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Spoilers ahoy, peeps.

A not super organized review of Kings Rising, with spoilers. A warning: while I am mostly positive about this book, there are some things that I didn't care for, so this is not a completely squee-filled review.

To start, I love, love, loved how much Pacat knew what we wanted and handed it out in plenty. We got schmop, so much schmop. We got Damen acknowledging his time as a slave and not backing down from it and refusing to erase it from his narrative.

We also got some funny bits, which were kind of short on the ground in earlier books and I think the book was worth it alone for the "Charls!" punchline.


Also, I loved seeing Damen in his element. As a warrior, we finally were allowed to see him as the king he was born to be. Moreover, I liked that he literally pulled a battle out of the trash single handedly.

And the conclusion to the scene started at the end of Book 2 was super worth it. Take the fort. UGH, so good. The whole thing was worth it.

I know I am in a small minority here, but I really liked seeing more development of Jokaste. This series has so few women that I think I could name most of them on one hand. And even if they're there, they rarely have dialogue or participate in any sort of meaningful scenes. And then, Jokaste is hanging over it all and it just kind of sucks that the only memorable female has for 2 books been literally the second most vile person. (And a voiceless one at that, since she also has only one scene of dialogue)

So, it was nice for her to have a (clumsy) redemption arc and for us to see her as a parallel to Laurent. As someone who looked at the political choices in front of her and chose the path that involved losing the least and gaining the most.

What I was not as fond of:

Some of the plotting was outright sloppy: Jokaste needs to be in person supervising the riders who kill a village in Damen's name because?????? I buy that she would have the idea and be manipulative enough to pull it off and I kind of see her as smart enough to maybe be playing both the Regent and Kastor because she plays a long game and I imagine she saw the Regent as someone who would eventually rule Akielos. But I don't see why she had to personally be there to oversee it. Even if she was overseeing the northern portion of defense, it doesn't make a ton of sense that Kastor would be ok with his incredibly pregnant queen traveling around warmaking.

And also why they would have abandoned their fort? Like we're repeatedly told how impenetrable the forts are and then they just abandon the fort because Damen has a large army?

I didn't understand why the Regent would drag his whole council down south with him. The only reason I can think of is that he was afraid to leave them in the north because he was afraid that Laurent would get to a few of them and get them to change sides?

If the Regent was there to essentially take over and make it clear to Kastor that he was the power behind Kastor's throne, then he didn't need the whole court to get that.

Also, when Laurent and Damen split up with a small group to go rescue Jokaste's baby (again, what? If Laurent knew that it wasn't Damen's, why would he agree to this plan? Just let her go and she'll go rescue the kid on her own - the Regent wouldn't let her back anyway) I did a long sigh and was really, horribly disappointed. I wanted the massive war book we were promised in the set up of book 2.

Armies clashing! Damen winning the hearts of the people in his country! Them winning one throne and turning to the next nation to win the other. I don't know. The ending was such an anti-climax for me.

I think the one part of the ending that made perfect sense to me is that the Regent would be taken down by a random document that appeared out of nowhere and couldn't possibly be verified.

Because it was very clear that the entire council knew he was a pedophile and also that he was a manipulative bastard. But they were also likely under his heel the same as everyone else - look how easily he ordered the guards to kill them. I bet that once they had "solid" proof they were more able to move against the Regent. In fact, eager to do so.

Anyway, I still rated it high on goodreads, but it's not really the book I wish it was.
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February 2016

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