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May 7, 2020

The Kingdom of Liars by Nick Martell ~ a Review

by MK French

Michael Kingsman is the son of an executed traitor and grew up in the shadow of his father’s notorious murder of the King’s son. He lives a hard life in the wake of that event, as do his older siblings. The world they live in has magic, paid for by memories, and the threat of gunfire is looked down upon by the royalty. Michael would love for his family name to be restored and agrees to the chance of elevating it by working with the High Nobles once again. He can’t remember the past and has forgotten far too much about it, but he’s determined to get to the truth regardless of the cost.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

May 2020; Gallery/Saga Press; 978-1534437784
audio, ebook, print (608 pages); epic fantasy
The worldbuilding is set up slowly as Michael and his friend scam low nobles and run around the seedier parts of the city. This also slowly introduces Fabrications, the elemental magic use that some nobles have. Michael hasn’t been a very studious or observant young man, so we learn about Hollow as he experiences it. It’s easy to feel sorry for his plight, and that of the poor that also have hardscrabble lives. As with any political structure, the ones on top rely on security, military, power plays, and jockeying for favorable positions in order to maintain their place in the fold. Part of this is the Endless Waltz, the formalized courtship rituals for High and Low Nobles that had become more of an opportunity to see and be seen, spread rumors and money, and try to increase political clout. This is where Michael tries to worm his way into the nobility, and from there into the palace itself looking for proof that the King would have hidden about his father.

Michael has multiple obstacles, some of his own making. That impulsive and unobservant side of him is at fault, though he’s also a victim of circumstances beyond his control. The family name is being used as a rallying cry for rebels against the king, mercenary guilds are moving through the city, and his friends on the streets are caught in the wake of their machinations. He constantly tries to go at it alone and fails; once he realizes there is a lot more out there than he knew, he really starts to understand more about the circumstances leading to his father’s execution and the truth about what really happened.

This very much feels like the beginning of a series of novels. There are details present which aren’t dealt with at the very end of the novel, and I would love to see them answered someday.

Buy The Kingdom of Liars at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever. 

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