Based on the blurb and the cover, readers are expecting King Callie to be a book with a teen female protagonist fighting for her rightful claim to the throne. I was expecting a Queen of the Tearling or *fingers crossed* another Throne of Glass. Instead, this book is mostly the narrative of adult protagonists: the widowed queen working stealthily to give her daughter the throne, a couple of adult men fighting over power and an unfaithful woman, an adult seer who spends almost the entire story locked in a dungeon. Callie is not the primary focus of the book. She does not fight for her throne – she stands in the background or makes bad judgement calls that threaten everything. She experiences no significant growth, and by the end, it feels as though the battle axe that placed her on the throne has made a big mistake. If the road to victory didn’t test and harden her, what was the point? The plot was almost entirely political maneuvering, and I found it very dull. While my expectations were not met, I am sure there is an adult audience who wants to read a medieval political sword story. That crowd will not be attracted by the blurb, and that is a fatal flaw. Language and situations are okay for all audiences, but it just isn’t going to be an interesting read for all audiences. I gave it two stars and I gave myself a chocolate bar for reading this one all the way to the end.
Caliandra, the teenage princess of Barra, is in dire straits.
Not only did her fiancé break off their engagement and leave her for a richer woman, but Caliandra’s father is gravely ill – and if her brother Valric is unable to find the cure he’s set out for, their titles and wealth will disappear. Their father had been chosen as king by a magic axe, and when he passes on, so does the crown.
Soon, the worst befalls the princess – Valric turns up dead, her father succumbs to disease, and the axe goes missing, leaving the throne open for a coup by the devious Minister of War. Caliandra and her mother decide to risk everything on a desperate bid to find the axe and oust the Minister, driven by a prophecy that the proper King will take his place – Caliandra.
But when she finds out which trusted family friend betrayed her brother, will Caliandra’s thirst for revenge sabotage her only chance at the crown?
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.