Book Review: “King’s Quest: The Floating Castle” by Craig Mills

Cover of "The Floating Castle" by Craig Mills
Cover of “The Floating Castle” by Craig Mills

I’m back with another book review, and this time I’m reviewing “King’s Quest: The Floating Castle” by Craig Mills!

This is a book connected to the King’s Quest game series by Sierra Entertainment, and it’s the first of three books. I found a physical used copy of this first book, but the other two books were harder to find. This is because the entire trilogy went out of print long ago, and there are no new copies being printed at this time. Thankfully, someone on the King’s Quest reddit scanned and uploaded files of all three books, so I will be able to review the latter two books later on by reading those PDF files!

King’s Quest is a fantasy game series by Sierra Entertainment. The original series is made of 8 games (plus a reimagining of the same name that was released in 2015). Depending on which game in the series you played, the games had a combo of point-and-click and typing in commands and/or just point-and-click to solve puzzles, complete tasks, and get past enemies to achieve some overall goal (often defeating a Big Bad at the end for story reasons). When I found out that this series had books, I knew I just had to read them! Here’s a quick summary of the first book so we know what it’s about:

“The peaceful world of Daventry is shattered by a vicious storm that precedes the arrival of an evil mage who steals the king’s soul, prompting Prince Alexander to banish the evil forces from the kingdom and save his father.”

Plot Development: 5 out of 5 stars

The blurb didn’t do the best job of describing what happens. To sum it up here: King Graham, Alexander’s father, gets his soul stolen by Telgrin, an evil mage. Alexander ends up having no choice but to go to Telgrin’s castle and steal his father’s soul back while defeating Telgrin.

Despite the story’s simplicity, the interactions Alexander had with his companion Cyril, the way they worked together to solve problems like getting past enemies and help others out as well. There were a few twists in the story that I did not expect and surprised me in a good way. The ending was also satisfying. Even though this book is marketed as the first in a trilogy, it reads as a standalone adventure overall. Readers will not need to be worried about loose ends carrying into another novel. This is probably a good thing considering the current rarity of these books’ existences.

Character Development: 4.5 out of 5 stars

There are many original characters that show up in this book that do not appear in the video game series. Cyril and Lydia are two of the most prominent ones, especially Cyril since he joins Alexander on his journey. Another key character named Owen shows up later in the book, though I can’t say how he acts here due to spoilers. All of the new characters were very much fun to read overall.

The characters from the games such as Alexander, Graham, and Valanice were all well-written too. Granted, we don’t see much of Valanice given that she’s only there at the beginning and end of the novel. She stays behind to look after Graham’s body while Alexander retrieves Graham’s soul. But what was written was accurate to her character in the games. The author in general did a good job of keeping all the game-related characters in-character in the books.

The only qualm I have about the character section is the jarring lack of Rosella in this book. For those that don’t know, Rosella is Alexander’s twin sister and therefore princess of Daventry. Her presence in the series is most notable in King’s Quest III, IV, and VII. However, she never shows up at all in this book. This is especially jarring given that “The Floating Castle” takes place somewhere between King’s Quest IV and King’s Quest VI (though most likely before King’s Quest V). This means that Rosella should already have some presence in the book, at least in a similar capacity to Valanice if nothing else. Other than this omission of her character’s existence, however, I can’t find fault with much else in the book for its characters.

Overall, I’m rating this book 4.75 out of 5 stars!

The only reason I can’t give this book a full score is because the book completely forgot about Rosella’s existence. That flaw aside, however, this is a must-read for King’s Quest fans if they can find a copy!

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