The sixth in this best if you’ve had experience with earlier stories series, The Kings, by Heather Killaugh-Walden is on the blog today, narrated by Antony Ferguson. Please read on for my review of
The Unseelie King
Not having read earlier in the series, the world is one in which thirteen kings shall ultimately battle it out for supremacy (I think), and each book introduces a new King and his Queen, while their rise to prominence is detailed. A bit of an ongoing thread from the earlier title, this story focuses on Minerva and Caliban: she sister to the current queen and possessed of a rare fae talent as a wisher: he, brother to the King and possessed of the darker impulses and the ability to control them – necessary in his attempts to rule. We’ve seen the power of the kings (particularly Avery) to maintain and tamp down the power of both Minerva and Selena (her sister) when they discover their parents were murdered, and the understanding from Minerva, in realizing that her ‘correction’ from Avery was to mitigate even worse events, she was quick to realize that actions have consequences and can cause reactions far worse than intended or expected.
Starting with a bang, and never really settling down, the action and romance moved along at a fairly rapid pace: we see the struggles, the trust placed in Caliban’s hands by Minerva, trust that often depends on him doing the right thing to save her life. Together, as they worked through her grief and her questions, Caliban and Minerva came to develop a connection that felt honest and plausible, a connection that strengthened them both. Interest in this story never waned, and the author managed to give drips of information that allowed, for the most part, for me to understand connections and just where these two fit into the overall picture. Honestly, as a stand-alone the story was gripping and engaging, but I would suggest (and I intend) to grab earlier titles in this series to understand the world building and creation of origin stories in this unban fantasy.
Narration for this story was provided by Antony Ferguson, and his presentation of Caliban felt appropriate and constant. There were distinctions between each of the characters, the over-arching prophecy about a traitor king was given appropriate moments and reverence, the fire Imp Pi was clever, and each of the Kings (introduced and not) were given moments here, some with eerie overtones, perhaps harkening to the prophecy. While I occasionally have difficulty with male narrators presenting female characters, Ferguson didn’t overwork the voice, keeping it passably ‘female’, and not bordering on bad imitation. I’m sure to encounter his work again, and am glad to do so.
Please note – while I found the story engaging, despite the fairly common ‘fated mates’ trope, the world building and unusual powers were the true stand out for this story, even when I felt I would have benefited from the earlier installments in the series. Best, I believe, as a read (or listened to) in order series, this was solid and surprising, far more than I initially expected.
Stars: Overall 4 Narration 4 Story 4
Title: The Unseelie King
Author: Heather Killough-Walden
Series: The Kings #6
Genre: Fantasy / Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Romantic Elements
Narrator: Antony Ferguson
Published by: Self-Published, Tantor Audio
Published on: 20 March, 2018
Source: Tantor Audio
Audio Length: 6 Hours: 51 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ IndieBound ♦ Google ♦Audible ♦Tantor Audio
Lord Caliban, the Leanan King, the Unholy King – the Unseelie.
“The doors of his castle opened before him of their own accord. In the Unseelie Kingdom, every soul recognized his, as an animal sensing an oncoming earthquake or the rumble of a mighty storm. Ears perked and stone listened, and doors opened to make way. The sound of boots on stone echoed in the vast emptiness of the palace, sending shockwaves of preparation through the realm’s inhabitants. There was silence there, in those waiting eyes and those rapid beating hearts. But there was music as well. If it had been audible to a mortal, it would have sounded foreboding, beautiful but deadly. It was the haunting melody that welcomed a haunted sovereign to his solitary world and its dark and lonesome throne.”
For thousands of years, two realms of unspeakable magic and mystery have existed in peace side by side. One is a land of light and possibility. The other is drawn in the stark lines of wickedness and seeped in the unbearable beauty that comes with it. The first is ruled by the Seelie King. The other is ruled by Caliban.
The Unseelie King is the sixth book in Heather Killough-Walden’s acclaimed paranormal romance series, The Kings. Within its pages, a dark lord finds hope in a beautiful, powerful soul, its tempting and forbidden magic, and a fierce and willful love that he will have to fight as never before to claim as his own.
A copy of this title was provided via Tantor Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.