Book Review: The Forsaken Throne
The Kingfountain series
By Jeff Wheeler
A devastating disaster has left the Forbidden Court in ashes, its fountains destroyed, and its magic at risk. It was destined as the site of Trynne Kiskaddon’s coronation as empress. Now, all Trynne can imagine is the roar of flames, the cries of Gahalatine’s people, and the smell of cinders in a city gone dark. Tragic as the threat to Kingfountain is, it’s nowhere near as foul as the treachery posed by Morwenna. Saboteur, conspirator, and full-blood sister of the king, she is prepared to set forth a wave of destruction that will eliminate everything that stands between her and possession of the throne.
But Trynne has her weapons, too—her magic, her resilience, her skills at intrigue, and especially, Fallon. The man who once swore his allegiance to Morwenna now stands by Trynne’s side as they venture into the unknown to protect those they love, reunite with a family scattered by diabolical forces, and safeguard a kingdom…as well as the destiny the Fountain has for each of them. (Courtesy of goodreads.com)
Adult Point of View
I received an ARC for The Forsaken Throne and this is my honest review. Thank you to Jeff Wheeler and NetGalley for providing me with this book.
I will tell you the good and bad news right at the beginning, so you can relax and read the rest of the review. Bad news first, is that The Forsaken Throne is the last in the Kingfountain series, but the good news is that Wheeler is giving us another prequel! Look for The Poisoner’s Enemy which focuses on Ankarette Tryneowy before she saved Owen’s life scheduled to come out January 9th 2018.
If you have followed the reviews for the Kingfountain series, you all ready know I am a fan. I was quite worried that after I have loved the entire series that I would feel let down by The Forsaken Throne, because there were so many threads that needed to be tidied up. I hoped the characters would stay true to themselves or show growth. I was very happy with the conclusion.
From the opening dialog, the reader has his fears confirmed that Morwenna has been deceitful from the beginning. Combined with the opening scene, between Trynne and her new husband, I could tell it was going to be a rough ride. I love it when a book is fraught with tension. I was shocked that Gahaltine wouldn’t have had more faith in his wife, whom he had respected and outwitted the Wizr council to marry. The controlling Wizrs did a very good spin job to have Gahaltine turned so thoroughly against Trynne. It was an essential plot move because a book about countries rebuilding after a war would have been tedious. Once that plot device was established, I was turned for another loop with a twist plot. Wheeler is a master of building tension! By the end of the book I felt more compassion for Gahaltine than I would have expected; he showed growth in this final book that meshed well with his character’s voice.
In the previous novel, The Silent Shield, readers were left on tenterhooks wanting to know what was happening with Owen. The facts, as we knew them, were that he had been imprisoned, his memory taken, his power suppressed and he had escaped and was fighting in an army. The questions were; what army and who did he serve, how could his memory be restored and how could he return safely to his homeland? Even without his memory intact, Owen was true to his basic nature. He analyzed the facts he had for the best solution, served with honor and sought the truth. He remained open to discovery, which was a key for him to be saved. I did not expect Owen’s location as a prisoner, however, the author did lay a solid foundation and it was logical (I had originally thought he was in Gahaltine’s court – which I suspect the author had hoped). I love it when an author surprises me with a plot twist!
Trynne is one of my favorite characters along with Owen, and the Maid of Donremy through the series. Trynne has faced challenge after challenge, and even when she wants to give up, she doesn’t. She is blessed with the gift of having loyal friends, sort of – if they are not ensorcelled by evil wizrs. Trynne learns how to draw on her inner strength as her life falls apart. Her mother has been called by a vision to sail to the Deep Fathoms, her father is imprisoned, her husband has been estranged from her through deceit, her lands, with all her subject whom she loves, will be destroyed if she leaves for a long period of time. To top off everything else, her own king doubts her loyalty. Trynne has relied on Fallon many times, doubted him and is drawn back to him. She permanently gave up Fallon to save her nation by marrying King Gahaltine, where once again Wheeler dashed the hopes of all readers of a happy romance. In The Forsaken Throne, Fallon and Trynne are thrown together again, and because they are both people with morals we know, as the reader, that they will not break their commitments. Will there ever be a happy ending for Trynne? So, here is the spoiler – there is a happy ending, mixed with sadness for Trynne.
I am also fascinated by the Fountain in this series. Generally, a force of nature is not seen as a character, but in this case it is such a defining element, I believe the fountain can be seen as an over-arching character. The fountain-blessed aren’t given a gift from the Fountain based upon their own good nature. Each person chooses how they use the gift they were given, and some individuals choose wickedness rather than goodness. Even so, the Fountain directs the recipients of the gifts, IF they are willing to listen. The Fountain reminds me of the Bible expression that roughly states; the rain falls on both the good and the wicked. So often in books, a force like the Fountain, would be bestowed only upon those who are worthy of the blessing, consequently, the Fountain in this series is more mysterious and opens up many plot possibilities. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a chapter where the reader could hear the Fountain’s thoughts?
Jeff Wheeler suggests that it would be beneficial, for undisclosed reasons, to have read The Legends of Muirwood and Whispers of Mirrowen prior to ending this series. I had not read the other series and was still satisfied with reading The Forsaken Throne. Even so, I will go back and read the others.
I highly recommend this entire series. It is clean, the violence isn’t over the top, and the plot is interesting, being woven through with history and Arthurian legends. It is also appropriate for high school and older, I believe children in middle-school would have a harder time following the plot complexity, though they could certainly give it a try.
If you have enjoyed Wheeler as an author I would highly recommend reading A Cast of Stones by Patrick W. Carr, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. I am confident that you will love their books.
Try The Lost Book Of The Grail by Charlie Lovett if you love Arthurian legends, though this one is not exactly a fantasy novel, it is well worth reading – I love the different stories lines.
A few older books to try would include The Raven Ring by Patricia C. Wrede, the Windrose Chronicles by Barbara Hambly, The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley and The Riddle-Master of Hed by Patricia Anne McKillip.