Bloody Rose, the second of the Books of the Band, is a bigger and by some measures better book than its predecessor. I say 'some' because, as a sequel of sorts—a standalone set in the same world and featuring some of the same characters—it’s inherently less surprising than said, and like Kings of the Wyld, it’s awfully slow to start. That’s a far harder thing to accept here than it was there—but by all other accounts, Bloody Rose is bloody good fun.
Imagine a world in which bands of mercenaries tour like rock stars. In the sequel to Kings of the Wyld, Eames focuses on Tam, a tavern server and the daughter of a retired mercenary father and a mother who was a world-famous bard—the 'was' is why her father wants Tam to have nothing to do with bands, boys, or danger ... They say never meet your heroes because you’ll find out that they’re only human; in Tam’s case, it’s human, satyr, and a part-time bear.
In this hard-hitting, action-heavy follow-up to 2017’s Kings of the Wyld, set six years later, a young woman joins the world’s greatest adventuring band as their bard, only to discover her new heroes come with their own sets of flaws and emotional baggage ... As with the previous volume, Eames joyfully mashes rock music elements and epic fantasy tropes to create the equivalent of a 500-page heavy metal guitar solo: loud, frenetic, unpredictable, and gripping. He perfectly depicts the pressures of the younger generation struggling to escape the shadows of their predecessors and establish their own identities, even as times change and the world demands more in return.
...Filling his story with a multitude of 1960’s and 1970’s music and pop culture references with as much humor as possible, Eames managed to mix comedy with deeper themes such as the prospect of aging, wondering if the energy brought by youth stills remains, and bonds between friends reuniting - all the while setting his story in a typical fantasy land with kings, queens, and creatures of all sorts. At the center of this story was Saga, one of the most famous ‘bands’ in all the land and now well past their prime. Come back together to help rescue the daughter of Golden Gabe, the leader of the band, from a horde of monsters ... This was a difficult book to put down.