It’s finally over!! I can’t believe it…
Now then. I started reading this series at the end of 2016. The Queen’s Poisoner was actually my last read of the year and I picked it up to buddy read it with my brother. I had two reasons for picking it up. One is that it looked short enough that I would be able to finish it within 3 days and two, I had requested The Thief’s Daughter via Netgalley and had to review it
You guys can go check out my reviews for the first three books of this series if you’d like but let me summarize what I felt while reading those: They were rather slow reads with interesting concepts and strong characters. The Queen’s Poisoner served to introduce us to the world and the King’s court (deception, power plays). The Thief’s Daughter took us out of Ceredigion and into other countries like Atabyrion (as well as introducing Brythonica and Occitania. It started the plot of the pretender and the eventual dethroning of Severn. In the King’s Traitor we had a culmination of events, as well as some new concepts (like the countries and people being pieces on a Wizer board, which I felt was an iffy concept. It just feels like it was introduced so late in the series to feel natural)
I took a bit of a break after reading these three books because I had previewed the fourth book and found that there had been another time skip, this time long enough that our old cast would probably be gone. And while it took me awhile to warm up to some characters, I grew attached and didn’t want to see them go. Especially not Owen, which is funny because I didn’t very much like him in the first book. But that little white tuff wormed his way into my heart!
According to the reading order, it’s a good thing I took a break. While I was first introduced to Jeff Wheeler’s books through this series, I really preferred his Muirwood series. So much that I devoured that 3 book series as soon as I picked it up. I was actually going to keep reading more, as he has two more series that I think continue Muirwood, but I stopped myself because I hadn’t finished Kingfountain yet. I decided to come back to this one and began to read The Maid’s War
Sent on an impossible mission by Kingfountain’s ruler into the heart of the enemy’s capital as two mighty kingdoms prepare for war, Ankarette Tryneowy must divine the location of a magical sword, perhaps their key to victory. What she finds is the truth—one she could never have foreseen.
Searching for Firebos, the sword of ancient kings, is no simple task. It disappeared after one of the most powerful Fountain-blessed figures, the Maid of Donremy, used it in battle, and no one—except perhaps the Maid’s dearest friend, the Duke of La Marche—knows its whereabouts. But when Ankarette finds the aging duke in his prison cell and hears the mystery he unveils, her mission becomes more perilous than she could have possibly imagined.
I was actually really excited about reading this book because Ankarette was going to be in here. If there’s one thing you should know it’s that I LOVED Ankarette and she’s the reason I continued and even liked this series. If she hadn’t been introduced in book one, I don’t think it would have been as interesting. But also, she was just a mysterious character and I wanted to know more about her! I thought I would get that here, and I was slightly wrong. Yes, Ankarette was in this book but mostly as a listener, like we were. She had been sent to find the magical sword Firebos but ends up meeting with the Duke of La Marche, aiding his escape, and listening to his tale of the Maid of Donremy
It was an interesting addition to the series, especially since she is mentioned quite a bit in the second half of the series. I like to know as much as I can about a series and the characters in question, so I found this a great read. Still, there isn’t much originality in this book compared to the others. The Maid of Donremy is apparently based on Joan of Arc and tells the tale nearly like a copy
After reading The Maid’s War, you could say I’m coming back to the Kingfountain series with all I need to understand what’s going on. I’d read the first three books so I know the world, the different countries, the main cast (who turn into more background cast), and I’d read the Muirwood series. Yes. I’d been wondering WHY the Muirwood series and Kingfountain were connected and now I understand
When I had originally started Kingfountain, the reading order recommends finishing this one first and then jumping into Muirwood. I’m not sure if it’s changed but I highly recommend reading Muirwood at least before picking up books 4 to 6 because we do start to see crossovers, especially in book 6
The Hollow Crown and The Silent Shield
I feel like it’s hard to talk about these books individually since they complete each other so well so I decided to lump them together in this review (but if you want to read my thoughts for each book individually, check out my Goodreads reviews). Beware spoilers! I’ll try not to go so much in detail but there are some things I have to spoil as I go down the series
With the Hollow Crown, it’s been a couple years now. Owen and the others have grown up (so hard to imagine!) and already have grown kids of their own. The world is at peace with Drew as the new king of Ceredigion, or at least that’s what it seems like. Underneath it all, vengeance is brewing. The first strike is when Trynne is attacked as a child, half her face being paralyzed. And the second comes mixed in when Sinia sees a vision of a foreign army attacking their land. As Drew and their court begin to investigate, they learn that the lands that Gahalantine conquers are happy to be conquered, but they won’t go down without a fight. Unfortunately for them, one disaster strikes after another, until it seems like the fountain has forsaken them
And OH MY GOODNESS. From the start of this series I’ve been reading a bit reluctantly. The first book I finished only because it was a buddy read. The second I finished because I requested it on Netgalley, and the third because I felt I’d already invested so much time. Plus, I always had the hope that things would pick up. Well, I finally had my wish granted!
Starting with this book, the series changes, a lot. While the first three books were more deliberate with their actions, starting with the Hollow Crown, the actions are mostly fueled by emotions. We follow the story via Trynne’s POV who is a caring and emotional girl. She loves her “cousin” Fallon but because of her scars and his playboy personality, she can’t believe he could see her as a love interest. She is being trained to be a Wizer like her mother but really all she wishes is to learn how to fight like her father, to earn his respect, and to protect her kingdom (but because she’s a woman she can’t). She deeply cares for her family (and we see how her desires and what is expected of her clash, creating distance with her family) and Ceredigion, so much that she is willing to sacrifice her own feelings to do what is right. And we experience every ounce of her feelings
This really starts to feel like a young adult series at this point, which is probably why I was able to devour it in such a short span of time (I think the three books in a week?)
