Thoughts: The Foxglove King by Hannah Whitten

Source: Netgalley & FairyLoot subscription! Thank you the publisher and myself
TL;DR: A fun fantasy romance idea that’s bogged down by a SLOW middle. That last 10-15% though? Wild!

Plot: An interesting take on the ‘This one girl is vitally important for her special unique magic’. But also very standard in that way.
Characters: Again, these are standard characters for the roles but I enjoyed how they were written and the flaws. Basitan and Lore were by far the best for me. The others were okay? There is a horrible stereotyping in our villain (see below) that I despised.
Setting: Dark and moody for most of the book, but we do get lost in the glam and dreariness of the castle setting midway through.
Magic: I do wish we had gotten more, but I think perhaps it is going to be tucked behind the lore of later books? The mechanics are very vague – this is a very soft magic system.


Pitch a story to me with ‘necromancy’ in the description and I’m going to sign up 9 times out of 10. Like a lot of people I love the idea of magic based around the dead – one of my favorite characters I’ve made for a D&D game was a necromancer! The Foxglove King has some of that in the truest sense. The story follows Lore who can channel the power of Mortem, death magic, and raise the dead. This is definitely not on the legal side of things in her world, and when she’s captured and given a bargain – work for the king or live in exile, she obviously takes the job.

From there we get our usual Fantasy Romance setup. A magic girl, and two guys. The prince she’s supposed to be investigating for treason and the stoic guard who is assigned to follow her every step. On the whole this follows every beat you’d expect for a Fantasy Romance and I enjoyed that. Unfortunately, my first big complaint ties into this. While it followed familiar beats, it let itself get caught and really drag in the middle. The story was a bit overwritten and when Lore and her associates became trapped in the castle so were we the readers, so there is a huge slog of dry reading from 50 to 85%. We spend so so much time in the heads and conversations of the characters that it felt like we were trapped in the same three rooms and one garden for a huge chunk of time. Editing was desperately needed here, 50 to 100 pages could have been trimmed.

Past that our characters are interesting, though nothing mind blowing. My favorite character was Lore. She was not the standard ‘bad ass girl’ we typically get, but had some soft edges and quiet attributes I enjoyed. She was selfish but not brash, and held secrets (possibly for far too long) that seemed very important to have, as opposed to melodramatics. Bastian, our Sun Prince was the best built of the two male love interests, the other a dull shadow to him. My other big complaint about the story is in the villain of the piece. – SPOILERS HERE He did not need to be scarred in the face in the way he was. It’s 2023, can we not turn every person with a facial scar or disfigurement into a villain. I despised this portion of the book and I’m glad that he’s out of the picture at the end – END SPOILERS.

The ending was a hair bit on the predictable side with it’s reveals if not explosive and jaw dropping in it’s action, leaving me wanting the second book. I’m hesitant to recommend this one, without the warning that the middle is dense and the villain a terrible stereotype. However if you’re okay with that and you love Fantasy Romance I’d say give this one a read.

3 out of 5 Stone Roses

Graphic: Abandonment, Drug use, Drug abuse, Animal death, Emotional abuse, Body horror, and Death
Moderate: Body shaming and Chronic illness
Minor: Suicidal thoughts, Sexual violence, Sexual content, and War]


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