Title: SEVEN WAYS TO KILL A KING
Author: MELISSA WRIGHT
Genre: YOUNG ADULT FANTASY
Publication Date: AUGUST 10, 2020
ABOUT THE BOOK
She was born a princess. They made her an assassin.
One was an accident. Two a coincidence. By three, they would know. It would be harder, but I would avenge my mother’s death. These kings would pay the price.
Seven cities make up the Storm Queen’s Realm, each of their self-crowned, murderous kings are one of Princess Myrina’s marks. The treasonous curs may have banded together to share a stolen throne, but soon they will fall.
They thought her dead, killed in the massacre. They thought their rule secure, but Myrina of Stormskeep has awoken. With the help of her loyal bloodsworn, the shadow princess will have her revenge.
Honestly, I didn’t expect anything from this book and just wanted to enjoy it as it is but surprisingly it turned out to be so good. It was quite an enjoyable book to read, and one that I believe would help me get out of my reading slump because my reading slump has gotten worse since June.
This is a story about a long-lost princess trying to restore her mother’s kingdom by taking revenge on the lords-turn-kings for their betrayal. With the help of her guard and those who are loyal to her and her mother, she might’ve just succeeded in her mission to bring the kings down.
First of all, the storyline was excellent and solid. It tells the history of the seven realms and how the late queen ruled it compared to how the kings ruled it. It also included a few flashback scenes on how the kings got rid of the late queen, and how the long-lost princess escaped. It was a lot to take in but gladly it wasn’t too confusing. I enjoyed learning about the history of the Storm Queen’s Realm, the late queen, the vicious kings, and also about the long-lost princess. It was written excellently.
Secondly, I loved the whole idea of a long-lost princess coming back for revenge because that kind of concept is just so epic since it will involve a lot of planning on the princess part, and this will show how well and smart the princess is on planning her revenge. Another is because there will be a lot of dangerous missions which is interesting to see, and this will help showcase the princess fighting skills and how well she can handle the obstacles she will face in her missions. The way the author handled this concept and the princess character was mind-blowing and solid.
Thirdly, the plot. Can we please appreciate that this story doesn’t have any plot-holes, and that the consistency of the plot was strong from the beginning until the end? That was actually magnificent. Usually, it was hard to keep the plot consistent throughout the story especially when it comes to a fantasy story like this but the author of this book managed to handle it just fine without a problem. Major respect to the author for this.
Another thing is, the world-building. It reminds me a lot of the one in the Ena of Ilbrea series by Megan O’Russell. There are some similarities with the two, especially the whole kingsmen (guards/soldiers of the kings) and the sorcerers thing. It made me feel kind of nostalgic. I loved both worlds equally and wasn’t trying to compare or anything.
Also, the magic in this book was dangerous. I knew that blood magic is actually on the evil side of magic, and to see it was being used here made the story a bit scary. I was like, “no wonder the kings are vicious, they have sorcerers using blood magic to keep them powerful and their reign untouchable.” I was actually scared for the princess and her companion aka her personal guard. One touch of blood magic then you’re done for. Luckily it didn’t happen to the two protagonist of the story. Despite this book doesn’t need the magic stuff to make it interesting, I was glad for the little mention of it in the book.
The only problem I had with this book was the final chapter (not the epilogue). The conversation between Myrina and her sister, Lettie, was kind of confusing. I don’t usually have a problem reading fantasy stories that are way too complicated than this one because it was easy for me to follow and understand despite how complicated it was, but the whole conversation between Myrina and Lettie here was hard for me to get at first and I had to re-read it like 5 times and was still confused.
The funny thing is, right after I was done reading this book and closed it, I finally understood the whole conversation between the two princesses. Personally to me, the conversation between those two weren’t written as smoothly as it should be and the whole ‘locket’ thing in their conversation was kind of messy since the explanation hasn’t been done properly and that’s what made it confusing.
Now moving on to the characters…
Myrina also known as Miri is the long-lost princess of Stormskeep which is one of the cities in the Storm Queen’s Realm. Her journey in this book was harder than I thought. She wasn’t a damsel in distress kind of princess which is why I really liked her character. She was capable enough to handle things on her own, it was proven time and time again when she was planning her revenge and how well she execute her plans. It worked although she got caught 3 times but still she was successful. Never doubt a princess who’ve been train her whole life to fight in order to survive in the harsh world. She was smart, determined, strong, and is more of a leader than her older sister, Lettie.
Cass is the one who accompanied her throughout her journey and was the one who back her up in case things didn’t go the way she plan it to. I liked how patient he was with her the whole time and how he supported her in her revenge plan despite how much he disagreed with her and doubted her capability of making the plan successful. I totally understood him and why he was doubting Miri in the first place, but I was also happy to see him amazed by Miri’s successful missions and how proud he was of her later on. She did come a long way after all, and the fact that he was there to witness it all made it even better.
If some reader think he was useless, believe me when I said he wasn’t. He does have a heavy purpose which was to protect Miri considering he is a bloodsworn (someone who is loyal to the queen and only follow the queen’s words). Being a bloodsworn wasn’t easy, especially when it comes to the matter of the heart. His duty as a bloodsworn was a lot, but the main thing the story focus on was the one in which he had to protect Miri at all costs. He did a great job at protecting her actually.
Lastly, the villain. The story pointed at the kings being the villain (if you read the synopsis then you already know the kings are the big bad). Well, color me surprise when I found out the truth. Still, the kings are evil but the source of the evil is someone who helped the kings gain royal power in the first place, and that someone somehow turns out to be someone whom Miri has been trying to rescue ever since she started planning her revenge. The twist was suspenseful and was quite good actually. It always had to be someone everyone least suspected. That my friend is what I called as “big betrayal.” I’m not even sure how anyone can recover from that.
Now the romance. I loved a good slow-burn romance, and this book had it best. Cass and Miri already had a great chemistry, and the more time they’ve spent together, the closer they get. And the closer they get, the more their feelings for each other slowly developed into something a lot more romantic. I knew it was going to happen eventually. I was happy for them despite the difference in their level, and although both of them have their own duties, it still doesn’t stop them from pursuing a romantic relationship. They deserved it so much after all the things they had to go through together. It was written perfectly and their first kiss is the most beautiful scene I’ve ever read in the book.
I had so much fun reading this book and following the journey of Miri and Cass in this wonderfully-written fantasy story. As a standalone fantasy book, it was done excellently and no wonder it wasn’t a series or part of a series. The way the author wrote this amazing story proved that this book is good without having to have any continuation. I highly recommend this to those who love reading fantasy books with strong protagonists, plenty of good actions, and memorable story that will always stay with you.
Melissa is the author of more than a dozen young adult and fantasy novels and countless to-do lists. Her most popular titles are The Frey Saga and Descendants Series. She’s currently working on the next book, but when not writing can be spotted collecting the things she loves at Goodreads and Pinterest.