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Aodren: A lonely, young king, searching for a way to dismantle his father’s dark legacy.

Lirra: A girl with the power to control the wind, torn between duty and following her dreams

For twenty years, Channelers—women with a magical ability—have been persecuted in Malam by those without magic. Now King Aodren wants to end the bloody divide and unite his kingdom. But decades of hatred can’t be overcome by issuing decrees, and rumors of a deadly Channeler-made substance are only fueling people’s fears. Lirra has every reason to distrust Aodren. Yet when he asks for help to discover the truth behind the rumors, she can’t say no. With Lirra by his side, Aodren sees a way forward for his people. But can he rewrite the mistakes of the past before his enemies destroy the world he’s working so hard to rebuild?

464 pages, Hardcover

First published December 4, 2018

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About the author

Erin Summerill

7 books1,039 followers
Erin Calabio Summerill claims Hawaii as her ancestral land, and England as her birthplace. She grew up as an Air Force brat on bases in Hawaii, California and England. After graduating with a B.A. in English from Brigham Young University, Erin taught high school English in Hawaii while starting a career as a professional photographer and aspiring to become a novelist. Erin's photography has received critical acclaim, and has been featured in national and international publications. When she isn't capturing portraits, Erin is writing. Her YA fantasy, EVER THE HUNTED, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, was short-listed for the Beehive Book Award and is a Tome Con award winner. Erin and her family moved from Hawaii and settled in the Rocky Mountains where she now works as a novelist.

You can follower her on instagram: @erinsummerill
Or twitter: @erinsummerill

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5 stars
312 (23%)
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528 (38%)
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418 (30%)
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74 (5%)
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23 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 226 reviews
Profile Image for Dianne.
6,765 reviews579 followers
October 22, 2018
Together, two unlikely allies will try to bring in a new world of peace and trust while righting the wrongs of the past. As the young king, Aodren and a young channeler, Lirra struggle with their emotions, the political machinations of the kingdom and the people’s fear of magic in any form, they will uncover who is behind the black market version of a magical healing potion. But will they be in time to save its victims?

Told in two POVs, Erin Summerill takes us into another world in ONCE A KING where we can get lost in a story so well-told, we can forget this isn’t real. Wonderful characters, good, evil and misguided will take center stage in scenes that are vibrant and alive. The tentative friendship between Lirra and Aodren is so positive and so realistic, especially when their misunderstandings or misconceptions lead to personal enlightenment and trust.

If you like characters that work against the odds for a brighter future and acceptance of all, this tale is sure to have you, hook, line and sinker! Definitely can be read as a standalone to this series, so newbies like me can sit back and never feel lost!

I received a complimentary ARC edition from HMH Books for Young Readers
Expected publication: December 4th 2018 by HMH Books for Young Readers

Series: A Clash of Kingdoms - Book 3
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (December 4, 2018)
Publication Date: December 4, 2018
Genre: Fantasy YA
Print Length: 464 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
For Reviews, Giveaways, Fabulous Book News, follow: http://tometender.blogspot.com
Profile Image for Cindy ✩☽♔.
948 reviews769 followers
Want to read
April 7, 2018
Cover reveal and synopsis has been shared, my friends! Can't say I'm in love with it but it is reminiscent of the original duology. Although I do like the bit on the cover that says, "One secret can corrupt a realm"

Also, my boy Aodren is in fact back! Along with Lirra, who I also liked from the original, so hopefully, this will be better than its predecessor.
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Sidenote: I feel an Aodren and Lirra pairing coming on, and I'm game.
OMG, is my dear Aodren finally going to get a story all his own? If so, then I am 100% in. He was the only character I fully enjoyed from the previous series.
Profile Image for Luca.
79 reviews56 followers
May 1, 2018
The nation of Malam has been divided for years as its people without magical abilities oppressed and harassed those who are magically gifted called Channelers. Now that there is a new king, the young King Aodren, the nation finds itself standing at a crossroads. King Aodren wants to reunite the people of his country, but cannot do so alone. His people, on the other hand, are still wary of one another. Luckily Aodren gets unexpected help from Lirra, a girl who has every reason to fear standing up for Malam but does so anyway.

