Erec Rex’s journey/battle to become king isn’t over yet. He’s got to complete the twelve tasks first. Which are bad enough as it is, because they can be life threatening and not as simple as they sound. But worse is that the Stain Brothers and Rock Rayson are allowed to partake as well, along with a barrage of attacks from Baskania. Erec quickly learns that not everything is as it seems and not everyone is who they claim to be. Who can Erec trust and how can he protect the ones he loves? And worse, what if he does become king? He will get a scepter with powers so great that it will ultimately destroy him.
I’ve realized that one of the things I’m really enjoying about this series is the “competition” element. Life is competition, whether at work, school, in a game, we are always trying to be the best in whatever group we’re in. But when the stakes are high, people will often take extreme action and go to extreme lengths to win. (This is why reality competition shows are so fascinating. Think about the lies and betrayals that people have pulled off in shows like Survivor. How many people would do those things in real life? Like the guy who lied about his grandmother dying to garner sympathy…) Here, the competition is about power and the question is, how much should you sacrifice to win? How much do you resort to the tactics of the other side? Erec must answer these questions and more as he seeks to complete each of his tasks.
Erec expected his tasks to be difficult, but he did not expect to discover the city of Alypium against him–they believe he cheated, has enchanted King Piter, and is trying to steal the throne–and the people he cares about most lying to him. Each clue seems straight forward, but as Erec (often with Bethany’s help) learns, they are not so simple. Each task is meant to demonstrate the qualities that a king requires to rule so while Task One may be open the dragon eggs, the test is not simply whether of not to open them but what to do next. And when Task Two is to stop the monsters, who are the monsters that need to be stopped and how do you stop them?
There is no end to the surprise and mystery in this series. I have some theories about Erec’s background, but I’m equally sure that Kingsley will have some more surprises in store.