Paperback ARC, 496 Pages
By: Richard Swan
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟 3/4
“All may be judged by the law, so all may uphold it; but all those who uphold the law may not judge it.”
Ever since I saw the cover reveal for this book, I wanted to read it. The fact that it is published by Orbit and that the synopsis sounded interesting helped taking this decision too. I am thankful for Orbit for sending me a paperback ARC in exchange of an honest review.
I am gonna be honest and say that the beginning of the book was a bit tough for me to go through. However, I saw that my friend Leslie felt the same -and honestly no one gets my bookish taste as she does- so I pushed through and I am glad that I did.
I think there are some interesting (maybe even weird?) decisions that the author took when he wrote this. When I read the synopsis, it mentions Justice Konrad Vonvalt and the story follows him but it does so through the POV of Helena which was quite unusual. I sometimes had to remind myself that the first person point of view is that of Helena and not of Vonvalt. On the other hand, I think some points of the story made more sense that way so it is not something that bothered me as much as I found it fascinating -and sometimes confusing-
The prose itself is very good once I got used to the jargon used. Swan studied law so there is not a better person to write about subjects as the law, ethics and the legal system. The good thing about the book is that it starts from the toughest spot and it keeps getting better till the last chapter. I thought that I will end up giving it 3 stars which increased to 3.5 and finally 3.75 by the end. The opening quotes at the start of each chapter were absolutely great and highlighted most of them.
The world building is simple, the magical system is not a big part of the story but what we got was intriguing and I hope to see more in the next novels. I think it focuses more on the legal system rather than the magical one which once again I think is weird but fascinating for a fantasy novel.
“Power does things to a man’s mind. It unlocks his baser instincts which the process of civilisation has before occluded. Powerful men are closer in mind to wild beasts than they are to their supposed human inferiors.”
Summary: The Justice of Kings is a riveting tale that shows what writing outside the box is. There were some beguiling choices but overall it had solid writing, fleshed out characters and a nice story line. The world building is simple and concise and I hope to get more of the story in the next entries.