The Foxglove King by Hannah Whitten

In this lush, romantic epic fantasy series from a New York Times bestselling author, a young woman’s secret power to raise the dead plunges her into the dangerous and glamorous world of the Sainted King’s royal court.
When Lore was thirteen, she escaped a cult in the catacombs beneath the city of Dellaire. And in the ten years since, she’s lived by one rule: don’t let them find you. Easier said than done, when her death magic ties her to the city.
Mortem, the magic born from death, is a high-priced and illicit commodity in Dellaire, and Lore’s job running poisons keeps her in food, shelter, and relative security. But when a run goes wrong and Lore’s power is revealed, she’s taken by the Presque Mort, a group of warrior-monks sanctioned to use Mortem working for the Sainted King. Lore fully expects a pyre, but King August has a different plan. Entire villages on the outskirts of the country have been dying overnight, seemingly at random. Lore can either use her magic to find out what’s happening and who in the King’s court is responsible, or die.
Lore is thrust into the Sainted King’s glittering court, where no one can be believed and even fewer can be trusted. Guarded by Gabriel, a duke-turned-monk, and continually running up against Bastian, August’s ne’er-do-well heir, Lore tangles in politics, religion, and forbidden romance as she attempts to navigate a debauched and opulent society.
But the life she left behind in the catacombs is catching up with her. And even as Lore makes her way through the Sainted court above, they might be drawing closer than she thinks.

Thank you to Orbit Books and Angela Man for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. The Foxglove King will be available on March seventh, 2023.

I’m sorry, The Foxglove King, it’s not you. It’s me. Well, it’s a little bit you. There were things you did well that were rather intriguing. Unfortunately, these aspects were never fully realized. Now, there is a distinct possibility that you’ll get it together and will become an excellent series. In a year or so, I’ll realize that I gave up too soon, that I should have made a commitment and stayed in for the long haul. In fact, that is most likely the case. Hannah Whitten is a skilled author who obviously has a well-thought-out plan as far as the direction of the series. At this time, though, we need to go our separate ways.

You do have some desirable qualities, several in fact. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention, The Foxglove King, how you respect the reader’s intelligence and jump straight into the story without the dreaded info dump. You were willing to put yourself out there in that way, which is always awesome. You reveal more of yourself as you go along, and there’s a lot to you. Your magic, Mortem, which is the power to raise the dead, was intriguing. The way that it was controlled by the Church (no separation of Church and state here) and utilized in ways that are suspect at best is fascinating and makes for great tension. I’m a fan of tension. That being said, I’m a little unsure about why having this ability would make Lore (your main character) a good spy.

Your use of modern language, while taking me out of the world and story at times, was nonetheless a bold choice and one that made you instantly accessible. There were no misunderstandings. You moved at a good pace, not rushing things that are important but also taking storytelling risks. Your author, Hannah Whitten, writes confidently. Reading this, it might be tough to tell where our relationship went wrong. So I’ll just hop right into the crux of it: you cheated.

You have a love triangle. I think this is a matter of miscommunication. You see, I thought based on your description, that “forbidden romance” meant one relationship. Not a confused muddle between three people. Also, it seemed a little yucky to me that Gabriel was a part of Lore’s original abduction (albeit an unwilling member) yet they are somehow attracted to each other. I also don’t understand how everyone involved can feel an instant attraction, an “I know you” toward one other. You might explain this in more detail later on, but it just doesn’t work for me. I’m starting to think I’m emotionally unavailable. That’s unfair to you, The Foxglove King.

You deserve readers who appreciate a little bit of romantic tension and a fair bit of angst. Trust me, you’re going to get them in droves. You have so many qualities that attract readers: a fast pace, an intriguing plot, and even the relationship drama that you bring with you will appeal to many. I’m the wrong reader. So, I guess at the end of the day, it really is me and not you. I wish you the best of luck, The Foxglove King, and I know I’ll see you around, on bestseller lists and recommended shelves.


2 thoughts on “The Foxglove King by Hannah Whitten

  1. I’m about to read this one later this month. Now I’m really curious to see if I’ll like it. I’m not often a fan of love triangles, but I can overlook that if other stuff is good. I’ve seen other people rave about this one… so, I’m looking forward to seeing for myself exactly what it’s all about. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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