Last Read of 2016: The Queen’s Poisoner
As 2016 was coming to a close, both my brother and I were panicking because we didn’t read the amount of books that we had planned for the year. Deciding that we just didn’t have the time to finish 5 books in 3 days, we decided to pick up a series and read it together. That series was the Kingfountain series by Jeff Wheeler.
I was easily convinced since the second book in this series had been in my TBR pile for months now and the covers all looked NICE.and if anything I’m a sucker for a nice cover (Lol) Plus, the book was short enough where I knew I could fit it in with my nighttime fanfiction reading and daytime job.
Lord Kiskaddon was to aid the King’s army at Tatton Hall in a battle against invaders, but believing King Severn’s rule to be over, Lord Kiskaddon disobeyed orders in hopes of rallying favor with the new king…and was charged for treason. A day later he’s back home to bring tragic news to his wife: their son, who had been held as hostage by the King, was now dead, and they had to hand over another of their children to him.
Having no choice, Lady Kiskaddon sends her youngest son, Owen, in hopes that his life will be spared once more, as it had been during his birth.
I am not sure how I feel about this book.
If anything I would compare it to the feeling that I got after finishing Bakuman: it was good, but also what did I just read? I’ll try not to spoil the story~
The Queen’s Poisoner is the first book in a 4 book series and that was something I had very present in my mind when I started reading. 20 pages in….30…40…60…100…what was this book about? When were we going to get something exciting? That’s how I felt when I started reading this.
Our protagonist is Owen and we’re told this story via his 8 year old POV. A story about deception, magical abilities, and politics. I initially thought there would be a timeskip because I just couldn’t see this working. Of course, once Ankarette, the Queen’s Poisoner, was introduced, the story started to move along. Without her there, this story wouldn’t have been possible.
And the point was deceiving the King into believing Owen had the power to see the future so that Owen and his family could survive.
I wasn’t really a big fan of Owen. When we first met him, we learned that he was a sickly child who had been stillborn but some magic (the Fountain, his parents believed) saved him. He’d often cry, be extremely scared, and was just a child. I really didn’t think he could fit in the book. But as the story progresses, he does become braver and I especially liked how the book didn’t feel like a grown up trying to write as a child.
We also got to meet 3 other main characters. One of them was Mancini, a member of the Espion, who I didn’t really pay attention to until he actually made an appearance. In between chapters we actually got to read part of his diary. I was pretty indifferent about him. No I didn’t hate him, but I also didn’t like him. Though I did like that he was the most transparent of all the characters. We knew what he was after, knew what could sway him, and knew he’d be loyal with the right incentive.
My favorites were probably Ankarette and Evie. Ankarette I really liked because she was the mastermind of the whole story. She was the one who trained Owen, thought up a plan to save his life, and manipulated everyone. And it’s probably because I couldn’t figure out what her intentions were that I’m slightly obsessed with her!
Evie is actually another child that’s introduced and I really liked her personality. She was bold, brave, trustworthy, and was never afraid to voice her thoughts, but I felt her place in the story wasn’t…significant? It almost felt like she was there only to make Owen brave, since he’d gain courage when holding her hand or looking at her determined eyes.
There were quite a few more characters I was interested in like Owen’s parents (and why they betrayed the King) and the King. There were so many rumors tied to his person and I just wanted to know more about them. All we do learn, however, is that he wasn’t guilty of the crimes he was charged for (killing his nephews, forcefully taking the throne, going after his niece).
The story is very slow and the exciting moments are rare and short. The characters don’t feel important enough (like Evie only being there to help Owen be brave or Ankarette to plot the King’s deception) and the main character doesn’t do anything important. Or anything to move me (if he’d died I wouldn’t have cared)
The ending ties basically all the plot points and doesn’t give the reader any idea of what the next book could be about. If I hadn’t known this was a series, I would have stopped here. It feels like a stand alone.
The only exception to this might be the queen at the sanctuary (but she never made a reappearance after Owen tried to escape the King) and the prophecy of the real king coming to Ceredigion and reclaiming the throne.
I am going to read the second book because I am a bit curious as to where it’s going to go but if it’s anything like Book 1, I doubt I’ll like it much. To be honest, the book I am excited about reading is The Maid’s War, which focuses on Ankarette’s story and out of everyone, I was mostly invested in her.
I gave this a 3/5 on Goodreads
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