Monday, March 13, 2023

The Foxglove King by Hannah Whitten: review

5/5 stars on Goodreads

The Foxglove King by Hannah Whitten

The Foxglove King by Hannah Whitten starts The Nightshade Crown series (duology, trilogy, I don’t care, I’ll read it all). The world has lost its gods. Five of them have died and one has disappeared and is now worshipped as the one true god, the god of life.

The body of the goddess of death rests underneath the town of Dellaire, heavily guarded. It’s oozing Mortem, a substance of death that needs to be regularly channeled away from humans so that it won’t kill them. Only the priests of the Presque Mort, people who have briefly died, can do it. And then there’s Lore who was born with the ability.

Lore has kept it a tight secret ever since she accidentally resurrected a dead friend when she was a child, as necromancy means a death sentence. So, when she does it again in a very public way, she’s instantly caught by the Presque Mort. But instead of killing her, the head priest—king’s brother—brings her to court and makes her spy on the crown prince, Bastien.

She’s also tasked with figuring out what’s killing a village after a village of people without a trace. Helping her is Gabriel, a Presque Mort and a former childhood friend of the crown prince. But things aren’t what they seem. Lore has no idea who she can trust or who’s pulling the strings behind the scenes. And the cause for the deaths may hit closer than she could’ve imagined.

This was an excellent book. Told in the point of view of Lore, it instantly drew me into its world. Lore was a great character with conflicting interests and a healthy self-preservation instinct. She wasn’t a simpering YA heroine, and she owned her choices, even the questionable ones.

Gabe and Bastien made excellent counterparts to her. Both had troubled pasts and neither was a black and white character, even though Gabe tended to see the world that way. I’m a bit over triangle dramas and I kept hoping the author would veer the romance towards a threesome, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Fingers crossed that’ll change later.

The world, and especially Mortem, was a bit complicated and I’m not sure even the author always knew what she meant it to do. The court drama and the king’s need to spy on his son seemed far-fetched, but there was a reason for that in the end. I was a bit frustrated at times when Lore was slow to figure out things the author all but spelled out to readers, but not so much it would’ve marred my enjoyment. The great showdown that everything built towards came and went a bit fast, but it laid ground for the next book. I’m looking forward to reading it.

I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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