The Witch King | Book Review

I received an eARC from Edleweiss and the publishers. All opinions are my own.

Wyatt would give anything to forget where he came from—but a kingdom demands its king.

In Asalin, fae rule and witches like Wyatt Croft…don’t. Wyatt’s betrothal to his best friend, fae prince Emyr North, was supposed to change that. But when Wyatt lost control of his magic one devastating night, he fled to the human world.

Now a coldly distant Emyr has hunted him down. Despite transgender Wyatt’s newfound identity and troubling past, Emyr has no intention of dissolving their engagement. In fact, he claims they must marry now or risk losing the throne. Jaded, Wyatt strikes a deal with the enemy, hoping to escape Asalin forever. But as he gets to know Emyr, Wyatt realizes the boy he once loved may still exist. And as the witches face worsening conditions, he must decide once and for all what’s more important—his people or his freedom. 

I’m really glad I revisited this book after setting it down for over a year. It was much more enjoyable, being more in the mood for YA fantasy now than I was when I initially received the ARC.

Wyatt is a trans witch who ran away from the kingdom of the Fae into the human world three years ago. He planned to leave his old life and the trauma of his last night behind him, until his ex-fiancé, fae prince Emyr, appears in his backyard bleeding, demanding he come back home.

This book is perfect for readers who like the idea of fae romance stories, but don’t like some of the tropes associated with it. Wyatt and Emyr pokes at the bio-essentialism in a lot of fae stories and the shaky lines of consent around bonded mates. This book also tackles monarchies in YA fantasies overall, how they rarely tackled the systemic problems of monarchy.

Wyatt is a great protagonist who really goes through it in this book. It is him vs the world as Emyr, the head of the Guard, his sister, other witches, and the kingdom are pushing him, demanding things from him, while he doesn’t even want to be there. It makes the book feel kind of heavy, as you’re following Wyatt who is not handling any of this well. If you love messy, angry protagonists, Wyatt is for you. But also, Wyatt has a great internal monologue that helps bring levity.

Also, it must be said, this book is queer as all hell. Wyatt is gay and trans, Briar is bi and ace, Emyr doesn’t have a label but loves Wyatt, and just about every other side character is queer/trans.

That being said, I wasn’t fully convinced to the relationship between Wyatt and Emyr. Well, I was convinced that Emyr was head over heels for Wyatt, I just wasn’t convinced that Wyatt should reciprocate those feelings. “Second chance” romances of any kind are hard to get perfect, and I think that might have been my issue here. I needed a little more development on the romance vs the politics in order to really want these two together.

I rated this 3.5 stars! I really enjoyed this story and while I probably won’t pick up the sequel, I would definitely read from H. E. Edgmon again!

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