Last of the books that are published for this series. There is a sixth that comes out some time this year. I have no idea when that will be, and a part of me does not want to ask. This was my favorite of the five books that I read for this series, and I don’t want it to end. Please.
Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.
That being said… Spoilers ahead.
Queenslayer by Sebastien De Castell
Synopsis From The Book
A failed mage learns that just because he’s not the chosen one it doesn’t mean he can’t be a hero in the fifth book of an adventure fantasy series from Sebastien de Castell.
Kellen Argos is an outlaw spellslinger with a bad reputation, a long list of enemies, and zero luck. When he accidently smears blood on the Daroman flag, he’s dragged before the queen to be executed for his act of treason.
Face-to-face with the young monarch, Kellen is offered a chance to save himself. If he can defeat the queen at a game of cards, he’ll walk free…if not, his life is forfeit. But what begins as a game reveals a conspiracy against the queen’s life. And now, Kellen is not only playing for his own freedom, but also for the future of an empire.
Initial Thoughts Before Reading:
Alright, so it seems that I really liked 4 more than 3, which is saying something. Can I like 5 more than 4? Who knows? Will I get more Argosi paths and contemplation of philosophy, along with magic? If not then I think that this book is SOL for me.
A bit of me is dreading reading this, only because book 6 is not here and I read 1-4 in such a quick succession. Best hopes for me, I suppose. At least its a purple book, which will draw me to it by color alone.
Here we go!
Initial Thoughts After Reading:
Wow that was… that had a far higher kill count than I thought it would have. This isn’t to say that the other books didn’t have kill counts. I simply mean that this had a kill count that shocked me. We were like 20pgs in with two deaths.
There was little Argosi in this book, which was surprising to me. Reading the thanks page at the end revealed that this plot was written far before the other books, so in some ways it’s not all that surprising in retrospect. I really liked this book and it’s a great set up for the final.
Kellen is eighteen, and he has made his way to the Daroman empire. After a fire fight (that he wins), he accidentally smears blood on the flag of the queen. This is a treasonous act and he is taken to be executed. The Queen must sanction this death. Instead she plays cards with him where he determines she’s being abused by those she is supposed to trust.
Kellen loses and is declared her tutor of cards. Kellen kills those abusing the queen, only to find out there is a deeper plot in the works. Kellen’s sister contacts him and reveals that she wants him to learn the queen’s secrets and to kill the countess. He says no. She tells him that if he can, he’ll get his name. Kellens actions lead him to a prisoner main who tried to kill a war general. He helps her stay alive, at the expensive of embarrassing the Queen.
Kellen kills the war general in a duel when he tries to force a woman, a countess named Mariadne, into wedlock with him. It is then that he learns the maid killed herself. The Queen reveals that she had asked the maid to kill the general, but the maid failed and she had hoped Kellen could have saved her.
Kellen is seduced by the countess, and is taken by The Queen’s highest private guard for a talk. This man uses a person called a white binder to force Kellen’s shadowblack to control Kellen. The white binder forces Kellen to seduce a girl (or come near close to it). The countess sees this and Kellen is shamed. He locks himself away intent on disappearing.
A coup takes place and the Queen is kidnapped. The Queen’s guard blames Kellen for not saving her (although the man purposely hurt Kellen to keep him away from her. Whatever I guess). Kellen determines it was Count Martius that put all the coup pieces in place. Kellen goes to save the Queen, before she is forced to abdicate. Kellen is controlled by the white binder once more, but the queen saves him by talking him out of it. Kellen kills everyone and takes the queen, her name is Ginevra, to the palace. They are stopped by the countess who was also in on it with her cousin, the count. Kellen kills her.
The coup is stopped and Ginevra reveals that she has the shadowblack and they have two years to solve the mystery for both of them. The book ends with Kellen getting his mage name (he found out the queen’s secret and killed the countess) without having aimed to get it.
What I Liked:
Kellen; he got his mage name! Guys! He got his mage name: Ke’helios. He was given the mission of discovering secrets and killing a countess. He didn’t plan to do it and did it nonetheless in the end. It earned him his mage name. I was so excited for this. Even if the Je’Tap are super… evil in a way.
Shalla; she also got her mage name Sha’maat. She’s so perfect in the way she controls and changes people. I love her manipulation the way in which I feel like I’m intended to. She’s not a good person but Kellen lives her and thus I love her.
Ginevra/The Queen; the precious 11 year old queen who is just trying not to die. I’ll die for her. Thanks. Please let her live to 13 and be happy. She’s going to be another major character in the last book. I just know it.
Politics; for the first time in this series we got really heavy handed in the politics. The other books were political, namely between countries or ideologies but this book was heavy in the structural politics of a country. Everyone wanted our Queen dead and I was all for the intrigue.
What I Would Have Liked or Changed:
More Argosi, if just a little. Had I just got a bit more on them, I think that this book would have been a five for me. I liked it that much
Time Taken To Read
“They area map of the world, Your Majesty. An Augury of the future. A negotiation between warring states. And we all have to play the cards we’re dealt.” – Kellen pg 53