Jessica Thorne comes to the blog with the first in a new series, The Hollow King, full of magic, drama and adventure in
Long ago there was a war, and the mageborn were the losers. An attempt by the Hollow King, a powerful magical being with the ability and reserves of dark magic was defeated by Larelwynn, bound to the ruling family to control others born with magical talents and put them to work for the benefit of all. Mageborn, or those with magical powers were obligated to submit to the crown, or subject to punishment. Currently, the Lord of Thorns, cousin to the current king, is Sebastien – he loves his cousin, worries for his sister hidden in the uppermost tower – a sort of imprisonment as she is frightfully insane, deliciously evil and Sebastian, not fully remembering all that led to her confinement is her one champion.
Enter Grace – an orphan and captain of a small team of ‘guards’ who are tasked with investigating and tracking down illicit use of magical powers, and bringing the perpetrators to the Lord of Thorns for his judgment and punishment. But all pales when her friend and a member of her team absorbs too much magic from a dangerous suspect, and Grace refuses to leave him.
Told in two points of view, Grace and Sebastien both have huge gaps in their memories of childhood, with recurring dreams, moments that don’t quite ‘sit right’ with the world before them, and an attraction between them that is both scaring them and intriguing them in equal measure. With Grace’s need to see ‘right done’ and the worry about the seeming increase in her own magic, Sebastien’s worries about his cousin’s wife, the Queen, and her overreach for power and control, and his cousin’s illness – there are a ton of threads to unravel and secrets to unearth. But moving quickly, there are some moments that could have been developed more, Sebastien and Grace’s friendship and reliance on one another for both grounding and support, and Grace’s friends, the twists come quickly and leave readers ready for more. And then – the big reveal – with a ton of secrets coming to light, a recognition of the forgotten memories and moments with Sebastien’s sister that are delightfully twisted – the story is easy to follow and snap up, and the missed moments of development of character backstory become secondary to the what is possible next.
To be fair, the Arc copy that I read was a re-edited copy to address earlier concerns from early reviewers – and I found that most of the issues mentioned in those early reviews were addressed here. This is a great story – perhaps not quite as “dark” as promised, a bit more ominous and unpacks much like a mystery to be solved, but the story was a solid read and sure to please readers from about 14 or 15 years or older – fans of the Circle of Magic series from Tamora Pierce (or those who, as children, enjoyed her Tortall series) are well placed to enjoy this.
Author: Jessica Thorne
Series: The Hollow King #1
Genre: Action / Adventure, Contemporary YA Fantasy, Dual Narration, Fantasy / Magical Elements, Friendship, Magic, Mystery Elements, Romantic Elements
Published by: Bookouture
Published on: 18 February, 2020
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 11 Hours: 29 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble
The life of an orphan soldier becomes entwined with that of the mysterious heir to the throne, whose very presence draws out the secret magic living inside her: a magic that breaks every law she is duty-bound to uphold…
The room is small and dark. Row upon row of jars line the shelves, each one sealed with blood-red wax. The seal’s mark is a twisted circle of briar with gleaming, gold-tipped thorns. And in each jar a flicker of forbidden magic dances… beautiful, but deadly.
Sold to the Crown in the aftermath of the Last Great War, Grace Marchant has never known her parents. Now, she trains as an elite soldier tracking down mageborn – those born with an ancient and long-outlawed magic – and destroying them if they don’t surrender their power to the Crown.
The mageborn who submit are collared, then handed over to the King’s cousin and heir: the elusive Bastien Larelwynn, Lord of Thorns, locked away in his shadowy workshop deep inside the castle. What becomes of them is hard to say – the Lord of Thorns keeps his secrets close.
Grace has always fought the voice inside her that questions whether the law is truly just – but when her closest friend is next on Bastien’s list, Grace’s loyalties are tested to the limit. Confronting Bastien – searching his strangely compelling obsidian-black eyes for answers – Grace is shocked to feel herself begin to change, to show the first signs of the wild magic she so fears.
Only the Lord of Thorns has the power to save her and the rest of the mageborn – if he doesn’t destroy them all first…
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.