Book Review: The Hidden King (2019)

girl reading at a table, tucking hair behind her ear; text says 'book review: review by rebecca crunden'

The Hidden King by E.G. Radcliff

To chase a pretty story felt like foolishness when scraping by was hard enough, and the towering cliffs jutting up from the lowland presented another deadly discouragement. People told themselves that their lives were as good as they could ever be.

The Hidden King is the first in The Coming of Áed series, a fast-paced fantasy adventure that throws twists and turns with magical acumen. Not only does THK set up a fantastical world that the reader only gets a glimpse of in book one, but the characters and their relationships are sure to pull readers in and give them FEELINGS (see me, here with my FEELINGS, lmao). It’s the first book I’ve read by EG Radcliff, and I’m definitely going to be reading more of her books!

SPOILER WARNING

“I’ve never danced with a woman.”
“But you have danced.”
“I danced with Ninian.”

The Hidden King begins with a bang, diving straight into the world of Áed and Ninian. FYI I am already Áed and Ninian trash and I want to draw hearts around them. Fantasy and romance waheyyyyy. WELL NEVER MIND. WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY ;___; MY HEARTTTTTTTTT. OUCH OUCH OUCH WHYYYYY.

I picked up this book totally thinking it was going to be a romantic fantasy, so I genuinely did not expect Ninian to DIE right at the beginning. OUCH, MY FEELINGS. (I have since learned that The Last Prince is all about Áed and Ninian and is a prequel, which I did not realise at all. I for sure thought it was the sequel and that Ninian would make it.) I was wrong, booooooo. But seriously, this heartbreaking twist shouldn’t detract anyone, because it’s a direction that sets up the lead character’s journey and Radcliff keeps Ninian’s memory alive throughout the story. Áed doesn’t just move on and meet someone new straight away, which I appreciated. There is also a strong bond that remains the core of the story, which is the bond between Áed and Ronan. THEY ARE PRECIOUS.

“You can’t sleep for two nights after the burial, or burning, I guess, of a love.”

This quote, ooooh. It hit me.

The relationship between Áed and young Ronan that builds in the wake of Ninian’s death is wonderful and rich, with the pair grieving together and protecting each other. Despite this, they’re quickly swept up into an adventure neither bargained for ~

I shan’t spoil more, but there’s lots of twists and turns, and cool magical mysteries! I really loved the author’s world-building and I’m curious to see where everything goes in the sequel! For fans of fast-paced fantasy, The Hidden King is definitely worth checking out! Just have a box of tissues ready. ;_;

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