I finally read Queenslayer! If you would like to know what I thought about the others in the series my reviews for the previous four, I have non-spoiler reviews starting here, and spoiler filled thoughts while reading here.
Author: Sebastien De Castell
Series: Spellslinger #5
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 46
(see breakdown below)
Kellen and Reichis have just finished fighting a duel in the desert when Kellen inadvertently smears blood on the Daroman flag – an act of treason for which the Marshals have no choice but to arrest him. Just before he’s put before the Queen to be executed, Kellen is given a strange piece of advice from one of his fellow prisoners: kill the Queen and he’ll be given clemency by those who take power. But when Kellen comes face-to-face with the eleven year-old monarch, he realises she’s vastly smarter than he expected – and in a great deal more danger.
Oh this series got dark and quickly that this book warrants some trigger warnings so if you are a much younger reader or if you are sensitive to these topics I would hold off on reading this instalment.
Content Warning: This instalment contains scenes of extreme coercion, lose of physical autonomy and attempted rape, on page. There is also scenes discussing physical torture of a young child. If you are sensitive to these topics this may not be the book for you.
De Castell has done it again and written another instalment that just drags me in and doesn’t let go. His world building is impeccable, as usual, this time taking the reader to the Daroman empire. It is a slightly slower paced novel than previous in the series, focusing more on the political machinations and manoeuvrings of the royal court. It tests Kellen’s wits a lot more, forcing him to grow up and assume some more responsibility for his actions now that he is 18. In turn this heralds a much darker tone. He is no longer treated as a petulant child by many of the characters and instead finds himself in some quite dark situations that change the overall tone of the series moving forward.
Of course, this more serious darker tones are interspersed with the action packed battles and witty banter between Kellen and Reichis that we have come to expect from the series. The balance of the darker, even shocking (there is an attempted rape scene on page, and includes scenes of lose of autonomy and physical control of ones body which some may find disturbing), moments with the comic relief and genuine emotional scenes is just perfect. It’s something De Castell has mastered.
It does suffer a little from middle book syndrome, it is most definitely setting up the end-game in terms of the overarching plot. However, the central plot of this book was a little dull – compared to previous in the series. For me it suffered with the lack of Ferius and Nephenia and I dearly hope they make a return for the finale. Saying that, I still very much enjoyed it and cant wait for Crownbreaker in October