Once a King is the third book in the A Clash of Kingdoms series. For some reason, this was something I overlooked and I read this book without having read the previous two books. It turned out that you can do that easily. Other than a few remarks from the characters to the events in the previous book this book tells a solid story of its own.

The main characters Aodren and Lirra are well written and feel natural because they are not without flaws. The supporting characters, on the other hand, left me with some questions. I think this is mostly because I indeed did not read the previous two books, but I think that especially Orli could do with a fourth book.

The story itself might be a bit cliché. I mean, revolution, an evil villain who tries to prevent the revolution, and a romance are the main themes. Also, it was halfway through the book when I was sure who the villain was going to be, and this indeed proved to be the case. Yet, it was worth reading and I even shed a few tears at the end.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are entirely my own. My review is susceptible to changes in the final copy of this work.

My rating for this book is 4 out of 5 stars. Highly admirable that the third book in a series does so well on its own!
Profile Image for Cori Reed.
1,135 reviews380 followers
January 13, 2019
I was put off knowing that this was book three in a series, but really it was a companion story. That said! I liked it the best out of all three books! Fast paced, fun, and so much intrigue! I think Erin Summerill just gets better.
Profile Image for Kathryn Purdie.
Author 9 books1,530 followers
May 3, 2018
I was so happy when I found out Erin Summerill would be writing another book in the same world as EVER THE HUNTED, and the read did not disappoint, even with my super high expectations. King Aodren was one of my favorite characters from EVER THE BRAVE, and I'm so happy he got his own story--and such an amazing one! I highly recommend this book!
Profile Image for Jessica.
247 reviews
December 4, 2018
Nothing happens in this book.
Nothing kept me wanting to read more.
Nothing exciting kept me on the edge of my seat.

This book was literally paper with nothing on it.
Profile Image for Marissa.
208 reviews179 followers
February 7, 2019
3.5 stars

This was good. It wasn't great, but it was good. The characters were good. I had little to no qualms with them. I prefer King Aodren to Lyra, but both were pretty interesting. The plot was slow at times, and I probably should've read the first two books before going into this one, but I heard that this could be read as a standalone as well as the fact that I never had, and still don't have, any interest in picking up Ever the Hunted. So it might be my fault that I didn't enjoy this more but oh well. I still had a fun time reading this; it just didn't blow my mind or anything.
Profile Image for Sara Larson.
Author 9 books1,860 followers
May 2, 2018
I loved learning more about these characters and this world! Erin has done it again with another fantastic book!! I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!
Profile Image for Melissa.
2,158 reviews204 followers
September 9, 2019
I read this without reading the others. I think it would have added to this if I had read the others first. I probably would have been more involved in the characters. This is a great YA set. I would recommend these to any YA who likes spying, far off kingdoms, magic, princess and court intrigue. I would have loved these as a young adult. They fit in right next to Shannon Hale Goose Girl, Chanters of Tremaris series, First Truth Series and many others I love like this. As a older reader I look for deeper emotion and a bit more depth to the story's I read. So that is why there is a star missing, it just didn't hit all my needs. I will be telling the youth that I know to pick this series up.
Sex: None, some kissing but nothing over done. Not really a romance, it was just part of the story.
Violence: There is a death, poisoning, a kind of drug use where they were enhancing there performance. There was fights and the bad guy does hit our leading lady in the face. Nothing is over detailed except her anxiety about being shut in small spaces.
Language: There is a couple of light swear words.
Profile Image for Jill Williamson.
Author 49 books1,414 followers
November 26, 2019
I really enjoyed this story. I listened to the audio book and the narrator was absolutely incredible. She did so many different voices, it amazed me. I don't know how she kept them all straight, but she was brilliant. I enjoyed the story as well. I liked the main characters and the mystery of what was going on. The end did have a couple of very convenient moments of eavesdropping, without which the story wouldn't have worked out. One convenient moment of eavesdropping is okay in a novel, but there were a few too many and that was the only reason I knocked this story down a star. It was thoroughly entertaining, and I'm curious to read more from this author.
Profile Image for Brie.
299 reviews56 followers
December 5, 2018
I loved this book! Full review to come

