In this “excellent fantasy debut, with engaging world-building and a good mix between action and character” (Brandon Sanders, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Stormlight Archive series), a story of secrets, rebellion, and murder are shattering the Hollows, where magic costs memory to use, and only the son of the kingdom’s despised traitor holds the truth.
Michael is branded a traitor as a child because of the murder of the king’s nine-year-old son, by his father David Kingman. Ten years later on Michael lives a hardscrabble life, with his sister Gwen, performing crimes with his friends against minor royals in a weak attempt at striking back at the world that rejects him and his family.
In a world where memory is the coin that pays for magic, Michael knows something is there in the hot white emptiness of his mind. So when the opportunity arrives to get folded back into court, via the most politically dangerous member of the kingdom’s royal council, Michael takes it, desperate to find a way back to his past. He discovers a royal family that is spiraling into a self-serving dictatorship as gun-wielding rebels clash magically trained militia.
What the truth holds is a set of shocking revelations that will completely change the Hollows, if Michael and his friends and family can survive long enough to see it. In a “symphony of loyalty, greed, family, and betrayal” (Tamora Pierce, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Tempests and Slaughter) this spellbinding novel “creates a solid foundation for (hopefully) a much longer narrative to come” (Kirkus Reviews).
Martell's taut, clever debut tells of rebellion and regicide in a world where the use of magic comes at the cost of one's memories. A member of the Kingman family has always served alongside the King of Hollow to keep the royals in check and inspire trust in the commoners, maintaining the uneasy peace between both factions and the rebels beyond the city walls. Then, 10 years ago, David Kingman killed the nine-year-old prince and the Kingman family fell from favor. Now David's son, Michael, stands accused of killing the King himself. Michael recounts the events that led to his trial, going from a life as a grifter, to becoming a pawn in a political game, to reluctantly working with High Noble Charles Domet to clear his father's name in exchange for lessons in Fabrication, magical skills that wipe the user's memory when overused. Martell weaves a large cast into Michael's world, some sinister like Dark the Mercenary and the Corrupt Prince others allies. Though the abundance of characters becomes overwhelming at times, their political maneuvers and varied motivations form a satisfying web. This smart, briskly told high fantasy entertains all the way until the unexpected end.
Really well done!
I’m extremely impressed by this book, I was sucked in since the first page, and it honestly didn’t let up on the suspense or action. It’s a really well built and described fantasy world that you get pulled into! The characters were extremely engaging and told the story well, the authors writing style is definitely one I enjoyed.
Some things that people might be annoyed about are the extreme bits of dialogue, there’s a lot of scenes that are strictly talking, I don’t mind it. It’s more of a tell sequence than a show, but they’re done extremely well and pull you right in.
Another thing that might be a con is the length of the book, it’s a little over 600 pages, so for some people that might be a lot, i however like big books, especially if I like the world its set, it’s more time spent in that fantasy world.
Really well done novel!