Kingdom of Exiles (The Beast Charmer #1) by Maxym M Martineau
Read: 29th – 31st May 2019
Publication Date: 25th June 2019
Quote from Kingdom of Exiles
“By the time evening fell, three things were certain: the gelatinous chunks of lamb were absolute shit, my beady-eyed client was hankering for more than the beasts in my possession, and someone was watching me.
Two out of the three were perfectly normal.”
My Overall Rating: 5/5
Plot: 5/5 – Flow: 5/5 – Character Development: 5/5 – World Building: 5/5
Kingdom of Exiles is the début novel (approximately 448 pages) from Maxym M Martineau that kicks off her new series – The Beast Charmer. Ms Martineau has created a whole new fantasy world called Lendria where you either live within the protective walls of the royal city of Wilheim or take your chances in the various towns like Midnight Jester or Ortega Key. Lendria is a continent filled with deadly assassins, magic users, ordinary folk just trying to survive, a whole host of imaginative wild creatures and the race of people that can tame them called Charmers.
If you’ve read any of my reviews before, you’ll know that I write about how the story was told rather than the plot itself, which means that my reviews don’t contain spoilers of any kind or reveal any plot twists, so here’s what the official blurb has to say about the story:
Fantastic Beasts meets Assassin’s Creed in this epic, gripping fantasy romance from debut author Maxym M. Martineau.
Exiled beast charmer Leena Edenfrell is in deep trouble. Empty pockets forced her to sell her beloved magical beasts on the black market—an offense punishable by death—and now there’s a price on her head. With the realm’s most talented murderer-for-hire nipping at her heels, Leena makes him an offer he can’t refuse: powerful mythical creatures in exchange for her life.
If only it were that simple. Unbeknownst to Leena, the undying ones are bound by magic to complete their contracts, and Noc cannot risk his brotherhood of assassins…not even to save the woman he can no longer live without.
So, before we get into what I thought about this book, I want you to know that I was given an unedited digital version of this book for free from the publisher (Sourcebooks Cassablanca) after making a request via Netgally.com in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review; these are my words, I’m giving you my honest opinion here.
As a début author, I was very impressed with Ms Martineau’s writing style; it felt graceful, rich but was very easy to read. I thought that the story itself was intelligent and felt well planned out. I enjoyed her prose; the way she weaved realistic human and animal behaviours into her new fantasy world; it was inspiring. Kingdom of Exiles is an unexpected treasure.
Ms Martineau writes her story from a “first person point of view” but allows both her main characters – Leena and Noc – to lead the reader with their own chapters/sections, giving us a chance to read their inner dialogue; I really like this because it helped me to gain a further depth of understanding, empathy and connection to both Leena and Noc.
Those of you who have read my reviews before, will know that I enjoy a story more when the lead female character is intelligent, resilient, self-reliant and has a good sense of humour. Leena Edenfrell is everything that I look for in a lead female character; tough, witty, able to hold her own but with a good moral compass and a kind and loyal heart.
In fact, I loved the fact that all of the characters in this book have been written with multifaceted personalities, having their own set of foibles and emotional baggage, there are no stereotypical good or evil characters here which makes them all feel real and I look forward to becoming better acquainted with the rest of the supporting cast in the subsequent books.
There are a few aspects to the plot line in Kingdom of Exiles; conspiracies, betrayals, romance, mystery and adventure and I enjoyed every one of the twists and turns that Ms Martineau took us on.
I loved the fact that I experienced a myriad of emotions while reading Kingdom of Exiles; the banter and humour made me chuckle, I shed a tear or two during the more emotional revelations, the fighting and action scenes fed my adrenalin fix, the tension and horror had me on the edge of my seat, the romance warmed my heart and the passion titillated my tummy and put fire in my blood. In other words, I was gripped and couldn’t stop reading.
There was nothing about this book that didn’t work or niggled me, hence the 5 star ratings.
As Kingdom of Exiles is the first book in new series there are background story arcs that are left unresolved, however, for those of you like me who HATE huge life or death cliff-hangers, rest assured, Ms Martineau doesn’t leave us hanging with an immediately perilous situation like that.
I didn’t want to stop reading this amazing fantasy story. It had everything that I look for in a great story; intelligent writing style that’s easy to read, main characters with depth of personality that I can really get my teeth into, depth of character in the supporting cast, gripping background story, believable settings and a balanced mix of aspects; adventure, relationship, tension, action and mystery.
Due to some of the more adult themes and violent scenes, I would only recommend this book to adults who are not offended by this sort of content who enjoy independent capable heroines, tense often traumatic and brutal confrontations within epic fantasy adventures. Kingdom of Exiles is an amazing début and I can’t wait to read whatever comes next!
So, has my review of KINGDOM OF EXILES encouraged you to find out more? I really hope so. Just click on any of the links below to check out the book yourself or to find out more about the author.
(I am part of Amazon , The Book Depository, Foyles Book Shop and Waterstones affiliate programmes, which means when you use those links to buy a copy of this book, I will get a (very) small % from the sale.)
Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read my review.