An action-packed and suspenseful sequel to The Witch Hunter, perfect for fans of Graceling and the Grisha Trilogy.
"I think, in time, you'll either be my greatest mistake or my greatest victory."
Former witch hunter Elizabeth Grey is hiding within the magically protected village of Harrow, evading the price put on her head by Lord Blackwell, the usurper king of Anglia. Their last encounter left Blackwell ruined, but his thirst for power grows stronger every day. He's readying for a war against those who would resist his rule--namely Elizabeth and the witches and wizards she now calls her allies.
Having lost her stigma, a magical source of protection and healing, Elizabeth's strength is tested both physically and emotionally. War always means sacrifice, and as the lines between good and evil blur once more, Elizabeth must decide just how far she'll go to save those she loves.
"[Filled] with everything a good fantasy book needs: swords, poison, black magic, and betrayal."--April Tucholke, author of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, on The Witch Hunter.
I received this ARC while at BEA last month, I was in no way compensated for this review.
Virginia Boecker wraps up her Witch Hunter duology with The King Slayer and boy, does it go out with a punch! It was incredibly exciting with so much intensity that I had to savor the moments! Plus, I was also sad to know that it was all coming to an end already! I think that's the downside to duologies these days.
It's so hard to dive back into a book series that you read as an ARC last year, and before one started taking copious and detailed notes! So naturally, I did my fumbling around a bit as I tried to get used to all the characters and re-familiarize myself with them all. Basically, the important details are taht Blackwell, the now "king" and all around bad guy, needs to die! Elizabeth, a once witch hunter and then persecuted for being a witch, works with her friends in trying to put an end to Blackwell's tyranny. And it's also important to remember what Elizabeth gave up to save John, and that was her stigma, the symbol on her back that allowed her to be the powerful kick-butt heroine she always was!
There's a lot of intensity to this one! We know we have a deadline to kill Blackwell, of sorts, and that that time is coming closer and closer. But there are other problems that have to be dealt with, such as the sudden change in John's behavior. It's like he's turning darkside on us. And more importantly, on Elizabeth. There's the worst kind of tension between them. And Elizabeth is at a loss what to do to bring the old John back, the one he was before he received the stigma, but to take it away from him would mean to kill him. And that's not something she's even ready to contemplate.
I felt like this one was very character focused in some ways. And I have to say, that I am happy with that! The plot still moves forward, don't get me wrong. We're still gunning to get rid of Blackwell, but along the way to that point, we are seeing a lot of character development! And so much seems to have changed from the way the characters were from the first book! Which granted, is expected, but still, in some ways you kind of think they'll be the same, but oh that notion gets put to rest!
What I really liked was how the romance between Elizabeth and John is kind of in the background. Granted, there are those stolen kisses between moments, but for the most part, romance is the last thing on their minds! And also to mention, these two do hit a rough patch for the majority of the novel and it really puts things into dire predicaments for the two.
The pacing was pretty spot on for the most part. We're moving forward at a gradual pace towards the end goal, but at the same time, other things are happening. Events that might detract them from their goal, but it leads to oh so many wonderful action packed moments! Not to mention a few surprises that get revealed along the way that just leave you gaping in shock!
The ending was pretty shocking as well! I was taken by surprise for a moment from one action, but then I thought it might have to go another way. And sure enough I was right~ LOL! Vague enough? Those kinds of twists always delight me! I like that moment of surprise! One that's so forceful and changes everything, but then yet another twist comes along and mucks it all up! It's complicated to explain for sure, but it's a delight to read!
The King Slayer was a fascinating conclusion to the Witch Hunter duology! It's got everything a reader could need from action to romance, and all the other elements in between, like magic and humor, to name a few! It's a different kind of read for me, for it's a rare treat to find that sort of Paranormal Historical Fiction kind of read, adding that it's YA as well just makes it even more remarkable I think! This series has it all!
Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars--just a little off the top for my initial confusion over what's already happened! Thankfully, I'm taking better notes from now on and won't be having this problem again!
The King Slayer releases June 14, 2016