Author: Jeff Wheeler
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Series: Kingfountain #1
Trade Paperback, 318 Pages
Publication: April 1, 2016
Source: I received a review copy from the publicist in exchange for a honest review.
King Severn Argentine’s fearsome reputation precedes him: usurper of the throne, killer of rightful heirs, ruthless punisher of traitors. Attempting to depose him, the Duke of Kiskaddon gambles…and loses. Now the duke must atone by handing over his young son, Owen, as the king’s hostage. And should his loyalty falter again, the boy will pay with his life.
Seeking allies and eluding Severn’s spies, Owen learns to survive in the court of Kingfountain. But when new evidence of his father’s betrayal threatens to seal his fate, Owen must win the vengeful king’s favor by proving his worth—through extraordinary means. And only one person can aid his desperate cause: a mysterious woman, dwelling in secrecy, who truly wields power over life, death, and destiny.
This book was a wonderful surprise. I didn’t have much to go on when I began The Queen’s Poisoner. I certainly didn’t expect to be reading from the point-of-view of a child. An 8 year old to be exact, this was a first for me. Many complex fantasy world buildings have a multitude of characters and I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t remember everyone. Well, it turned out I had nothing to be worried about. Yes, there were many characters but all of the characters were well developed and had distinct personalities that I didn’t have a problem keeping track of who’s who. From the Queen Dowager whom we met briefly, young fearless Evie, to the Espison of the Kitchen Mancini; there were just so many great characters and though some character had more important roles than others…you can tell they were all given the same care and attention to detail.
The back tag-line of the book says 'A Boy will Rise to Manhood-And to Greatness’, I figured we’d get a little bit of Owen, our protagonist, in his youth and that the majority would be in his teens to early adult life. Nope. The first book in this planned trilogy is mostly Owen as a child and I assume he will ‘grow up’ over the course of the series. I loved Owen. He was such a sweet, smart and observant kid. Upon arriving to Kingfountain, Owen was a terrified little boy, which is completely understandable as he was just taken away from his family and became a prisoner to the most notorious king, a king that used children as his food/drink taster (against poisons). However, readers can clearly see a subtle growth to Owen. By the end of the book he was no longer that scared little boy but someone truly special that can outwit any adults. Another young character that made a strong impression on me was Elysabeth Victoria Mortimer A.K.A. Evie to Owen. Evie is Owen’s best friend and granddaughter to the king’s right-hand man. Evie was one of the coolest, bravest, and loquacious kid I’ve ever read about and I loved her! She was a great companion for Owen. At times I forgot they were children because they didn’t talk like children at all. She’s eight and she already talked about death, treachery, and marriage! I found it funny that she said Owen is her betrothed. Kids, they say the darnest things.
All in all, The Queen’s Poisoner was a solid and great start to a new series. I loved every moment of it. While this isn’t what I normally read, since I usually go for books with a lot of action, I still enjoy character driven novel and The Queen’s Poisoner was just that. There wasn’t much action but there was this slow burn vibe to it, like something big is going to happen. We will just have to wait and see what happens next! I can’t wait to start the second book, The Thief’s Daughter. This is definitely a series you don’t want to miss! Give The Queen’s Poisoner a try, you won’t regret it!