The Hidden King is a young adult fantasy and book one of a series. It begins on the streets of a city called The Maze where poverty and danger thrive. A tragedy occurs for a teenage boy called Áed, who takes his ward, a young boy called Ronan, and journeys to the forbidden White City where he hopes they can live a better life.
The White City is the opposite of The Maze, where its citizens live comfortably and have plenty to eat. However, it is overseen by a mad king, and any Maze inhabitants caught trespassing will be punished. When Áed is captured he’s taken to the dungeons and tortured, and has just one chance of survival.
This story has a rags to riches theme and made me think a little of Oliver Twist. The world building worked well and I was able to imagine most of the settings. However, I was a little confused at the beginning when the story focussed on a character who had a short role. It would have worked better if the opening scenes had all been from Áed’s point of view.
Áed is caring and sensible, often putting Ronan’s needs before his own and for a young man he shows a great amount of maturity, especially later in the book when he is dealing with court officials. I thought that he slipped into his new role a little too smoothly considering his background and I didn’t believe his character changes as much as I had hoped to, but I am sure it will be developed further in the next book.
Overall, a good start to the series.
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Hidden truths. Hidden power. Hidden destiny.
Someone is going to get burned…
On the shores of an oily sea, in the streets of a starving city, a young man named Áed scraps to build a life for himself and the makeshift family he loves. Scarred by a trauma he cannot remember, and haunted by the brutal damage it left behind, he has no idea of the courage his future will demand.
When tragedy strikes, a desperate Áed risks a treacherous, life-changing journey in his last chance to save the only family he has left – but an ancient legacy smoldering within him is about to turn deadly. Neither he – nor a kingdom – will ever be the same.