Update: 12/5/18-
You know those books where you enjoyed them so much and then a sequel or spin off comes out and you think to yourself "there's no way this can meet my expectations"? Well that was me when I heard that the Clash of Kingdoms series was getting another book. I was both excited and nervous to read it. I'm not going to lie, I basically begged for an early copy of the book. Like I said, I loved the first 2 and couldn't wait to read ONCE A KING. Nerves and all! The publishers were gracious enough to send and advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

"If you want to bring about change, all you need to be is a voice. A voice loud enough to start a storm."

Aodren was one of my favorite characters in the Ever the Hunted/Brave books and I was thrilled to find out he would be getting his own story. ONCE A KING picks up shortly after the ending of Ever the Brave. Still adjusting to his new leadership role as king of Malam, Aodren has a lot to learn. All the kingdoms gather for The Tournament of Champions, hostility rises when the kingdom is plagued by a dangerous and sometimes deadly drug, created from magic, known as Sanguine. A drug that is supposed to have extraordinary healing properties. Aodren, requests the help of Lirra, the archtraitors daughter and a Channeler, who may have valuable information. I found the tension, witty banter and relationship between the new king and Lirra to be quite entertaining. Lirra holds a grudge against King Aodren for the sins of his father, while Aodren is simply trying to right all the wrongs done to her and others like her.

"There isn't one of us whose kingdom has a spotless history. My people's shame is merely more recent."

ONCE A KING is a story in a medieval setting, full of magic, suspense, action and political intrigue. The book is written through dual POV's which I always thinks adds depth to a novel. The pages are filled with Erin's fantastical storytelling and beautiful prose. There was enough mystery to keep me turning page after page, desperate for more. Easily one of my favorite reads this year and it left me with a terrible book hangover.

"Hate never listens to new laws"
Profile Image for Stacie (Shy Book Nerd).
388 reviews87 followers
November 5, 2018
This was by far my favorite in the series. I know it’s technically a spin-off from the first two books, but it felt more like a final ending to the series. I think I also liked this a lot more because it was about my favorite character, Aodren. I loved him and I was glad to see him fight for his cause for peace. That and I liked that he had a love interest that wasn’t just one sided. He needs some love in his life, haha. Overall, I felt this was a good conclusion to the loose ends from the last book, Ever the Brave. I also loved reading about my favorite characters Aodren and Leif again.
Profile Image for Pintip Dunn.
Author 11 books986 followers
May 2, 2018
Prepare your heart for the swooniest king in all the lands! WIth poignant prose and intricate worldbuilding, ONCE A KING casts its spell from the very first pages. Fly - don't walk - to sweep up this soaring tale.
Profile Image for Jackie.
760 reviews24 followers
May 29, 2019
I bought this book by accident. It’s the third in the series which made it harder to get into since I didn’t know the backstories
Profile Image for Rae .
301 reviews73 followers
November 17, 2018
Once a King by Erin Summerill leaves off where Ever the Brave left off. With King Aodren in control of the kingdom, he works to fight off the reputation his father left behind. Lirra, a channeler with the power to control the wind, finds her life entangled with King Aodren's. They must work together to forge a new path in a divided nation.

Unfortunately I was woefully disappointed by this book. I really enjoyed Ever the Brave, but Once a King felt shallow and uninspired. I had a time engaging in the story, and I found myself clock-watching while reading it. The pacing was okay, but since the story felt so simple, I never got hooked.

The story concept was interesting. I like the idea of channelers and the divided nation. Aodren had a lot to overcome to put to rest his father's legacy, and he puts a lot on the line to win the faith and loyalty of both sides.

