The King’s Questioner is a perfectly adequate book. Yep, that’s the blurb for this review.
Rating: 2.5 Stars
An eARC of this book was provided to me by the publisher via Edelweiss. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are completely my own and not influenced in anyway. Thank you to Swoon Reads and Edelweiss for giving me the opportunity to read this one early!
The King’s Questioner
Author: Nikki Katz
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Release Date: January 14, 2020
Synopsis: 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 is 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’s 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.
The King’s Questioner is an okay YA fantasy. It’s not amazing, it’s not terrible. It’s just okay. And while for some, a just okay book is not okay, I mostly enjoyed the read. Sometimes we get bogged down in epic tales of epic heroes and their tragically epic love stories and we just need a quick, easy read to reset our reading selves. That’s what the King’s Questioner is: a palate cleanser.
Set in the fictional world of Mureau, we follow Kalen, as he and a group of friends fight to save their kingdom from an infectious dark magic that effects emotions. Kalen is “cursed” with a magic that lets him enter people’s minds and see all their thoughts and secrets. Using this power, Kalen begins to uncover a plot to over through his king and unearth shocking secrets that could destroy his world. With the help of Luna, his childhood friend and thief extraordinaire, and Cirrus, the crown prince of Mureau, Kalen travels to (insert country here) to find the source of the dark magic and destroy it.
While the idea of the story is intriguing, it is never fully developed. While I said that a quick, easy read is what we need sometimes, that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t let down by bare bones world and character building. So much of this book is fast paced that we never get a minute to have a real look at the characters or the world around them. The magic system is not much of a system. It’s more of one character can do this one thing and another can do this other thing and magic is frowned upon. Except for a few random comments, there was no real exploration of how the magic really worked or how it affected the world around them.
All told, I’m still glad I read this book. It didn’t challenge me, it just let me go along for the journey. From a critical stand point I’d give the book 2 stars, from an enjoyment stand point I’d give it 3 stars. Take the average and you get my 2.5 star rating. I think that the author has a lot of potential, and if given the chance to build deeper world/characters, she just might knock my socks off one day.