Author: Jeff Wheeler
The Kingfountain Series
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Fiction, Magic
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.
I decided to try this book after being recommended it late last year (you can read more about that here).
Wheeler’s writing style appeals to me. Despite using ‘fancy’ words like “forsooth”, he is still able to keep the language accessible and this story was a quick and easy read. The magical world that the story is set in was also different enough to hold my interest, while also keeping some familiar tropes.
I did struggle a bit with the age of the main character. There seemed to be some inconsistencies in the way that Owen was portrayed in terms of his maturity and how he would handle situations. While he did grow throughout the story, it wasn’t always a linear development. Having Owen be 8 years old was a difficult ask. He was, I think, perhaps a bit too young? Other than obsessively playing with bricks (a ‘young’ thing to do), the rest of what he got up to could just have easily been done by say an 11 year old. The fact that he was playing with a girl who already knew she would marry Owen when she was older felt a little odd for them both to be so young. I’m not sure, it just didn’t seem to sit quite right with me.
While I haven’t picked up the next book in the series yet, I would like to read it. There is a jump in time for the next book which doesn’t leave me with the need to rush out and find out what happened next. That’s isn’t to say that a time jump is a bad thing. I think it will be helpful for Owen to have had some time to grow up a bit.