I’m pretty sure I tried once before to read the e-book version of this and stopped because I lost interest. This time I listened to the audio version, and it kept my interest the whole way through.
The story follows 8-year old Owen, but it’s not an early reader book–it reads more like YA, or middle grade at the very least. Owen’s parents betray the king of the realm, and as punishment they are made to part with one of their children. Owen is the youngest and a miraculous birth, but his parents believe he will be the safest of their children, so he goes to live as the “king’s ward,” but really as a hostage, at least at first. He spends his time at court plotting how he will escape–until he succeeds, and the king, who turns out to be Fountain Blessed (their way of saying endowed with supernatural gifts), uses his mind control to coax Owen to return with him. Shortly thereafter, Owen meets a playmate, Elysabeth Victoria Mortimer (who for some reason is always referred to by all three names until toward the end when Owen nicknames her Evie), and later meets the queen’s poisoner — whom I thought would be the person who killed the queen, but no, apparently Queen’s Poisoner is a court position, and Ankarette holds it, though everyone believes her to be dead.
It’s rather episodic, now that I think about it. Owen learns courage from Evie, and learns about the intrigues of the court and how to make himself indispensable to the king from Ankarette. The king also doesn’t turn out to be the heartless villain we’re led to believe he is at first–he’s been lied about and misunderstood, and doesn’t know who he can trust.
An original story that held my interest to the end, at least this time around, and had a happy ending. I might read on in the series.
My rating: ****
Sexual content: none
Violence: minor, fantasy violence
Political content: none