Updated: Feb 11
I'm finally getting to review The King's Questioner, which I acquired through a giveaway at YALLFest last year. I was so excited about this book and I have things to say about the characters and the overall story.
Keep reading for my review:
From the author of 'The Midnight Dance' comes an epic YA fantasy featuring royal drama, dark magic, and a secret that could topple a kingdom.
Kalen has been cursed with a gift: he’s a mental picklock, able to access a person’s memories and secrets by touch. His skills make him the perfect questioner to the king, and he spends his days interrogating prisoners of the crown.
But when Kalen’s estranged childhood friend, Prince Cirrus, falls into a sudden coma, the king begs Kalen to intervene. By accessing Cirrus’ mind, Kalen saves his life—and uncovers a terrifying secret. The prince has a sister, banished long ago, and she is the key to the destruction or survival of the kingdom.
With the help of Cirrus and a silver-haired thief named Luna, Kalen must find the princess and bring her home. Or risk death at the hands of his king.
I started this book excited that I had acquired the ARC from YALLFest, but unfortunately this review will be a bit hard for me because the book itself (especially because it is a standalone) didn't reach my expectations.
Reading as a reader and as a writer is something I will probably dedicate a while blog post to, but for now, minding the fact that not all books are for everyone and that we all have different tastes, I will tell you what I really liked about this book and why despite this I had to give it only three stars.
The story begins with Kalen being inside someone's mind. His ability to enter people's minds only by touching them is really intriguing, and I really think the world had individuals with interesting magic, although they weren't as common as I expected. I really liked Kalen as a character, he is a good boy, orphaned and taken under the king's wing because of the convenience of his ability.
The main quest begins when he enters the mind of the prince who falls into a coma (why? I don't think we ever truly find out–which is frustrating!) and while in his mind he unlocks a secret that was meant to stay buried in the prince's mind. Cirrus wakes up right after, knowing the secret of his banished sister and the prophecy of her birth.
The quest that Kalen, Cirrus and Luna embark on is really spontaneous and turns into something complicated really fast. I do love the three of them together because their interactions are something I really enjoyed. Kalen and Cirrus get along pretty well (although Cirrus dreads Kalen's touch), they seem to have a past together that I feel needed a little more attention. Luna is also another one of my favorite characters; she is strong, immune to any kind of magic, and when she was asked about her origin, she told a beautiful story about it.
The lost princess, Reign, is a character I struggled a little with. She had a difficult upbringing, and I understand where complicity comes from, but I wish she had been given a more credible opportunity to grown and control her power. The prophecy of her birth was another reason I struggled with the story. All prophecies have a way of coming true, and how hers found a way of being "solved" I couldn't believe.
The most insufferable characters were the king's "Law" and the king himself. I couldn't stand them. and they were such a huge past of the major conflict and the end, which is why I felt let down.
Overall, I think this book had so much more potential, and the characters deserved so much better. I wish there was a sequel because the main four characters are totally awesome together. In my head, I know they went on to do great things.
Please, give this book a chance, it might have not been fireworks for me (and maybe it was because I read it when I was hungover from another book and I was reading it while reading CDTW), but it could be for you.
Here is all the info for The King's Questioner :
Reading Challenge No.: 5/45
Author: Nikki Katz
Publication Date: January 14, 2020
Format: ARC paperback
Length: 304 pages
POV: #ThirdPerson POV.
Series or Standalone? Standalone
"Taking a breath to steel his nerves, Kalen turned the key."
Favorite Character: Luna
Add The King's Questioner to your Goodreads, here.
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I'm currently reading Tenth Girl and Woven in Moonlight, and listening to Crazy Rich Asians. My review for Call Down the Hawk will come soon, so stay tuned.