The Foxglove King (2023)

by Hannah Whitten
ASIN/ISBN: 9780356518916
Publication: March 7, 2023
Series: The Nightshade Crown #1

**I received a copy of the book through NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed it. All opinions are my own.**

I was looking forward to The Foxglove King, but I also did not exactly have high hopes for it. For a little while, I thought I was going to be proven wrong because I was immediately pulled into the story and Lore’s current predicament. Just as my expectations began to bloom, they slowly withered away halfway into the story.

Whitten’s plots have always been able to pull me in and is largely the reason why I was looking forward to this one. Lore is a poison runner and occasionally spies on the opposition for her mothers. After using her powers to save a colleague from being captured, she is taken prisoner by the redcoats. Rather than send her to work on the isles, the king wants her to spy on the crown prince as well as use her powers to discover why entire villages have been killed.

I immediately took a liking to the world and was immersed in Lore’s story. Despite her less-than-desirable circumstances, Lore still manages to put those she cares about ahead of herself. Even when she discovers she might be the only one she can count on, she is unexpectedly kind to those around her. As she tries to ensure her survival, it becomes increasingly clear that Lore is also desperately looking for a place to belong.

Gabe and Bastian are improvements over Eamon in For The Wolf, although Gabe is close (heh). Bastian is more than he appears. Despite his penchant for having a good time, he is a complex character. He is assured and has a much more realistic view of the world. Gabe, on the other hand, is devout and all too trusting of the man he believes saved him. It is difficult to discern if he is truly blind to all that is going on around him or if has only chosen to turn away from the truth. I appreciated the contrast between the two characters and am currently rooting for Bastian.

While I liked the individual characters, it was more difficult to buy into Lore’s relationships with the other characters. Few moments hint at possible romantic feelings before the characters give in to them. I needed better development here. The most likely pairing felt forced rather than a natural progression of the story. This could change with the next installment though.

The world building and the magic system are my favorite parts of the book. While the descriptions are not as lush when compared to her prior works, the setting and world building felt new and interesting, especially the dominant religion. It plays a prominent role and the characters have such varying relationships with it. Along with the world building, Whitten’s take on necromancy was one I liked and the effects on the practitioner were detailed and well-written.

I am looking forward to the rest of the series. I need to know what happens to Lore. I hope the relationships will be fleshed out more. Pick this one up if you’re a fan of world building and strong female main characters.

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