where the first book left off, thrusting us back into the world of our flawed yet captivating hero, Krell. As a paladin chosen by the capricious sea god ReckNor, Krell, an uneducated nobody, defies societal norms and draws the ire of the powerful elite closely watching his every move. After triumphing in a grueling battle against the fearsome sea devils, Krell stands as the last line of defense for the vulnerable town of Watford. Amidst escalating stakes, Krell faces the weight of his past decisions, which may well end him.

In Futility of Defense, Bryan Cole interweaves Krell's evolution as a hero and a leader with a narrative bursting with intense battles and mounting suspense. What truly captivates is Krell's relationship with ReckNor, a deity who guides his actions, albeit only when it suits his whims. This intricate dynamic adds layers of depth, keeping readers enthralled. The writing's cadence is impeccable, immersing readers in a world where character growth is paramount. Witnessing Krell's transformation in this coming-of-age epic is an absolute delight. Flawed and always learning, he grapples with the consequences of recent and distant choices, painting him as a relatable and magnetic hero. The second installment of Paladin's Journey series leaves readers clamoring for more as they anxiously await the next chapter in Bryan Cole's spellbinding saga.

Rabia Tanveer

Futility of Defense is the second book in A Paladin’s Journey by Bryan Cole. The story of Krell and Co. continues as he prepares to protect innocent people with everything he has. There was a time when Krell was simply a nobody. He was uneducated and a little brutal, but that didn’t stop ReckNor from calling on him to protect the people from sea monsters. Things weren’t any better though. Krell was still unpopular with the rich and powerful, but ReckNor had bigger plans for him. The city of Watford needed a hero, and no one was better than Krell. However, Krell had no idea he and his companions would put much more than their services on the line. If they weren’t careful, they could die protecting Watford.

I always love a flawed hero who was teetering on the edge of being an anti-hero but always pulled through in the end. Krell was the perfect example of that hero. I was looking forward to high-intensity action, politics, and drama, but I was not expecting to find a protagonist who was flawed yet perfect at the same time. He knew his shortcomings and avoided them to the best of his abilities. Krell was a leader who observed, was always at the forefront, and was always ready to protect his team. ReckNor wasn’t my favorite character, but was mighty and larger than life. Serda was a riot, Darvin was suspicious, Duncan had my sympathies, and Verbena was often the voice of reason. I loved the descriptions and how they transported me right next to Krell as he faced sea monsters and tackled attacks from all angles. I loved this book!