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The Hidden King

(The Coming of Áed #1)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  229 ratings  ·  113 reviews
Hidden truths. Hidden power. Hidden destiny.

On the shores of a rusty sea, in the streets of a starving city, a young man named Áed scraps to build a life for himself and the makeshift family he loves. Scarred by a trauma he cannot remember, and haunted by the brutal damage it left behind, he has no idea of the courage his future will demand.

When tragedy strikes, a d
Paperback, 316 pages
Published June 1st 2019 by E.G. Radcliff
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E.G. Radcliff It has some difficult scenes (loss, street fighting, an emotional but short torture scene), but no sex. I would say 14+ depending on your sensitivitie…moreIt has some difficult scenes (loss, street fighting, an emotional but short torture scene), but no sex. I would say 14+ depending on your sensitivities.(less)

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Average rating 4.21  · 
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 ·  229 ratings  ·  113 reviews

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Apr 28, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-unlimited
I thoroughly enjoyed this Celtic inspired fantasy which is the first in a series. Aed scrapes out a difficult life in the Maze, where he depends on Ninian and Ronan. His mother is long since gone, having left in the night with only a parting letter for him that Ninian read as Aed could not. When something terrible happens, Aed and Ronan are forced to journey to the nearby White City, and the novel becomes a coming-of-age journey where Aed discovers his true legacy and hidden powers. I really enj ...more
Rebecca Crunden
To chase a pretty story felt like foolishness when scraping by was hard enough, and the towering cliffs jutting up from the lowland presented another deadly discouragement. People told themselves that their lives were as good as they could ever be.

The Hidden King is the first in The Coming of Áed series, a fast-paced fantasy adventure that throws twists and turns with magical acumen. Not only does THK set up a fantastical world that the reader only gets a glimpse of in book one, but the char
Jul 15, 2020 rated it liked it
The Hidden King sounded like a pretty good book. Then once I dove into it, I was liking everything that I was reading. Yet, the pace was kind of a hot mess for me because it would go from fast to slow throughout the book. At least for me.. but I did still enjoy everything that was happening.

I'm also kind of jealous of all the pretty eye colors within this world. Not sure if they mean something or not but I would be a-okay with violet eyes. Maybe even pink? Just saying. Other than that, you do ge
Jun 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Hidden King is about, yes, you've guessed it, the hidden king. Shocking, I know.

Áed, a poor and illiterate boy from the Maze, lives with his partner and their adopted (sort of) son. An unexpected tragedy forces him to leave the place and seek refuge in the legendary White City, where he makes friends and enemies and discovers his secret origin. And powers. Although it sounds incredibly cliche, Radcliff's writing impressed me. I found the book polished, immersive, and engaging.

Radcliff's be
Yogaa Lakshmi
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-arcs
This book is a really well written book. It's adventurous, action-packed and the write influenced me in such a way that I was able to imagine myself from the main protagonist's shoes. The story revolves around a seventeen year old boy, Áed, who lives with his partner, Ninian and an orphaned boy, Ronan. The story is really well-written and is able to convey the right amount of feelings that the author wanted to convey. In short, this book is a fast-paced thrilling, coming-of-age adventure. I woul ...more
M.E. Aster
Jan 14, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: indie-books
The Hidden King is a must read for any fantasy fans!

Radcliff is a new to me author and I had been hearing so many good things about this series. It definitely lives up to the hype. Radcliff has a created a unique world here colored by their wonderful descriptions and characters.

Áed was a great main character. I connected to him instantly and I felt everything he was experiencing. His found family was so special and the bond he had with both Ninian and Ronan warmed my heart.

I don’t want to say
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
High fantasy, gritty danger, a promising city with a darker truth, a mad king, a heart-wrenching romance, and a spark of magic: it’s everything any fantasy reader could want.

The Hidden King is a one-night book: the kind I stay up way too late to finish because I simply must know what happens next. I found it impossible to put this book down; the plot is full of invigorating twists that kept the pages turning and my mind reeling.

There’s so much to love about this book, but my favorite aspect of
Mar 31, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf, 2020
1.5 out of 5

DNF-ed at 50%. I tried really hard to push through the book. I really, really did, but no matter how far I got I could just not click with book. There’s three main reasons I chose to DFN it. One: the premise was promising, but after a couple of chapter in and the very spoilery title, you sort of figure out the main conflict. Two: one main reason I chose to pick this up is because of my love for fae, and I had read through other reviews that they were featured here. But at 50% and fae
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received this as an ARC to read for free via Booksprout in exchange for my honest review.

From the time that I started The Hidden King, to the time that I finished, I was enthralled. E.G. Radcliff does a wonderful job at pulling you into the story and I found myself not wanting to put it down or wanting it to end.

