Michael Kingman thought he was going to die by the executioner’s axe, forever labeled as a traitor. Still alive, and under the protection of the Orbis Mercenary company, Michael and his family and friends are deeply involved in the seemingly rival conspiracies that are tearing The Hollows apart. With the death of the King, both the Corrupt Prince and his sister Serena are vying for the throne, while the Rebel Emperor is spreading lies amongst the people, and all of them want Michael dead. This is a story of betrayal, murder, and rebellion, and in this direct sequel to the debut novel The Kingdom of Liars, also some hope for justice.
A special thanks to Gollancz for providing a super early copy of this and to Nick who continues to write such a great main character I can’t help but love still.
Michael is back with twice as much to prove and double the attitude in a book that has much more magical mayhem than the first, and forgets about it more often. It’s a blast of a sequel; the Fabrications are ever-intriguing, and the fights relentless. Here’s a piece of the game that broadens the rest of the world while paying close attention to character and detail setup in the first.
In short, Michael’s a king killer and part of Orbis company, and the Princess is back; she wants his blood, revenge for ‘killing her father’ and won’t listen to reason unless Michael kills the Wayfarer and stops the legendary Heartbreaker Serial Killer … no easy feat, right? But that won’t stop Mr Kingman. Meanwhile, Domet isn’t finished with him for what he did to the Shrine of Patron Victoria, the Heartbreaker Serial Killer has plans of their own and the rebels aren’t planning on stopping. Pair all this with the ever-growing mystery that surrounds Dark and Angelo and you’ve got a story you certainly can’t put down. And certainly won’t want to. Being one of my favourite characters from the first book, I’m glad we get straight into the mystery that surrounds Dark; if you’ve been waiting for answers, this book certainly goes at length to give you them. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to meet the members of Orbis company, it’s certainly a strange group. Dark doesn’t get anymore tolerable or normal either. It’s literally a fun-ride through his memories at one point and, while I can’t go into too much detail, it’s safe to say that you won’t be disappointed. I love anime and manga, and I feel like you can see that Nick does too in this book – to me, there’s a lot of great influences from those poured into the mix here, and I can’t say I didn’t love it.
We get to see a lot more Fabrication, which was cool. Early on there’s quite a blaze example of this from Dark. But no doubt to the detriment of memories gone for the rest of the series; the magic continues to be the most cool and intriguing aspect of the books, especially the trade-offs and the fact that these run through the ever-expanding world and the other magics that inhabit it. We get to briefly see these and they’re just as brutal in what they take from you. The only thing that didn’t quite mesh with me was the actual origin of Dark’s powers. While the entire story arc that took us through this was fun and intriguing, it worries me. Because there’s a lot bad that can happen with it and I’m kind of attached to Dark.
There’s a lot of movement of factions and revealing of new ones; we’re introduced to many new characters here and the world outside of Hollow is fleshed out. It’s exciting from the point of view that it opens many, many possibilities and certainly more books – I’m praying that this series gets a chance to explore everything that it’s setting up with this one. There’s a lot here that can’t be properly done in a trilogy. So, anyone who’s got this far and hasn’t bought both books should do! Let’s get it the five+ it deserves. To be honest, I’m quite scared for Michael as enemies seem in no short supply. Nick needs to give him a break and stop writing people that want to hurt him; especially with the ending, that truly left me stunned. It was a: WHAT! NO! moment that certainly has me waiting for book three.
One of the things I love about Nick’s writing is … well … the writing. It in itself is very descriptive, more like a painting when we visit next places. They’re always so vivid and colourful, it manages to keep its clarity in the most Fabrication-convoluted scenes. Everywhere you visit picks up on the right sensual notes to immerse you into the setting. It is so fully realised and really sticks to the mind. It weaves and wends its way through the novel, dropping great word choices, curating the story in a very well-defined character voice.
Overall, you must buy this! Don’t let it end with book one, pick up book two. We need to see Michael’s story fleshed out in as many book he needs, so don’t be a fool and wait for them all to be released. That doesn’t make sense … buy it.