Lirra's role in the story and her job as an assistant to her father could have been developed further. It was an intriguing concept but lacked depth. I wanted to know more. I wanted more subterfuge, more mystery, more nefariousness. Her character could have been rich and interesting, but she came off as rather blah.

The ending was fine. It was a typical fairytale ending. It wasn't a knockout ending, but it wasn't bad either. 

The characters in general were mediocre. I would label them as standard off-the-shelf characters. Nothing set them apart or made them unique. They were just kind of there.

Now, if you've read the other two books in the trilogy, of course I'm going to recommend you read this one. I like closure, and I can't not read the last book in a trilogy if I've already read the first two. If you've never picked up this trilogy, my recommendation is on the fence. It's not bad, but there are other (more exciting!) young adult fantasy trilogies out there.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing the Kindle version of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Melissa (thereaderandthechef).
529 reviews169 followers
November 15, 2018
I ADORED this book. How can one not fall with King Aodren and Lirra? They are both such great characters that I helplessly fell in love with. I SHIP THEM ALL THE WAY, OKAY? As someone who never agreed to Aodren being with the other character from Ever the Brave, I am super glad Erin Summerill had other plans for Aodren.

BUT NOW I NEED MORE. I need more of Lirra and Aodren, it cannot possibly be the end!!! And I *think* there might be more so YAYYYYY.

To keep it short and sweet: READ ONCE A KING. Don't pass up on this book, please! It's totally amazing and fun and swoony. I fangirled throughout the book and I know many will love it too. ♥♥♥

Full review to come soon. I SWEAR.
Profile Image for E.L. Irwin.
Author 5 books120 followers
April 27, 2019
So, I actually won a copy of this book from a giveaway here on Goodreads. And as I hadn’t read the first two books, I had to go buy them right away. I’ve now read the first one and loved it, I’m looking forward to the second one, and then this one. I’ll update this review once I’m finished.... 😊
Profile Image for Jenny Jo Weir.
1,545 reviews78 followers
March 29, 2020
I'm glad I came back to this series. Even though I liked the first two books, much more than this one, I still enjoyed it and thought it was a good read...I just loved the first two so much! I will say, I'm glad how things played out and I liked the conclusion. Good series!
Profile Image for Tara (Spinatale Reviews).
555 reviews50 followers
December 26, 2018
I really enjoyed the original duology and Once A King was such a wonderful addition! I loved how it focused on different characters and gave us a different perspective on the world. Plus there’s a wonderful hate-to-love romance. Even if you haven’t read the original duology, I think you’ll still enjoy this one (Although, fair warning, there are some spoilers).

*Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Profile Image for Shelley.
5,103 reviews458 followers
November 28, 2018
*Source* Publisher
*Genre* Young Adult, Fantasy
*Rating* 3.5


Once A King, by author Erin Summerill, is the third installment in the authors Clash of Kingdoms series. For those who have not read Ever the Hunted, or Ever the Brave, this story actually takes place shortly after the end of the second book in the series. The story is told through the split narratives of Lirra Barrett and Malam King Aodren, both of whom have unique personalities that totally come through. The chemistry between Aodren and Lirra is electric. Readers will love their building tension and slow-burn romance.

*Full Review @ Gizmos Review*

Profile Image for Nicole (FearYourEx).
371 reviews62 followers
November 14, 2018
4/5 Stars!

I received Once a King as an e-galley from the publisher via NetGalley.

I liked that the story of Once a King takes place so soon after the events of Ever the Hunted, yet does not include Britta. She is mentioned a couple times but isn't in the book. Which I think was a great idea to have her off on her own enjoying her happily ever after.

At first I wasn't the biggest fan of Aodren but as the story progressed I started to like him more and more. I liked that even though he's a long he's fighting his own battles. And working on fixing the chasm of division with the people in Malam.

I think the best part of Erin's writing is how well she makes sure even the side characters are humanized and that we actually feel for them, even if they have tiny parts.

