Book Review : The King’s Traitor
The Kingfountain Series
By Jeff Wheeler
Against all odds, Owen Kiskaddon grew from frightened boy to confident youth to trusted officer in the court of Kingfountain—and watched its regent, Severn Argentine, grow ever more ruthless and power-mad. Robbed of his beloved protector, his noble mentor, and his true love, Owen has anticipated the day when the king he fears and reviles, yet loyally serves, will be toppled. Now, as Severn plots a campaign of conquest, the time has come to take action…and Owen’s destiny demands that he lead the strike.
Ordered to incite war with a neighboring kingdom, Owen discovers its beautiful, reclusive ruler, whose powerful magic might even exceed his own. Together they mount a daring plot to overthrow the corrupt monarch, crown the rightful heir, and defeat the prophesied curse threatening Kingfountain with wintry death. But Severn’s evil is as bottomless as the fabled Deep Fathoms. To keep his ill-gotten throne, he’ll gladly spill the blood of enemies and innocents alike. (Courtesy of goodreads.com)
Adult Point of View
I’m doing something very rare, for me, and giving The King’s Traitor 5 stars. The King’s Traitor is is the culmination of the Kingfountain series and shows the planning Wheeler has had from the beginning of the series, and it is officially one of my favorite new series. Usually the first book in a series is my favorite, however, I believe this one is probably my favorite. And I want Wheeler to know I forgive him for his mistreatment of Owen and Evie in the last book.
I don’t want to spoil the twists and events that harken back to the previous two books, so I will instead talk about more general aspects. From previous author’s notes we know that Wheeler is a fan of history and was inspired by Richard III for this series. He is also a fan of mythology, and the magical elements are more fully developed in The King’s Traitor. I found the use of fountains to be fascinating and thought provoking as a symbol. A fountain can be seen as a source of knowledge, providing water for life, protection from others as a sanctuary and a judgment for those who have transgressed the law of the land.
The characters are rich and complex.
Owen Kiskaddon is now 24, alone, jaded and sarcastic. He does not like how he manifests Severn’s personality. He is fraught with internal conflict over loyalty and duty. To whom does he truly owe his allegiance? Owen has deceived Severn into believing that he can see the future with his fountain magic, but in fact he is able to nullify the affects of others’ fountain powers and he can bring others back to life (which he received from Ankarette Tryneowy when she saved his life as an infant). As a child he replenished his powers by organizing tiles, but as an adult found that he could fill his reservoir of power through thinking of strategy. An additional talent seems to be his ability to organize and execute his plans.
Elysabeth Victoria Mortimer is a mother and has grown to love her husband Iago. She still values her relationship with Owen and hopes to renew their friendship. Evie is not fountain blessed, but she sure is up for mischief, as is her daughter Genevieve.
King Severn is mired in his own insecurities. He relentlessly pursues Lady Katherine while plotting her husband’s death. He is not aware that he has become the tyrant he was rumored to be early in his reign. The King’s power from the fountain is to be persuasive in convincing others to follow his will.
Etayne deeply loves Owen though her love is unrequited. She is a trusted confident and is loyal to Owen. Etayne can change her appearance, as well as others’ appearances through her gifts from the fountain. She is also a talented poisoner who wouldn’t hesitate to poison Severn.
A new character, Sinia, the Queen of Brythonica is an enigma. She is keeping secrets, but exudes open generosity. She is deeply respected and loved by her subjects. Etayne is very suspicious of her motives. Owen is trying to determine if she is worthy of his trust. Sinia is fountain blessed to see the future, but sometimes seeing the future is a burden.
I would still like to see a larger, more detailed map and a picture of the Wizr board and pieces.
I loved the cover illustrations. It’s refreshing to not have a canned photo of characters on the front.
Anyone who enjoys historical fiction or fantasy will enjoy this book. The writing is very character driven within the events, which makes for a scintillating plot. I’m looking forward to the next generation and their stories.
If you predicted the ending of this series from the beginning I would believe you are clairvoyant. I didn’t even predict the end to this one, except I believed Owen would betray King Severn from the title.
5 out of 5 stars
- the Mother
If you liked this one you might want to read A Cast of Stones by Patrick W. Carr (another all-time favorite series), A Stranger To Command by Sherwood Smith, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner and The Way of Kings series by Brandon Sanderson.