Virginia Boecker’s The King Slayer definitely improved my opinion of this series. I enjoyed the first book, The Witch Hunter, well enough, but it was a bit of a lightweight entry in a genre that grows more impressive every day. The second installment adds some much needed oomph.
An action-packed and suspenseful sequel to The Witch Hunter, perfect for fans of Graceling and the Grisha Trilogy.
“I think, in time, you’ll either be my greatest mistake or my greatest victory.”
Former witch hunter Elizabeth Grey is hiding within the magically protected village of Harrow, evading the price put on her head by Lord Blackwell, the usurper king of Anglia. Their last encounter left Blackwell ruined, but his thirst for power grows stronger every day. He’s readying for a war against those who would resist his rule–namely Elizabeth and the witches and wizards she now calls her allies.
Having lost her stigma, a magical source of protection and healing, Elizabeth’s strength is tested both physically and emotionally. War always means sacrifice, and as the lines between good and evil blur once more, Elizabeth must decide just how far she’ll go to save those she loves.
“[Filled] with everything a good fantasy book needs: swords, poison, black magic, and betrayal.”–April Tucholke, author of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, on The Witch Hunter
Picking up shortly where the first book left off, The King Slayer doesn’t waste much time before introducing new conflicts and revealing some surprising fallout from Elizabeth’s somewhat disastrous confrontation with Lord Blackwell. Relationships old and new continue to evolve in this story, and, while they may not have been what I expected, I found myself very pleased by the conflicts and resolutions that The King Slayer offered. I particularly enjoyed the fact that Elizabeth’s character was forced to struggle with limitations she never expected to face again, and that struggle made her a much more relatable character this go round. I honestly believe this is the stronger book of the two because, though I enjoyed The Witch Hunter well enough, it felt a little lacking in complexity, and I remember thinking the climax came a little too quickly. The King Slayer does not suffer from those issues. Overall, fans of The Witch Hunter are going to be delighted, and those who were a little less impressed by it will certainly be glad they gave this series another chance. Language and situations are appropriate for grades 8+.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.