Once a King by Erin Summerhill
Publication Date: December 4, 2018
Summary from NetGalley:
Lirra: A girl with the power to control the wind, torn between duty and following her dreams
For twenty years, Channelers—women with a magical ability—have been persecuted in Malam by those without magic. Now King Aodren wants to end the bloody divide and unite his kingdom. But decades of hatred can’t be overcome by issuing decrees, and rumors of a deadly Channeler-made substance are only fueling people’s fears. Lirra has every reason to distrust Aodren. Yet when he asks for help to discover the truth behind the rumors, she can’t say no. With Lirra by his side, Aodren sees a way forward for his people. But can he rewrite the mistakes of the past before his enemies destroy the world he’s working so hard to rebuild? Erin Summerill returns with a high-stakes fantasy full of romance, magic, and revenge perfect for fans of Susan Dennard and C. J. Redwine.
ARC provided by HMH Books for Young readers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Although they are calling this the third in the series it is really a stand alone set in the same world as the Ever the Hunted books. Which was a good thing, because I had not read the other two books. Didn’t realize it was set in that world until I was ready to start it. So you can trust me when I say that you don’t need to have read the other books to enjoy this one.
The book is told through the alternate viewpoints of Lirra and Aodren. They are both solid and likable characters. Lirra is a wind channeler and also a sort of spy with her father. She has to take a message to King Aodren and thus begins their adventure together. Lirra is a pretty strong female character who loves her family and her country. Aodren will do anything to help his country heal from their violent past and war. I like him a lot, he was a strong king, but always had his doubts that he was doing the right thing. He often talked about the loneliness of being the king, which I thought was an interesting take.
The plot was a little bit mystery and a little bit adventure with a little romance thrown in. It was pretty fast paced and easy to read although a bit predictable. I could have used a bit more of an explanation about the Channelers and their magic system, it was not well explained, although I did figure out that it was elemental in nature. I know this is the third book, and all of that information was probably in the first two books, but because this is a stand alone it would have been nice to get a bit more info. The magic doesn’t play a huge role in the story, but it was important enough that I wanted to understand it better.
Overall this was a very enjoyable read, and if you have read the other books and liked them then you will like this one too. And if you haven’t read the other ones, this one will still entertain you.