The Foxglove King (The Nightshade Crown #1) by Hannah F. Whitten


BY Hannah F. Whitten


In this romantic new fantasy series from author Hannah Whitten, a young woman’s secret power to raise the dead plunges her into the dangerous and glamorous world of the Sainted King’s royal court.

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.


I LOVED For the Wolf so when I saw Whitten had a new series coming out I requested it so fast. The Foxglove King actually disappointed me though. The plot was unique and I liked the morally grey characters, but the writing I loved in For the Wolf was nowhere to be found. This was on of my most anticipated releases of the year and it left me feeling a bit disappointed.

From the start I was very disoriented by the world. It was clunky and confusing and it felt like I had started reading chapters in versus from the beginning. There are so many things I’m still confused by like how poison works to elongate life or how the power of mortem is used. We also have these gods that once roamed the world and had powers but they’re now gone and betrayed one another but their stories were rather unclear as well especially when it came to the religion surround those gods.

What I did like was Lore. She’s had a hard life and learned to put herself first to survive, which in turn leads her to be this morally grey character who makes choices based on her own survival. It was interesting seeing her stick to her survival instincts instead of becoming the hero we usually see in fantasy books. I will say she sucked at being a sneaky spy though. She was constantly getting caught and did an overall terrible job of figuring out just what was happening. She was a survivor and I could get behind her and her reasoning for doing things. I also really loved her witty and cutting remarks and her general banter with both Bastian and Gabriel.

The romance left a lot to be desired. It felt very instant and was explained away by some kind of feeling of being tied together and knowing each other despite never meeting before. The chemistry was there with both Gabriel and Bastian but it needed to be developed more. None of them really had any romantic moments and there were no steamy scenes beyond a slight teaser. I’m actually really hoping this triangle turns into a throuple and think that would be an amazing twist.

While I was a bit letdown, I also couldn’t put it down. I was constantly wanting to know what was going to happen next and trying to figure out the mystery of the dying towns and Lore’s power. This was such a unique concept and I really enjoyed the morally grey characters. Everyone is just trying to do what they thought was best and we still have no idea who was in the right or wrong. I’ll definitely be picking up the second book and I’m really hoping all my questions are answered.

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