This is a must read for any fan of high fantasy reads, YA or not. I cannot wait for the second book which will take us before the events of The Hidden King.
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to the publisher for allowing me an advanced copy of The Hidden King for an honest review!
I really enjoyed The Hidden King. I can't say it was a totally original story but that doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy it. It's a true rag to riches story that has themes from some of my favorite stories. Part Count Of Monti Cristo part Joseph from the bible, part Alladin. Aed is a street rat from the poor part of the world. Tragic circumstances send him on a journey with an end he could never im
Jesse Bailey
Sep 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Hidden King was a wonderful read to end my summer with. It's greatest strengths are its characters and prose, and goodness did I fall in love with the main character, Aed. The relationships in this book are where the author excels, bringing out relatable emotions between the characters, both heartwarming and heartwrenching.

I also applaud the author's choice for the queer romantic relationship featured. It's not super prominent, but at the same time, it's an important aspect of the story and
John St. Clair
May 01, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Hidden King was the selection for our monthly book club in April 2022. One of the reasons I love reading books chosen by other groups or people is that I am then forced to explore genres outside of my normal “go-to” favorites. I think this is a good thing—as I get to broaden my literary repertoire. This novel, which appears to be the first in a book trilogy, is fantasy and was a delight to read. The characters, especially the protagonist Áed, are rich and deep in development, and I genuinely ...more
Michele Quirke
Apr 29, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Hidden King was this month's choice for my book club and I've been really looking forward to it. Now that I've finished I'm happy to report that it was such a fun fantasy! Fae are in right now and this book delivered! Lots of action, mystery, magic, emotion, and secret royalty!

For me, the highlight of this book was the cast of characters. I really liked Aed, our protagonist. The way he took care of Ronan warmed my heart and I loved each scene those two were in together. Although the beginni
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading this novel. I think it's fantastic start to the series and opens a lot of avenues for development while still being a cohesive story unto itself.

The world-building is excellent, despite being centered in a relatively small geographical area. While we don't learn anything about the wider universe, this, at first glance, makes sense as no events involving outside forces have bearing on the narrative. Furthermore, the author retains the freedom to create those plotlines at
Halo Scot
Feb 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An extraordinarily addictive fantasy infused with beloved characters and Celtic mystique.


E.G. Radcliff has a new superfan in me. I heard about THE COMING OF ÁED on the Writing Community Chat Show (@writing_show), and the concept immediately enchanted me. It’s a Celtic-inspired dark fantasy with fae mythos and Leigh Bardugo, Holly Black, and V.E. Schwab vibes. I’ve visited Ireland and lived in Scotland, and Radcliff perfectl
Anya Pavelle
Jun 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm so happy I found this series! I love anything to do with Celtic mythology and the fae, so this book was a pleasure to read because of the world building and themes. The author's descriptions are beautiful and, at times, haunting. The characters are also fully fleshed out, which helped me empathize with their struggles. Although the series is marked as being for a YA audience, I believe adults who enjoy fantasy will love the series, too. ...more
Jon Ford
Aug 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jon-s-books
The Hidden King is the story of Aed. Struggling to make a good life for himself, his love Ninian and their adopted ward, Ronan, his life is thrown into chaos when tragedy strikes and forces them to leave their home in The Maze and head to the White City in the hopes of finding something better. There they meet Boudicca and Aed’s life changes completely.

Now, I freely admit that I’m more of a SciFi or UrbanFantasy fan really, so it takes an extraordinary book to drag me along for a ride in a more
Lali Love
May 01, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a young adult science fiction fantasy writer, Author Radcliff’s breathtaking book covers immediately drew me into this classic rags-to-riches coming of age story. The premise of the Hidden King’s Celtic dark fantasy captivated me.

The emotional plot twists grabbed my heart and took me on a roller-coaster ride with its Fae folklore, mystique, and dreamy charm. The world-building and fast-paced storytelling of the author are both superb. The characters are impactful and loveable, so genuine, un
E.P. Stavs
Apr 21, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We picked THE HIDDEN KING for our monthly book club read, and I cannot wait to sit down and discuss it in a week. It was such a great story! The author gets you in the feels right off the bat with Aed and Ninian, but I think the most emotional connection was between Aed and Ronan. There's a moment in chapter 10 where I thought my heart my literally burst: "For you, ceann beag?... I don't think think I'd ever sleep again." The addition of Boudicca's character was delightful, as well, and she was ...more
KitKat The #BookNerd KBbookreviews
The Hidden King, by E.G Radcliff is a magnificent, Celtic inspired fantasy full of faeries, magic and danger. https://kbbookreviews867789450.wordpr...

Synopsis: Aed has built himself a life, a family, in a run-down city full of starving and violent people. He has very little memory of his past, but the trauma is forever with him buried in the physical damage it has caused.

But, when terror and tragedy strikes, Aed must risk everything to save the family he still has. Desperate for a better, safer
P.L. Stuart
Oct 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Sometimes you find certain books that are almost a perfect fit for your overall reading tastes and your current reading mood. The marvellous "The Hidden King", YA dark fantasy novel by E.G. Radcliff, is such a book for me. Of note, this book is highly decorated, including a semi-finalist berth in the Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off (SPFBO6) last year, and was LONG on my TBR list, as a MUST-READ, along with the entire "Coming of Áed" series.

