by Jeff Wheeler
Series: Kingfountain #2
Published on May 31, 2016 by 47North
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Owen Kiskaddon first came to the court of the formidable King Severn as a prisoner, winning favor with the stormy monarch by masquerading as a boy truly blessed by the Fountain. Nine years hence, the once-fearful Owen has grown into a confident young man, mentored in battle and politics by Duke Horwath and deeply in love with his childhood friend, the duke’s granddaughter. But the blissful future Owen and Elysabeth Mortimer anticipate seems doomed by the king’s machinations.
A pretender to Severn’s throne has vowed to seize the crown of Kingfountain. But Severn means to combat the threat by using Elysabeth as bait to snare the imposter—and forcing Owen, as a pawn in the dangerous charade, to choose between duty and devotion. With poisoners and spies circling ominously, and war looming on the horizon, Owen must make painful sacrifices to beat back the advancing shadows of death and disaster. Will Owen’s conflicted heart follow the king’s path or risk everything for his love?
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Well…I tried book #2.
If you read my review of The Queen’s Poisoner, book 1 in the Kingfountain series, you may have noticed it wasn’t working for me. Generally when that happens if I see promise in the series I’ll give the next book a try. Can’t always judge a series based on the first book.
The Thief’s Daughter starts about a decade after the first installment. Owen is no longer the scared eight-year-old, but has a title. Though I’m not sure his brain caught up with his age because somehow he still seems much like he was in the last book (which I wasn’t a fan of). In fact, this sequel continued much of what I had a problem with in the last book.
These aren’t very memorable characters. There’s so much the author wants to tell you that it’s hard to keep it all straight. If there’s a manual to explain this world to me, or at least something I can reference while reading, that would be lovely. I never felt like anyone stood out in the “I’ll remember you when I’m done reading” sense. The only reason Owen really sticks is because he’s the protagonist.
Now I will say that because we’ve moved ahead almost ten years, the voice of the characters fits better. I felt it out-of-place in The Queen’s Poisoner but it’s found a better home with this installment.
A lot happens in The Thief’s Traitor but also nothing at the same time. If the plot had centered around a particular point or goal then perhaps I would care more about what was happening but instead we’re given a serious case of second-book-syndrome where it’s just fluff, filler before the next book comes around (actually it reminded me of Eldest from the Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini in that sense).
There’s a huge historical basis for this book and perhaps I missed out in school but it wasn’t anything I was familiar with (in fact, I didn’t even realize it until after reading and hearing others speak of the book). So if you’re someone who likes fantasy drawn from history, this might be a viable reading choice for you.
We’re also given a romance of sorts that wasn’t really possible in the last book due to the character’s age. But I didn’t find myself shipping Owen and Elysabeth, to be honest, though I usually find myself shipping a rock and the ground if the writer’s good enough. And while the writing here is good (one of the positives of this series so far), I wasn’t feeling the romance. A strong friendship, yes, but nothing gave off that spark, or even a hint of heat (he’s what, seventeen now, right? I don’t think a little something — literally anything — would be out-of-sorts).
Of the two books so far, I’d say this one was an improvement on the last but I’m hesitant to keep reading these books. I believe there’s another time jump ahead which isn’t exactly something I’m looking forward to but perhaps the third time’s the charm?