Rating: 4.25 stars
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King Zachary Chamberlain is murdered by an unknown assailant. It sends the Chamberlain family into a troubling time as the family moves quickly to assure villagers they are safe. With four princes and one princess in the family, there are lots of opinions, but since Tobias is the oldest, he is the rightful heir to the throne. But whether everyone will accept that decision remains to be seen. There are plenty of suspicions, betrayal, back-stabbing, and relationships on the edge of demise as a kingdom starts to feel the strain.
Death of the King opens the Majesty series with more drama and intrigue from author Jake Biondi. It follows the Chamberlain family and their actions as the head of the family, who is also the king, is found dead in his chambers. No one seems to question that eldest son Tobias will take the crown, but the siblings are under a lot of strain to find the killer and assure the kingdom they are safe.
Biondi writes his books like a nighttime TV show and this book is visual and fast moving with lots of characters and lots of drama and then even some more drama. We get to know some of the princes and the princess better than others at this stage, but they all have strong roles here.
It’s a lot to go into the entire plot, as with a drama-style script there are lots of storylines going on at once. Biondi does this so well as he lays out the players and has us follow them along for all of the intrigue and sordid details. Although we are not told when the story takes place, it is not modern day, as the men ride horseback and the castle comes complete with a dungeon. The storylines cross over and all of the characters are connected, whether they realize it or not.
I read this book straight through, although that was not my intention when I started it. It was a fast read and held my attention as all the pieces started to take shape and I was really caught up in this world. It is difficult not to think of Biondi’s other ensemble series, Boystown, when reading this as there were some similar scenarios here that were noticeable. With the dialog and narrative, some scenes flowed well, where others sounded a bit stilted and the narrative read as uneven in some places.
But, overall, the Majesty series is shaping up to be one filled with murder, suspicion, betrayal, and drama, and I am here for all of it. Where a TV show you sometimes are shown a glimpse of a finale scene, this didn’t happen as much here and most details are deliberately left off page, leaving many characters in peril. This certainly added to the tension and the drama, but it will depend on how long the wait is for the next installment to come out for me to determine if there are too many cliffhangers here. If you are looking for an ensemble royalty story that moves quickly, with plenty of drama and intrigue and family dynamics, you will want to check out the Majesty series.