Romantic epic fantasy? Sign me up! I was sold right from the start of the blurb because these three words together are magic for me. The Foxglove King by Hannah Whitten was all it claimed to be and more.
I will say it was a bit of a slow start for me to get into this book. However, I feel like this can be pretty common for epic fantasy especially, and it didn’t deter me. It just took a few chapters before I was finally like, “alright, alright, now the story is getting going and I’m into it.” But once I reached that point there was no turning back and I did not want to put the book down once I reached that level of investment.
The idea behind this unique world was so cool. It’s a world immersed in poisons and the ability to not only sustain life, but increase the length of it with the correct doses of said poison. But more than this, if is a world of Mortem, the essence of death that has leaked out into the world and is forbidden. Lore was born with access to this more than frowned upon access to channel Mortem, which gives her the ability to bring the dead back to some semblance of life.
Needing to keep this ability quiet from authorities, she works amongst the underworld of society as a poison runner, a position that could result in death or worse. However, she draws the attention of the King and is enlisted to work as a spy to find out if his son Bastian is working with the enemy. She does this alongside Gabriel, someone deemed a traitor at a young age because of his father, and who joined the Presque Morts as a result of his family being deemed traitors.
Political scheming abounds throughout the book, leaving it difficult to determine who Lore should or can trust which amps up the intrigue. She’s left with the duty of discovering who the traitor might be, learning new things about her power over Mortem, all while juggling figuring out how to navigate the high society she has been thrown into in order to get to the bottom of who is killing off entire villages and how.
The characters. Characters are always a big maker or breaker of a book for me, and these characters were just so great. Lore as a main character was so smart and interesting just as far as learning about her powers. She had a badassness about her from a life spent fighting to survive and working for the kind of people that are one wrong move away from imprisonment or hanging.
I loved Gabe instantly and was so happy with his role of watching over Lore because I knew it meant he’d be a major part of the book. He’s both tough and innocent, having spent so much of his life living as a monk. This makes Lore someone who tests him because she’s anything but innocent and has no problem saying things like they are. And just when I thought Gabe was all that mattered, in comes the sassy sun prince, Bastian, who surprising to me, also won my heart instantly. I don’t think I could pick a favourite between the two.
Then there was the ending. It was so fast paced and mind blowing in all that happened. I am honestly devastated that I have to wait for the sequel and that this book isn’t even technically out yet because I don’t know how to wait for more now. The ending definitely made up for what felt like a slower start to me and I just need more. More of these characters. More of this world. More of what I believe is about to come next. I had so many theories throughout the course of this book and I’m so looking forward to finding out if any of them end up being correct. Hannah Whitten has become a must read author for me with this series. I cannot recommend it enough for fantasy lovers!