Among my most desired features for any novel are charact
Jan 11, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-books, tbr
I was very excited for this book after reading The Last Prince. I do think it helps immensely to read The Last Prince first as you understand who Áed, Ronan and Ninian are.

I did enjoy this book and look forward to the next in the series.

I would say my only issue if you could call it an issue is the pacing of the book for me, I feel like it's a little slow in areas but that's pretty standard when trying to introduce people to a new series so I can't be mad at it.

I will admit that this went in a
Nikki Mitchell
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own
Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars

Aed lives in the Maze, a world full of gangs, dirt, and starvation. With hands crippled beyond recognition, work is near impossible to come by, and he has been denied even entry into a gang. The only thing keeping him going is his partner Ninian and the little boy they look after, Ronan. But when tragedy strikes, Aed has to figure out a new way to live. Journeying to a city greater than any he could have dreamed of, he discovers secrets about himself that will shape his d
Estelle Tudor
Jul 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A blazing, captivating tale! I was pulled into Aed's story from the first page. I rooted for him and could sense something 'other' about him, the character being so well written.

The world building was full and rich, I especially loved the marketplace description. I felt as if I were seeing it through Aed's dazzled eyes. This rags to riches adventure is a satisfying read and the ending leaves you wanting more in a good way.

I cannot wait to read more from E G Radcliff, she has a way of drawing you
Amanda at Bookish Brews
Sep 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
What a fun book!

I finished this book so quickly, because I just didn't want to put it down. I was instantly drawn into it because of the sweet love that Aed and Ninian had right from the start. They survive in a starving city together, and are truly partners in life.

I'm a huge sucker for a Found Family, which is exactly what I found right at the beginning of this story. Ninian, Aed and their semi-adopted son Ronan are so cute together. I love the idea of having a semi-adopted son in a starving
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a repost of my review copied from Amazon because for some unknown reason it was deleted.. And unfortunately it is not the full review I posted here initially :(
I read the book last year in March.
So, I finished the book the same way I started it, in tears, thanks to an excerpt from the next book.
The stories about Aed and Ninian always made me cry.
I cried a lot during this book. The way Radcliff writes made me feel so vividly what Aed experienced: the loss of his love, the torture, the
S.V. Filice
May 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A tale of pure fire

A gripping read that kept me scrolling. Each relationship brought new characters to life. Little Ronan is someone you can’t help but love and it’s through him that we read some of Áed’s most genuine moments.

How will the King hide his fire? What is to come of the Maze? I can’t wait to read more of Radcliff’s work!

The Hidden King is an enchanting novel I’d recommend to anyone who enjoys YA Fantasy and well deserved happy endings!
S. Bavey
Jan 28, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title of this book meant that right from the beginning I found myself wondering which of the characters would turn out to be the king.  We meet the main character, Áed and his found family, Ninian and their eight year old ward, Ronan, in the dangerous, filthy streets of the gang-infested Maze, a part of the land known as The Gut.

Áed’s beloved Ninian dies after a prize fight near the beginning of the story and we find ourselves fearing for the safety of Áed and Ronan if the gang should come l
Red Ink Book Reviews
The Hidden King (The Coming of Aed Trilogy) – E.G. Radcliff

I was lucky enough to win a giveaway run by the author and received a complete paperback copy of the trilogy.

E.G. Radcliff is an American author who writes many YA fantasy stories. I have previously read “The Last Prince” which is the prequel to “The Hidden King”, so I had some background regarding the characters and the story going into this book.

Aed has just lost his Ninian and is now having to navigate a world alone and look afte
Apr 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book to whisk you away! The Hidden King draws the reader in from the very first chapter. Heartwarming characters, suspenseful scenes, and mysterious plot twists grab the reader and never lets them go. Radcliff's detailed descriptions set the scene such that you feel as if you are walking alongside the characters. They create a world filled with treachery and magic, and I questioned whether good would triumph over evil. I was struck with the author's ability to reveal secrets to the reader as t ...more
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E.G. Radcliff IS A PART-TIME pooka and native of the Unseelie Court. She collects acorns, glass beads, and pretty rocks, and the crows outside her house know her as She Who Has Bread.

Her Coming of Áed fantasy series was crafted in the dead of night after offering sacrifices of almonds and red wine to the writing-block deities.

You can reach her by scrying bowl, carrier pigeon, or @egradcliff on so

Other books in the series

The Coming of Áed (3 books)
  • The Last Prince (The Coming of Áed, #2)
  • The Wild Court (The Coming of Áed #3)

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39 likes · 4 comments
“To chase a pretty story felt like foolishness when scraping by was hard enough, and the towering cliffs jutting up from the lowland presented another deadly discouragement. People told themselves that their lives were as good as they could ever be.” 0 likes
“Áed’s hopefulness could be downright lovely, but sometimes, it felt dangerous to acknowledge. As if by allowing himself to enjoy it, he’d lose any chance of it becoming true.” 0 likes
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