King Slayer - Book Review
YA Medieval Fantasy
The Witch Hunter series Book #2
UK Publisher: Orchard
Former witch hunter Elizabeth Grey is hiding within the magically protected village of Harrow, evading the prince put on her head by Lord Blackwell, the usurper King of Anglia. Their last encounter left Blackwell ruined, but his christ for power grows stronger everyday. 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 one more, Elizabeth must decide just how far she will go to save those she loves.
The is the second and final book of Virginia Boecker’s Witch Hunter series. I found it to be a nice, simple sort of read that I think anyone in search of a bit of light-hearted fantasy will enjoy. With plenty of sword fights, a few enchanted creatures, some undead warriors and lots of magic — it has all the base elements of a good story.
Now a wanted fugitive with a price on her head, Elizabeth finds herself sheltering with the very people who were once her enemies. Witches. And although her presence raises animosity from the villagers, both Elizabeth and the magical community have a common goal. To eliminate Blackwell, the usurper King.
But Blackwell has grown stronger since their last encounter, and now he has an army of the undead at his disposal. He will do anything to see Elizabeth put in her grave and the witch rebellion subdued. Now time is running out for Elizabeth, and with her own magical protection— the Stigma— gone, Elizabeth must quickly learn how to survive without it. Otherwise she, and everyone she has come to care about, will die...
Plot wise, I found this book moved at a fast pace with lots of action and magical mayhem. However it was less character orientated than the last book, with many of the secondary characters only getting a few short scenes each. This of course left little room for the characters to develop. I felt with a bit more meat, this series could easily have spanned into three books.
Although saying that, this story was very much focused on the heroine, Elizabeth. She suffers through many physical and emotional changes, but at the heart remains the feisty heroine we came to love in the first book. While I found her a little angsty at times, she quickly snaps out of it and dives right back into the action.
A few new characters were also introduced - all who added a little something more to the story. I was especially happy that we got to meet Malcolm, the former king, who inadvertently set Elizabeth on this path of ill-fated events. I found it interesting too that as much as I wanted to hate him for what he’d done to Elizabeth, I couldn’t. There was such an air of childish innocence about him that I couldn't help but pity him.
John however… I must confess I didn't really like him much in the first book. And I liked him even less in this one. Despite the plot that surrounded his character, I felt his mood swings were too conveniently blamed on magic. He seemed to go back and forth without any real trigger. Again, I think this would have worked better if there had been three books allowing the good John/ bad John story arch to be stretched out.
Overall though I liked this book, and look forward to reading the upcoming Novella’s that centre around the secondary characters.
A nice read for a rainy afternoon, all in all I give KING SLAYER 3 stars!