ONCE A KING by Erin Summerill


From the "Clash of Kingdoms" series, volume 3
Age Range: 12 - 18
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Following Ever the Brave (2017), Lirra and Aodren unravel a country-destabilizing conspiracy.

Every five years, the All Kingdoms’ Summit gathers the various nations’ rulers for diplomacy, commerce, a Tournament of Champions, and a Jubilee of Channeler magic. It’s come to the kingdom of Shaerdan, and Malam’s King Aodren needs a strong showing to prove his kingdom has overcome its trials and is recovering from the damage of Malam’s Purge. Lirra has a message from her spymaster father (who’s off on a mission; Lirra fears he’ll miss her big debut in the Jubilee) for Aodren. The point of view alternates between the two of them (Britta is mentioned but doesn’t appear). The action sequences generally cover the various events in the tournament and brawls that are frequently linked to a Channeler oil, Sanguine, a mysterious, popular supplement that some say is dangerous. Aodren, with help from Lirra, must learn the truth about whether the anti-Sanguine sentiment is old Malam anti-Channeler prejudice or if the oil really is dangerous (and will add more fuel to the anti-Channeler fire). While the Sanguine storyline is highly effective as a drug metaphor and the political maneuverings entertain, other story elements—such as the romantic storyline and the party responsible for the troubles—won’t bring any surprises. Characters have a range of skin and eye colors which are free of plot significance.

Brain candy for fans of Summerill’s worldbuilding. (Fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: Dec. 4th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-328-94997-4
Page count: 448pp
Publisher: HMH Books
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2018


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