I’ve been waiting for this book ever since I finished The Kingdom of Liars and it does NOT disappoint.
The Two-Faced Queen is the direct sequel to Nick Martell’s debut novel, The Kingdom of Liars and the second book in this series. Here is some information about this story:
- Release date: March 25 (UK) and March 23 (US)
- Published by: Gollancz
- Pages: 544 (UK) and 592 (US)
- Genre: Fantasy
- Series: Legacy of the Mercenary King
Michael Kingman thought he was going to die by the executioner’s axe, forever labelled as a traitor.
Still alive, and under the protection of the Orbis Mercenary company, Michael and his family and friends are deeply involved in the seemingly rival conspiracies that are tearing The Hollows apart.
With the death of the King, both the Corrupt Prince and his sister Serena are vying for the throne, while the Rebel Emperor is spreading lies amongst the people, and all of them want Michael dead. This is a story of betrayal, murder, and rebellion, and in this direct sequel to the debut novel The Kingdom of Liars, also some hope for justice.
This story follows on from the mess that Michael has caused/is causing/has inherited. Nick does a brilliant job of weaving the same feelings provided by the first book and making them bigger!
“Women don’t fall in love with monsters. They only watch them turn into them.”
I want to start with the world-building on this review because for me, this is the biggest thing I love about fantasy and science fiction books. It’s what makes me feel like I’m in a distant place and not reading a book but experiencing it. Nick provides further information and visualisation for the world inside and even outside of Hollow. He further decorates your mind with renovations of old dwellings from KoL and creates new areas to explore and learn about. It’s always very interesting when you find a new place in a book by Nick Martell because they normally have some real significance to the story.
I really enjoyed finding more places that Michael would cause havoc in this tense and exciting story. There were places that I had not visited yet and the more I read, the more I was able to produce a big picture of the world that Michael and the rest of the characters resided in.
“Goodbye, Naomi.” I left her sitting on the bench. “Bye Sweetie,” Naomi said. “It’ll be cold in bed without you.” The joke was on her, we still didn’t have beds in Kingman Keep.
The characters in this book are believable and that is something you want in a character driven story. Characters like Michael, in who we follow in first person (but done well), Dark, Domet, Trey and many many others all have their own traits, goals and personalities. They are all separate and hearing about each character builds your own personal love/hate relationship with them. There were times reading this book where my heart was in my mouth as I read about a character and what was going to happen next in their story. It really does pull you in and there is so much more I want to hear about in Hollow. I want to hear more about their own personal struggles and hope that Nick has some novellas or other books up his sleeve in this magical world.
“F___ off, Michael.” Her mouth was full of steak and it was not proper in the slightest.
I think that Nick has created a world of intriguing characters, a bit like A Song of Ice & Fire and I’m sure you will have your own favourites as you progress through the story. For me, I like Michael a lot and I would also say a character called Dark who you will meet in KoL. Shoutout also to Naomi who I thought was brilliant.
Magic! That’s what a lot of us like in our fantasy books and as true as a Brandon Sanderson novel (who said KoL an excellent fantasy debut, with engaging worldbuilding and a good mix between action and character), this series has a unique magic system. I could tell you how it works but I forgot.
The magic in this world is really cool. Nick created some of this magic in KoL and left us wanting more with questions that were not answered. Luckily, in this book we get answers to those questions and a whole lot more than you could ever guess. There are things that happen in this book that are bigger than the first book. Better than the first book. Things you just wouldn’t expect even after reading the first book. The magic system is really unique, surprising and interesting. It really has no limit as to what can be done with it and Nick has pushed this out further in this story giving us more answers and even more questions.
“A mentor told me we die twice. Once with the body, and another when our name is spoken out loud for the last time.”
To summarise, Nick has written a brilliant story about mystery, murder, magic and Michael Kingman. He has weaved a tricky tale of deceit and untrustworthy characters, power hungry monsters and broken alliances. There is magic unlike you’ve seen before twists and turns akin to a rollercoaster. Yes Nick’s books start off slow but once that rollercoaster goes over that drop and you’re looking down into those pages wondering what is going to come next you won’t want to let go for fear of never getting your heart back out of your mouth.
Read Kingdom of Liars and if you have, then read The Two-Faced Queen. Failure to do so will leave a gap in your memory of what could be your next favourite book.
THANKS FOR READING!