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Monday, February 29, 2016

The King Slayer by Virginia Boecker ARC Review

The King Slayer (The Witch Hunter #2) by Virginia Boecker
Published by Little, Brown and Company
a division of Hachette Book Group
Publication Date: June 14, 2016
Pre-Order: Amazon | Barnes and Noble
Magic, suspense, and political intrigue collide in this sequel to The Witch Hunter, perfect for fans of Graceling and the Grisha Trilogy.

Former witch hunter Elizabeth Grey is hiding within the magically protected village of Harrow, evading the price put on her head by Lord Blackwell, the usurper king of Anglia. Their last encounter left Blackwell ruined, but his thirst for power grows stronger every day. He's readying for a war against those who would resist his rule—namely Elizabeth and the witches, wizards, pirates, and healers she now calls her friends.

Having lost her stigma, a magical source of protection and healing, Elizabeth's strength is tested both physically and emotionally. War always means sacrifice, and as the lines between good and evil blur once more, Elizabeth must decide just how far she'll go to save those she loves.

In this sequel to The Witch Hunter, Virginia Boecker delivers a powerful story full of action, suspense, and romance.

The King Slayer was just another one of those books that didn't stand out, and was overall disappointing. I suppose that saying it's the perfect book for Grisha fans also creates higher expectations, which didn't help. Though it did have its strengths, such as the gradual and realistic development of friendships and romances, I still had a difficult time immersing myself in the story and truly enjoying it. Thankfully, Elizabeth grew on me as a main character throughout this book, because she was much less annoying and whiny in this one. Instead of relying on others nonstop, she actually trained to become a helpful fighter—while in the last book, it felt as if she was completely undeserving of being widely known as a powerful badass.

However, even this only showcases how inconsistent many of the characters were in their personalities from the first book to this one. Malcolm, the former king of Anglia, had a very sudden personality swap in this sequel. While he had once been intimidating and inconsiderate, he somehow grew into a kinder and more caring person without any explanation. This felt like it was done solely for the author to justify his redemption—which was undeserved, considering the minor issue of... he's still a rapist. I was definitely expecting the rape issue to be a relevant aspect of this book, but it was entirely brushed over, just as it was in the first book. Therefore while the plot was fast-paced and action-packed, this still did not make up for the plethora of other issues I had with this novel.

1) Elizabeth's character really grew on me, and while I found her annoying in the first book, she lost her healing stigma. She actually became stronger as an individual through training, instead of being a special snowflake who is simply magically amazing.

2) The relationships and friendships felt real and well-developed. I loved watching them grow as the story progressed.

3) This plot was action-packed and moved quickly, speeding by and leaving me genuinely frightened for the characters. Nothing was too easy or too convenient, and the ending was bittersweet—which was realistic considering the circumstances (the end of a war).

1) The characters within this book were extremely inconsistent personality-wise. Especially the king, Malcolm, who changed completely between books, seemingly only to support his eventual redemption. That really bothered me.

2) This previous point brings me to the biggest issue I had with this book—the matter of the glossed-over rape. After I finished reading, I was left with this icky feeling... like the author took the issue lightly and only used it as a plot device for the dramatic factor in the first book. In my opinion, if you're not going to take an issue like rape seriously, then it's not something that you should write about.
I want to tell him to be careful. I want to tell him how it goes. That first you kill for a reason, then you kill for an excuse. Then you kill for neither, and bit by bit the lives you take begin to steal from your own.
"Into the breach." John crosses to the door, flinging it open with a flourish. "Sounds like you've got the croup," he announces, stepping into the hall. "That's quite a feat, you know. Croup is almost exclusively a child's illness, and exceedingly rare in old men."

John closes the door then, but I hear Peter's response anyway.

"I'll give you the croup, young man."
"Your leg looks good, though. You should have full use of it within six months. Your days of jousting and hunting and dancing might be limited for the next year, but that's not too bad, all things considered."

"I was thinking of taking up painting," Malcolm says, his face still a grimace. "Or maybe lute playing."


  1. I am not a Grisha fan, so I don't see a reason to read this. Doesn't sound like my cup of tea. Love the quotes you highlighted, though. Great review!

    Vane @ Books With Chemistry

    1. I'm torn on whether I want to read this series or not based on what Nikki has to say about it. Glad you enjoyed her review!

  2. Hmm, this is definitely a little less appealing now. I have to admit I was drawn to the Grisha comparison, but I definitely don't want to have my expectations too high. I do love that you were able to point out so many positives as well! Inconsistent characters super annoy me though so I'll prob steer away from this one.

    1. I feel like a lot of books are comparing themselves to the Grisha trilogy..and so far I haven't found one that has held up to that standard.

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  5. The King Slayer, the witch hunt... Everything resembles to the Witcher, no? By the way, did you read it? Wonderful series. You can read a review of before starting it, because 7 books aren't a joke. And you will fall in love with Geralt for sure, so you must be prepared))