While I keep complaining about the first three books, I honestly felt so attached to Owen and the others, and I was afraid I wouldn’t love Trynne as much. Good thing my worry was for nothing because I really ended up caring a lot for Trynne, especially her love life. GOD, there was so much confusing stuff going on with Trynne and Fallon and Morwenna (Severen’s daughter). But aside from the romance, I just really liked how we start to get more action. One of the disasters that we learn about early on is that Owen is going to go out and fight and not come back. Obviously I was severely distressed at this point. A character we’d followed since he was a boy was going to not come back?!?!
And it’s because of this that Trynne decides to become an Oath Maiden. She’d already been training a bit with the Captain and her protector since she was attacked, but this oath would truly make her the Fountain’s representative. It was her goal to protect King Drew from his new enemies no matter the cost. It’s also in this book that her alter ego, The Painted Knight is created, The Silent Shield referring to this character
Like usual, Sinia’s visions came true and by the end of The Hollow Crown Ceredigion has been nearly conquered, only spared because Owen disappears from the battlefield and Gahalantine had wanted to battle him. Gahalantine leaves Ceredigion alone but promises to come back a year later to properly and fairly defeat King Drew. Trynne has kept up her end of the bargain to the Fountain, protecting King Drew and in doing so, suspecting Fallon of foul play
One Year Later
The Silent Shield then takes place a year after THC. In the time of Owen’s disappearance, King Drew has had to find a new Champion. In THC they designed a tournament that would determine the new Champion. Basically it works like Pokemon. Anyone is allowed to participate but they have to travel to the different lands, compete in individual tournaments, and receive badges for their victories. Many believe that the Painted Knight will be the King’s Champion based on what happened the last time he was in a tournament and his participation in the war against Gahalantine but he ends up not showing up and Fallon gets appointed. And of course, Gahalantine shows up as promised
At this point we also already know who our enemies are, which I won’t spoil. Like The Hollow Crown, The Silent Shield keeps up that intrigue, suspense, action, and overall young adult feel. I was still SO INVESTED in the romance, which is really rare for me, especially with heterosexual couples (give me a gay one and I’ll probably be crying the whole time regardless of what happens). We’re also introduced to new lands, which was a bit hard for me to keep up with because along with new places, we also get new customs and new characters. Along with all the action that is already happening, I thought I would have trouble keeping up, but if there’s one thing J. Wheeler knows how to do, is hammering down everything
By the end of The Silent Shield, it seems like things are moving towards peace, which is like a huge sigh of relief with all the Tragedy that happens in this book (I admire Trynne for her perseverance and faith!). I did think things turned out a wee-bit too convenient but I just enjoyed the story so much that I loved this regardless. Each book got a 5/5 from me!
The Forsaken Throne
With the ending in The Silent Shield, I honestly didn’t know what to expect next. And of course, peace seems to always be so close, yet so far…Beware spoilers from The Silent Shield!
In this book it’s been a month since TSS. Trynne is now Gahalantine’s wife and all seems to be as well as it can be. Her mother is still out searching for Fathom’s Deep and her father is still disappeared. King Drew and his council need to figure out what they’re going to do with Morwenna and the thief Draigon (audiobook, IDK how to spell his name!). Of course, soon after this decision, they learn of another problem. Gahalantine’s people have been attacked and it looks like Trynne is the one at fault. Something is afoul again and only Trynne can help clear her name and save her people
OK. This is where things get a bit complicated. One of the things that this series has driven me crazy with since book 4 is Fallon. I honestly fell in love with this guy and can definitely see why Trynne was smitten with him. But ever since she’s begun investigating and found him to be a wee-bit suspicious, I’ve been in suspense. Is he really in league with the bad guys?! And here we finally get to get a glimpse of whose side he’s on and how much he’s willing to give up for Trynne and her family
Trynne’s next adventure leads her to Pry-Ree and Comoros, which if you’ve read The Muirwood series, you’ll recognize. Now we have transportation between worlds!!
I have to say that J. Wheeler has been doing a really good job at keeping things in order. After every book ends and another begins, we get a few summaries for things just in case it’s been awhile since you last read the previous book. But because The Forsaken Throne is the last of the series and a whole new battle and concepts have been introduced, I felt like having this crossover weakened this book. Not only do we have to keep a steady pace for what’s happening in Ceredigion and Brythonica, but now we have to summarize a few things from Muirwood. There are a lot of new terms that we are expected to know so if you haven’t read Muirwood, you’ll definitely be LOST
After reading The Forsaken Throne, I had the strong urge to go back to the Muirwood series and reread it, then return here just so that I could really grasp what was going on (it’s been awhile since Muirwood for me)
And if I thought TSS’s ending was convenient, this one was eve more so! There are a couple things that happened earlier that are later resolved in a way that I just couldn’t get behind. No real explanations were given, especially not about Fathoms Deep, which I’ve always been curious about. And the sudden things always seem to connect with Sinia…Plus that end battle just didn’t sit well with me
Out of the three books, this one is probably my least favorite. I just felt like the author had a good idea but he tried to add too many elements in the one book. Then ended it just to get a happy ending. I ended up giving this book a 3.5, veering on a 3. But as a whole, the series is definitely a 4/5. I do recommend it though the first three books might feel like a bit of a drag depending on what type of book you’re used to reading
I do plan on buying physical copies of these books, which shows how much I did like this series! Onward to his next series!
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Thanks for reading! Fangirl with me in the comments section about this series and/or Muirwood. Agree with me? Disagree? LMK