I do highly recommend you read Ever the Brave and Ever the Hunted first, and I would recommend this book.
Profile Image for Kira.
13 reviews1 follower
February 25, 2019
I LOVED this book! Great story, great characters, great character development, great romance, great political intrigue, great fight scenes, great culture building, and fabulous magic system (among other things).

This is the third book in the series. I love watching new authors progress in their skillset from book to book - and she really surprised me with making huge leaps and bounds between her first and second books. But her improvement was even more drastic from the second to the third book. This is an author who is definitely going places with her writing and I can't wait to read her next book!

I enjoyed this book so much I somehow devoured it in two days with a toddler running around! Even though it's the third book in the series and is a definite continuation of the story, it works well as a stand-alone and can be read on its own without having read the first two. And the first two can be read as a duology without reading the third. But I highly recommend reading all three, as the overall story is wonderful and intriguing and magical and well worth the read.
Profile Image for Anca.
257 reviews18 followers
September 16, 2019
I was very much anticipating Once a King after reading the first 2 books in the series. Ever the Hunted and Ever the Brave left me wanting more, especially when I did not like Britta or Cohen. Aodren seemed like a godsend in the series and I just adored his character so much. So of course I was THRILLED when Summerhill dedicated an entire book to him.

However, Once a King fell flat, because nothing really happens. For 464 pages. I mean, yes some things happen, but nothing that really keeps my attention. I keep checking to see how much time I had left in the book because I was eager to just finish it.

Lirra could have been interesting but she is eventually reduced to a love interest. That is it.

Aodren, who should have been wonderful, was boring. Where was his charming personality? And maybe that is because he didn't do anything other than pine over Lirra.

Also the chemistry between the two felt forced. There was no slow burning or enemies to lovers.

Yes, we had some mystery that our lead protagonists partnered up to figure out, but it just wasn't enough. It was almost as though the author wrote this novel because everyone loved Aodren and everyone wanted to see him getting a happy ending.
Profile Image for Tim.
862 reviews14 followers
March 9, 2021
"A voice loud enough to start a storm."

First of all: such a shame that Britta is not present in this book. She's mentioned once, yes, but that's not enough.

Thank the gods that Lirra and Aodren are also some very lovable characters - something which was already obvious in the other two books, of course. That's probably why I like this book better than its predecessor, Ever the Brave, which has always slightly disappointed me a bit after Ever the Hunted's sheer awesomeness. But this book makes up for that, even if the storyline is totally different from the other parts in A Clash of Kingdoms. There's tension running and written all over the pages, it never ceases to amaze.

The way the book is divided into chapters from Lirra's and Aodren's point of views somehow works brilliantly as well. Sometimes, they overlap a bit, at other times there are some relatively big time jumps. But it all fits together.

By the by, can I just say what a fantastic series name that is?!

So glad that we end this series with a bang!

Average rating for the series: 8.23/10
Profile Image for Kris Mauna.
503 reviews49 followers
December 23, 2018
Set in the same world as the previous books in A Clash of Kingdoms series comes a new adventure featuring everyone’s favorite king! Get ready to swoon, scream, and cheer because King Aodren and Lirra are here to fight for both the people they love and readers’ hearts.

"I tell my boys that the dark is nothing to fret over. It's just the light wearing a thick cloak."

Once a King begins right where Ever the Brave left off, but don’t worry this is considered a standalone book. Having read the previous books in this series, it did make it easy for me to fall back into this world and even enjoy characters that get mentioned. I loved both King Aodren and Lirra from the previous books so I was stoked when I heard that this would be told through their POVs!

"If you want to bring about change, all you need to be is a voice. A voice loud enough to start a storm."

Lirra is confident, independent, and driven. She’s a Channeler (women who have influence over one energy it being land, air, fire, water, or spirit) who can control the wind. She has dreams of performing in this year’s jubilee during the summit where all the kingdoms come together to show off her glider invention. But unfortunately, her father who is Malam’s Archtraitor, is currently in the business of selling secrets and Lirra has a duty to help him with it. She is incredibly loyal to the people she loves so of course this causes conflict in her life.

