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The Queen's Poisoner (Kingfountain, #1)
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The Queen's Poisoner ~ The boy who faked Special Snowflake syndrome

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message 1: by The Noah-itall (new)

The Noah-itall Taylor-Ortiz | 15 comments After a yearlong hiatus that most likely nobody even remembers, I have returned to leave those who give a single damn with their mouths gaping, their minds endowed with unconstrained enthusiasm, and their hearts stolen for at least a partial half-second, with my latest and perhaps greatest creation!

Yes, it is time for another of my unanimously unloved book reviews… But wait, you aren’t asking, “What book could I possibly converse over in a world with billions of notable examples?” Well my non-existent admirer, behold!

The Queen’s Poisoner, by Jeff Wheeler! (Also, this review is LOOOOOOONG, so if you aren’t interested in reading the review, read the book instead. That’s some good stuff right there.)

A boy named Owen Kiskaddon, his many elder siblings, and his boding parents. The house of Tatton Hall; a family of nobility and joy, unhindered by the qualms and outcries of the king’s dastardly mission war… mostly.
The father of the family served his highness, king Severn Argentine of Ceredigion and fought for his sake for many a battle… until, his worrywart mind left him to stray from his duty as a knight, until it was far too late for forgiveness.

Severn was anything but thrilled. He gave the treasonous father a single choice: to be put to the river and drown with his innocent family in tow, or to send a child, an offspring of his own lineage, to Severn’s estate, and grant the military leader a hostage to cling to.

The parents were emotionally wrought, and with much deliberation, and many more tears, the decision was made; the two decided that our shy child Owen, would be the unfortunate mouse to release into the white boar’s cage.

For many a day, Owen was alone, cast aside and tearful. The kitchen of cooks and maids was where he felt home, but not even his tiles and mind could stray from his thoughts of abandonment and solitude. He wanted to leave, he wanted home… but there was no possible outcome in which his sole wish could be granted…

That is, until, Ankarette Tryneowy, a woman of secrecy of poisons, offered her assistance, and together with her seemingly infallible guidance, they develop a plan: to trick Severn, the king, into believing Owen is something he truly isn’t; Fountain Blessed.

The book is a unique tale of a medieval age, a heavily researched melodrama that involves boundless loyalties, constricting lies, magical aptitudes, and abnormal spies.

This tale delves into the plight and lives of mainly two characters; Owen Kiskaddon, and Severn Argentine. These two come to blows many a time, not with blade and arrows, but with minds and emotions. Severn, in particular, catches my attention, as a refreshing and complex antagonist with goals, quirks, and ideologies that easily separate him from the generic ‘evil emperor’ stereotypes you always see in literature, and fiction in general.

Owen is also an intriguing protagonist. As the story takes place whilst he is a child, you see firsthand the development from an introverted, reliant youngling, to a child cunning enough to convince everyone and anyone, time and time again, of his supposed Blessedness… except Ratcliffe, but you’ll find out about him if you read the book.

The story is also a unique spin on the medieval empire trope. While many stories of a similar setting often take the rebellious ‘we can decide our own lives” story-line, this one instead brings us into the role as an apprentice of the monarchy; an observer to the emotional and political upsets that drive both our pro and antagonist into perhaps their most troubling states. The plot also, although foreseeable enough, often leaves the reader’s speechless, as the stage falls apart on itself from the actor’s soul crushing antics… In a clever way.

The dialogue is odd at first, often going half a page at a time without letting the characters shut their traps for any brief moment, and at times, it can be exhausting, but once a person gets used to it, the descriptions and immersion shrouds you, and clutches you with all the unique and splendid word choice and mannerisms the characters use time and time again.

And speaking of characters, the ones that do stay are charming, eccentric, and often just as interesting, if not more, than our leading alternatives. Elysabeth Mortimer (which she would get angry at me for not saying her entire name, it’s a mouthful), is an energetic young girl who stands as a fantastic foil to Owen, as her consistent babbling manages to bring even this shy boy to breaking his own shell.

Many other notable characters are like this… note that I said notable. This book introduces an insane amount of characters, many you meet either only once, or you do meet occasionally more, but due to their lack of screen time (is that even the right term?), they never truly develop apart from their necessary role in the story.

Besides from that decent enough nitpick, I believe the Queen’s Poisoner is an outstanding book, and an even more excellent example of how to correctly turn your reader’s expectations onto their heads.

I am currently onto the second book in the series, The Thief’s Daughter, and I can promise you that the tale only grows louder and bolder, as we check further and further into the Westmarch royal’s life.

message 2: by Jade (new)

Jade | 8 comments Great discussion and i am now interested in reading the book but also sounds like something i would wait to read in the furture because i like books who have a long enough series to keep me entertained for a while.

message 3: by Erika (new)

Erika Thorsen | 47 comments Mod
Your review is full of personality!

How sad that Owen fell victim to his father's mistake and the king's cruel tyranny. But it sounds like it makes for an interesting story of overcoming odds. I'm curious what the Fountain Blessed is -- is it like a prophet or chosen one?

message 4: by The Noah-itall (new)

The Noah-itall Taylor-Ortiz | 15 comments Erika wrote: "Your review is full of personality!

How sad that Owen fell victim to his father's mistake and the king's cruel tyranny. But it sounds like it makes for an interesting story of overcoming odds. I'..."

The Fountain Blessed are a rare occurrence of nature; they are people who are born with an innate gift that can range from predicting the future, to being... very, very good, at making bread.

Owen isn't the only one. Others are born Fountain Blessed, though their numbers are pitiful compared to everyone else.

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