Series: The Nightshade Crown #1
Release Date: March 7th 2023
Publisher: Orbit Books
Find it on: Goodreads Waterstones
Source: I bought a copy of this from my local Waterstones
Rating: 5/5 stars
When Lore was thirteen, she escaped a cult in the catacombs beneath the city of Dellaire. And in the ten years since, she’s lived by one rule: don’t let them find you. Easier said than done, when her death magic ties her to the city.
Mortem, the magic born from death, is a high-priced and illicit commodity in Dellaire, and Lore’s job running poisons keeps her in food, shelter, and relative security. But when a run goes wrong and Lore’s power is revealed, she’s taken by the Presque Mort, a group of warrior-monks sanctioned to use Mortem working for the Sainted King. Lore fully expects a pyre, but King August has a different plan. Entire villages on the outskirts of the country have been dying overnight, seemingly at random. Lore can either use her magic to find out what’s happening and who in the King’s court is responsible, or die.
Lore is thrust into the Sainted King’s glittering court, where no one can be believed and even fewer can be trusted. Guarded by Gabriel, a duke-turned-monk, and continually running up against Bastian, August’s ne’er-do-well heir, Lore tangles in politics, religion, and forbidden romance as she attempts to navigate a debauched and opulent society.
But the life she left behind in the catacombs is catching up with her. And even as Lore makes her way through the Sainted court above, they might be drawing closer than she thinks.
Lured in by that beautiful cover and intriguing synopsis, I picked up The Foxglove King even though I haven’t gotten around to reading Hannah Whitten’s For the Wolf yet. The story follows Lore, a young poison runner with the ability to channel Mortem – death magic. Channeling Mortem is illegal so when Lore is caught summoning she’s captured by the Presque Mort, an arm of the church where channeling Mortem is allowed. There Lore learns about a mysterious affliction that is wiping out entire villages and is tasked with using her magic to discover what is killing them. Having no choice but to accept Lore ends up in the Sainted King’s court, attempting to uncover the truth behind the killings, but will she be able to discover the truth before it’s too late?
This book sucked me in right from the very first chapter. It had such a fascinating premise and I found myself completely glued to the pages. The story is pretty quick paced, with plenty of action. The world building is well developed and I was so intrigued by the magic system in this world. It felt well fleshed out and it was so interesting seeing Lore continue to develop her abilities. One of the things that stood out most for me with this book were the scenes where Lore used her abilities. They were so atmospheric and intense and more than one sent a shiver down my spine. I’m so looking forward to seeing more of the magic in the next installment. The Foxglove King features so many things I love in fantasy books, it’s absolutely full of court intrigue, mystery, magic, and danger.
The characters in The Foxglove King are well developed and it was easy to see their motivations. Lore is a dynamic protagonist, she’s strong willed and clever and I really enjoyed seeing the story from her perspective. Gabe and Bastian are compelling characters too and I liked how the relationships between the three changed as the story reached the tense ending. The Foxglove King is a brilliantly told fantasy tale and one I can’t recommend highly enough.