"The man has flaws, but his appearance is definitely not one of them. His irritatingly perfect face may as well have been carved from an artist's marble."

Then there’s King Aodren. My precious Aodren. He’s the youngest ruler and after the events from the previous books, he’s now left to unite the people of Malam. How can he get his people to accept Channelers after decades of being prejudice towards them? I loved reading from Aodren’s POV because it was touching how much he truly cares about all his people and how he only wants the best for Malam. He is such a pure character.

King Aodren and Lirra’s lives eventually intertwine and with each other’s help they hope to fight for what they want in life and the people they love. Their chemistry is unreal, too. I was a little curious of how they would mesh when I first heard about Once a King, but the romance was perfection! It was honest, real, and the slowest burn.

"It feels like we are two damaged ships at sea amidst a swell threatening to sink us, when all we really need to survive is each other."

There is plenty of schemes, action (a lot of fun scenes once the summit begins), and magic! The plot was a lot more fun than previous books as well. Erin Summerill’s writing has grown since I first picked up Ever the Hunted. There are great description and the characters in this book were relatable. I love when an author’s writing can make me feel as if I’m on an adventure with friends and that’s exactly what Summerill did for me.

Overall, I really enjoyed Once a King! Everything wraps up nicely, not too outrageously perfect but satisfying. I wish I could have spent more time with Aodren and Lirra! The message behind Aodren’s hope for the future of his kingdom was inspiring. I just loved it all. If you’re in the mood for a great fantasy story with fun characters then pick this book up.

| review originally posted on Bookstacked |
155 reviews2 followers
February 7, 2019
This book takes place in the world of five kingdoms created in the previous two books, Ever the Hunted and Ever the Brave. It is best read after these books, but it can also be read as a standalone.
King Aodren is doing everything he can to reunite his kingdom after repealing the law declaring a purge of all Channelers, women who can perform magic. He wants the Channelers to move back into his kingdom, Malam, so in order to win the trust of his people, he sets out to win the cup in the upcoming tournament between the five kingdoms. He enlists the help of Lirra, the girl who saved his life in the previous book, by asking her to sneak him into the tournament when his champion is gravely injured. Soon, both of them are after information about the people who are selling a deadly potion that is being marketed as Sanguine, the fluid that heals badly injured people. When people begin dying, Aodren and Lirra will have to find the perpetrators before it's too late, but along the way they also will discover more about themselves and each other.
I enjoyed this book very much. The world building was realistic and drew me into the story almost immediately. The plot was so interesting to me that I couldn't stop reading. The relationship between Aodren and Lirra was sweet and was the slow burning romance I expected for a suspenseful fantasy. There were many funny moments to balance out the action, and I laughed out loud several times. I was reminded of the Middle Ages as I read, especially during the tournament scenes and the sneaking around Lirra and Aodren had to do throughout the book. I definitely have to go back and read the previous two books because I loved this book, and I am looking forward to the next book Erin Summerill writes. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good fantasy and adventure.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. A positive review was not required, and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.
Profile Image for Kat.
248 reviews1 follower
March 5, 2019
Once a King reads less like the third book in a trilogy and more like the first book in a spin off series, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing given my general bland feelings about the series thus far. I feel like the plot overall was much more engaging, a lot happened and it felt more like a well rounded story. I really liked all the characters as well. They mostly all had been introduced in the first two books, albeit briefly for several characters, and I found them to be more well rounded. I liked Lirra a lot, I think she was a very good choice for main character. Her motivations and values were all very believable and I like that she was useful and pushed the plot forward the entire time, unlike Britta who sometimes took from the story. Aodren was still very likable and developed, I’m glad he was back for this book. I’m even more glad that their romance wasn’t overwhelming and intoxicating. I also think the villain was a much better choice than the first two books. They were a lot less predictable and more understandable. The writing was also greatly improved. I don’t feel like this story really dragged on and the pacing was well done, unlike the first book. In the end, while I liked this book more than the first two, I still don’t think it deserves more than 3.5 stars.
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