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The Queen's Poisoner by Jeff Wheeler
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The Queen's Poisoner

by Jeff Wheeler

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Kingfountain (1)

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"Too many people are frightened. They want youth to last. They complain bitterly if sickness comes. But the world is always in tumult, and fortunes rise and fall and fail. It is the ambitious who accomplish things. It takes courage to be ambitious, for never was anything great achieved without risk. […] A goal not written down is merely a wish."
-Dominic Mancini, Espion of the Palace Kitchen
(from The Queen’s Poisoner)

Jeff Wheeler's The Queen's Poisoner tells the story of a young boy by the name of Owen Kiskaddon who comes to Kingfountain as a hostage after his father, the Duke of Westmarch, betrays the king in battle. To survive in this strange, new court, full of loyalty and deception, he has to prove to the king that he is worth more alive than dead.

I really liked the complex cast of characters in The Queen’s Poisoner. Young Owen was shy and curious, yet very intelligent. Ankarette Tryneowy was secretive and talented, yet very loyal to young Owen. Elysabeth Victoria Mortimer was talkative and brash, but able to keep secrets. Dominic Mancini was ambitious and manipulative, though he had his moments of bravery and sense of the bigger picture, even if it was to secure his own ends. King Severn was thought to be a harsh leader, but Owen soon learns that appearances aren’t everything.

These diverse characters were each working toward their own goals, often in opposition to one another. I really enjoyed the banter between characters, especially that initiated by Elysabeth Victoria Mortimer, or Evie (as Owen calls her), and Owen. I got an overwhelming sense of balance between the characters: between Evie and Owen, between Owen and Ankarette. Each character had their strengths and weaknesses. They all made mistakes, but they are better for them in the end.

The plot was also intricately done, as were the others in this series. All the intricacies of planning how Owen would become valuable to the king, the intrigues and “drama” of the court, as well as other events that unfolded were meticulously done.

You can find this review on my blog, Allison's Adventures into Wonderlands (link below), along with the review for Jeff Wheeler's The Thief's Daughter and The King's Traitor.
https://allisonsadventuresintowonderlands.wordpress.com/2017/08/15/jeff-wheelers-the-kingfountain-series-books-1-3/ ( )
  Allison_Krajewski | Aug 15, 2017 |
Nice book, still considering whether I want to read the next book or not. ( )
  Baochuan | Aug 29, 2016 |
The book is classified as "Teen" so I was expecting an older protagonist, rather than an eight-year-old. The action was "fine" and the characters likable enough. However, I expected a much more complex plot as the title, The Queen's Poisoner, suggested to me. Instead, it's a bit boring. This is a children's book, not YA by any stretch. ( )
  L.R.W.Lee | Jul 26, 2016 |
I received "The Queen's Poisoner" by Jeff Wheeler for free, when it was one of six book options being given away by Amazon to all Prime members. It turns out to be a perfectly ordinary, low fantasy, young adult novel that follows about a year in the life of 8-year-old Owen Kiskaddon. In backstory, Owen's father, a duke, rebels against the king and loses. As the book opens, Owen is taken as a hostage to the capital of Kingfountain, where he will live as part of the king's household. There, he meets a variety of unrealistic and flat characters, who tend to be drawn to Owen simply because he is a little boy. Several try to protect Owen from the king, going to far as to concoct a rather elaborate ruse that would be unlikely to hold up in the long term, even though the king is not likely to harm Owen anyway. (The king, Severn, is the most interesting character in the novel, and possibly the only one who doesn't fit into a typical archetype.)

The large contours of the plot and some characters are drawn from an episode in the historical War of the Roses, which gives the story a vaguely historical feel. This is marred by the "Fountain," the nebulous, spiritual force that underlies magic (and also serves as a replacement for religion) in Wheeler's world. Randomly selected people are bestowed with utterly random magical gifts, such as a baker who can duplicate the amount of bread he bakes, or more usefully, rare individuals who have the ability to see the future through visions. This godless system of random gifts feels neither like a coherent magic system nor like a satisfying religion, so it feels like it's stuffed in there as a plot hook. The novel would have been better if it were devoid of magic- it would not have been hard for Wheeler to come up with alternative ways to advance the plot in the few instances when Fountain magic is involved.

"The Queen's Poisoner" is not a bad book, by any means, but there really is no reason to read it as an adult. It might be quite enjoyable for a child of the correct age. But if you're going to recommend or give a child a book, why not pick a higher-quality option (like "The Hobbit"), which could offer more depth and value, while being accessible at the same reading level? ( )
  jrissman | Jul 19, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jeff Wheelerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Rudd, KateNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description
King Severn Argentine’s fearsome reputation precedes him: usurper of the throne, killer of rightful heirs, ruthless punisher of traitors. Attempting to depose him, the Duke of Kiskaddon gambles…and loses. Now the duke must atone by handing over his young son, Owen, as the king’s hostage. And should his loyalty falter again, the boy will pay with his life.

Seeking allies and eluding Severn’s spies, Owen learns to survive in the court of Kingfountain. But when new evidence of his father’s betrayal threatens to seal his fate, Owen must win the vengeful king’s favor by proving his worth—through extraordinary means. And only one person can aid his desperate cause: a mysterious woman, dwelling in secrecy, who truly wields power over life, death, and destiny.
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