Copy received via NetGalley for an honest review.
“Maybe you have gone mad, and only for a little spell.”
Four Kings is a delightful blend of literary and dark fantasy with a hint of everyone’s childhood favorite, Alice in Wonderland.
But. This book is so much more than that. To be honest, I did not even stop to look at the synopsis before requesting it (I almost always don’t haha). I did it on a whim only because of its seriously beautiful cover – sooo dark. And yes, there are pictures in it just like the one the cover! Anyway, upon reading the first few chapters, Elster’s atmospheric prose crept into my skin and I was transported to post-WWII Louisiana with its jazz clubs, French opulence, and renowned weather conditions. Anais Reynard, who is the 14 year old main character, has a distinct old world voice that I thought was a bit too advanced for her age. Nevertheless, I still loved the way her mind worked, especially for someone so young who’s been through a lot *sniffs. What has she been through, you ask? Well, she was sent to an asylum in New Orleans after her stepfather got shot and fell into a coma, right after their house got hit by a freak hurricane. I mean, who wouldn’t go crazy at that. And so she did go crazy, or at least she thought she did, because right after she woke up from her post-trauma episode, she found a key – a key that led to the land of The Four Kings.
I was giddy the entire first half of the story because I got to meet many fantastical creatures and explore their world. The world-building, although not as detailed as a high fantasy, had its own history and even had a bit of fairy tale quality to it which I loved, and which Anais did too. There was a murder mystery in the central plot of the book both in the land of The Four Kings and in Anais’ New Orleans. And in both, she was tasked to solve it and find out the culprit behind the strange happenings in the land where human girls are being drained of their blood to make an army of zombies; and in New Orleans where they are trying to make her well enough to testify and find out the criminal who tried to kill her father. As the novel progressed, it went from varying degrees of fast-paced to so incredibly slow that I only managed to hold on until things started falling into place and I had to put my Sherlock cap and pipe on to find out the criminals. The ending, even though I succeeded in finding out what happened, still shocked me when Anais’ memories finally came back to her and all questions were answered.
This book’s winning trait wasn’t its imaginative premise, but in the story that it tells behind what it seems to show. Four Kings is more about a young girl’s journey through her mind and the discovery she makes about how powerful it truly is, no matter how unreliable and no matter how mad. It is a journey of a person who finds healing from fairy tales in a dark and dangerous world. I loved it because – don’t we all?
Oh, and by the way guys. You can watch the seriously creepy and haunting book trailer for Four Kings right here.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Rating: 4 stars