The Fox Glove King | ARC Review

Thank you to Orbit and Netgalley for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway.

Book: The Foxglove King (The Nightshade Kingdom 1) by Hannah Whitten
Release Date: March 9th 2023
Tags: Adult | Fantasy | Necromancy | Court | Court Affairs
Trigger/Content Warnings: Drug Abuse | Drug Trafficking | Murder | Mass Murder | Violence
Other books by this author I reviewed

For the Wolf | For the Throne


When Lore was thirteen, she escaped a cult in the catacombs beneath the city of Dellaire. And in the ten years since, she’s lived by one rule: don’t let them find you. Easier said than done, when her death magic ties her to the city.

Mortem, the magic born from death, is a high-priced and illicit commodity in Dellaire, and Lore’s job running poisons keeps her in food, shelter, and relative security. But when a run goes wrong and Lore’s power is revealed, she’s taken by the Presque Mort, a group of warrior-monks sanctioned to use Mortem working for the Sainted King. Lore fully expects a pyre, but King August has a different plan. Entire villages on the outskirts of the country have been dying overnight, seemingly at random. Lore can either use her magic to find out what’s happening and who in the King’s court is responsible, or die.

Lore is thrust into the Sainted King’s glittering court, where no one can be believed and even fewer can be trusted. Guarded by Gabriel, a duke-turned-monk, and continually running up against Bastian, August’s ne’er-do-well heir, Lore tangles in politics, religion, and forbidden romance as she attempts to navigate a debauched and opulent society.

But the life she left behind in the catacombs is catching up with her. And even as Lore makes her way through the Sainted court above, they might be drawing closer than she thinks.

After reading Hannah Whitten first duology I was quite happy to read this book that is more adult fantasy. I am always a sucker for necromancy and books that pull on the theme of death so this seemed like a great fit for me.

We meet Lore in her role as a spy, that she took on for her found family. Her special abbility to sense mortem and use it stands out. When she gets taken in by the Presque Mort, a group of monks that use mortem as sanctioned by the king himself, a plot revolving around herself seems to be making itself clear.

I thought the first half of this book was rather strong. Lore draws you in with her along the story that she is discovering herself. Gabriel and Bastian make an interesting dynamic next to her. But nearing the end it started to fizzle a little. The court was interesting but we actually got extremely little of Lore in court and interacting with those in court. And the focus seemed to shift a little more to the little love triangle that was starting. It felt a little drawn out nearing the end there.

Lore is 23 and initially seems like a tough ass nails kind of a girl. But in fact there is a small girl in there that always had to be guarded and didn’t truly get to be a kid. Yet nearing the end of the book she seemed so trusting and crushed those she barely knew would betray her. I’m not sure where her false sense of security seemed to come from. But that didn’t deter me from wanting to root for her. There is a vulnerability in her throughout the book that I found quite interesting to follow.

Bastian was an interesting addition as he saw right through all the supposed spying. He pretty much knew from the start which explains why he zoned in on her like he did instead of some foolish notion of instant attraction or other like it. As for Gabriel, I’m not sure how I feel about him considering the end. He initially seemed like a heart broken boy but the ending changed a lot.

I was quite captivated as I was reading. I wanted to know who really was killing those villages. And what do Lore’s Mortem powers really mean. The catacombs and the cult.

All in all I did enjoy reading this book and I want to find out more about what will happen now.

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