Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure
“Hidden truths. Hidden power. Hidden destiny.
Someone is going to get burned…
On the shores of an oily sea, in the streets of a starving city, a young man named Áed scraps to build a life for himself and the makeshift family he loves. Scarred by a trauma he cannot remember, and haunted by the brutal damage it left behind, he has no idea of the courage his future will demand.
When tragedy strikes, a desperate Áed risks a treacherous, life-changing journey in his last chance to save the only family he has left – but an ancient legacy smoldering within him is about to turn deadly. Neither he – nor a kingdom – will ever be the same.”
Set in a realistic, almost dystopian atmosphere, “The Hidden King” has a well-developed plot, characters, and world. The supernatural aspects are minimum, being drawn from the ancient lore of the universe, but prove by the end of the story to be a major aspect for the series’ progression. It’s definitely a page turner, keeping the reader’s attention from start to finish with plenty of tragedy, action, tension, history, and even tender moments.
It follows Aed, a handicapped man who lives in ‘The Maze’ with who appears to be his lover and a child they took in. The Maze is a poverty stricken city run by gangs and violence. Every day is a fight for survival and when tragedy befalls Aed’s little family, he wanders into ‘The White City’ seeking a better life.
The White City is little more than legend to the citizens of The Maze, but through cunning determination, Aed finds that it does in fact exist and is actually a prospering kingdom. The trouble with this discovery is that it has long been mandated that nobody from Smudge (what The Maze is referred to by the kingdom) are allowed to enter.
This law leaves Aed a fugitive who must hide from their police and royal guard, a feat not so easily won. On this journey, Aed makes friends and enemies while revealing the mysteries of his past and his newly presented power over fire. Inhabitants of both places have their own beliefs about a magical race called fae, though they regard the creatures in a very different manner from each other. Is Aed’s strange ability a gift or a curse from these beings or was it birthed from something else altogether?
“The Hidden King” is a fantastic start to what I’m sure will be an equally fantastic series. While there is a powerful depth to the universe and every character, it is written in a way that makes it fast-paced, never making the reader feel bogged down with frivolous detail or information dumps.
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~Sahreth ‘Baphy’ Bowden