• The Witch King

  • The Witch King Duology, Book 1
  • By: H.E. Edgmon
  • Narrated by: Dani Martineck
  • Length: 12 hrs and 1 min
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (112 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

To save a fae kingdom, a trans witch must face his traumatic past and the royal fiancé he left behind. This debut YA fantasy will leave you spellbound.

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.

©2021 H.E. Edgmon (P)2021 Harlequin Enterprises, Limited

What listeners say about The Witch King

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

predictable, but a great queer story!

it's really a cute story. suited mostly for very young adults. great narration and I love a queer story! something different.

3 people found this helpful

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meh

I just was a underwhelmed. this is very much a self-indulgent work, which isnt bad in itself but i didnt really like. plot holes here and there. too many memes used by people who shouldnt know what memes even are.

3 people found this helpful

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One of the most frustrating books I've read

I couldn't finish this one. The main character was awful, the romance was nonexistent, and the "worldbuilding" made me so furious that I had to stop every couple of minutes. Skip this one.

2 people found this helpful

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OMG!

I loved this book!! I'm definitely going to order a physical copy soon, the story is so compelling and I'm in love with the inclusivity of the characters cast in the tale!

2 people found this helpful

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Hilarious fantasy with LGBTQ+ rep!

This was absolutely stunning, I've been searching for books that remind me of how much I adore reading, and this is certainly one of them! The voice acting made a distinct difference between all characters and narration was lovely.
YA books in my experience usually suffer from over used tropes but there was no queerbating here or irritating love triangles! The main character is hilarious as hell, and the entire cast has an array of queer folk.
If you like fantasy, magic, representation of all kinds, this is definitely the book for you.

1 person found this helpful

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Loved it!

This may be my favorite book I've listened to this year. Great story, great narrator, and I need a sequel!

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Plenty of potential, but published too early...

So let me state first off that I did enjoy this book, at least enough to finish it. It strikes me as a story that probably could have sit in the oven a little longer to really finish coming together before being published... which is to say, there's immense potential here for what it could have been, versus what it actually is. I'll also preface this with I may just be older than the target audience for this book and my thoughts should probably be taken with a grain of salt. I'm also like, not new to social justice and have been living out in the open as a transmasc person for 10+ years at this point which may also inform a lot of my thinking here. /Ultimately/, it's a good story with an interesting premise! It's just... not there yet.

I'll divide this into a couple things-- first off, the narration.
Dani did a great job portraying Wyatt, and the other characters, but since this is written in first-person perspective I put more weight on Wyatt than the others. I will say that I think this is a book better /read/ rather than /listened to/, because there were several instances in which I could not tell if what was being said was being verbalized by Wyatt, or just something he was thinking. I've listened to other first-person books before and haven't had that problem - without seeing the text, I'm unsure if this is a problem with the narrator or with how the text is structured. Either way - Dani's performance was great and I'll have to keep an eye out for them in the future!

Okay- onto the text itself. First I want to touch on something I think others would find important:

Transness-
As expected from a trans author, it's written in a way that conveys lived experience. Wyatt is never deadnamed in a way the reader will hear (he is deadnamed, but we never learn what his deadname is), and when he is misgendered it's fairly brief and the offender is quickly chastised for doing so. Wyatt's transness is not a major Problem in the story, and even antagonists correctly name and gender him (outside of 2-3 instances). It's other aspects of Wyatt's identity that are more problematic for him. I admittedly picked this book up because I haven't actually come across very many stories with trans masc leads, let alone /gay/ trans masc leads, and I had really been hoping it wouldn't be treated as a Big Deal - that hope came true. : ) That said, Wyatt states /several/ times that he does not want to be Emyr's "baby factory" and that doesn't get addressed until near the end of the book. At least by Emyr. No one else addresses it. Not even Briar, his best friend, has anything to say about that particular thing. For a book with a transmasc lead, I personally feel like that's a Pretty Big Deal to not explicitly address when so many other things are addressed nearly to the point of bringing the reader/listener out of the story.

Meme lingo- or rather, AAVE and some meme lingo.
I saw this mentioned in another review, so I expected it, but it is a little over the top and on more than one occasion left me feeling pulled out of the story. A lot of the phrases will absolutely date this, which is fine, but it tends to be a little bit /much/ in the grand scheme of things and sort of pulls you out of the moment. I'm not Black so I can't really comment on the use of AAVE but it did sort of strike me as language being used in a way that it probably wasn't intended to be used.

Self-Indulgent Power Fantasy-
Let me state first off that I totally support being as self-indulgent as you want in your writing. Fiction is about making real what you want to see, and this book does that. It's very heavy-handed about it. If that sort of thing isn't your cup of tea, you may want to consider something else. I agree with what the author is trying to say here - burn the systems of oppression to the ground, nothing about them can be "fixed" because they aren't actually broken. The systems are working as designed.

Plot and Timeline-
So. This is where I think the book could have sat and baked a bit longer to reach completion. Or perhaps gone through another few rounds of editing with someone that could really bring out what the author was trying to go for here. It doesn't feel complete. I still don't actually know what time frame this book takes place in. A few weeks? A few months? Every so often Wyatt will mention that a couple days have passed, but the days we actually spend in the narration are so jam packed with Things Happening that it's very hard to keep track of how long some things take versus other things. The plot speeds up and slows down in a way that's a bit jarring and difficult to keep track of.

Large chunks of drama or plot twists seem a little unnecessary when taking into consideration where the book ends, and who our antagonists are. For a large portion of the book, I found Emyr to be a person I wanted to like but could not comfortably do so because a major Issue (see above) with Wyatt was not addressed until the last like, 1/4th of the book. It's not as if this particular issue is not brought up several times before it finally gets addressed between Wyatt and Emyr, either. And even when it is addressed, it isn't /really/ addressed so much as its set aside as a "we'll cross that bridge when we get to it."

Cis Men and The Straights-
So. I get it. I do. Straight and Cisgender people hold quite a bit of social power over the rest of us queers. But I have a bit of a bone to pick with the way this story only ever goes after Cisgender Men, without ever really acknowledging that Cisgender Women can be just as awful and invalidating. If there's an opportunity to take a pot shot at cishets, in particular cishet men, this book takes it. I'm a little disappointed, really. For a book that prioritizes liberation, equity, and justice, some of its politics around gender and sexuality when it pertains to cisgender and heterosexual people are severely lacking. Cisgender, Heterosexual Men are not a monolith. Men, as a class, are not privileged solely on the base of their gender and the author sort of gets that? A little? But it's hard to take it seriously when a chapter is subtitled something along the lines of "That's enough cis men for the day" or something like that.

At one point an antagonist is taken out and the badass one liner that's said is "is anyone else tired of listening to straight men talk?" (close approximation to what was said) as if the character's sexuality has anything to do with the evil he was committing, or trying to commit. Like, I get it. I really do. I'm a nonbinary transmasc person that's definitely not straight myself so I /get it/ but it really just seems over the top, unnecessary, and sometimes just mean spirited.

Anyway, tl;dr,
The Witch King has immense potential to be a truly great story with a real engaging protagonist... but isn't there yet. It needed a few more rounds of editing or some other eyes on the story before it'll reach that point. Ultimately, I liked it for what it /could have been/ rather than what it /actually is/ and I don't really regret purchasing the book... but I won't be continuing with the series.

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Great book

I really enjoyed the book. great story telling! great lead into book 2 maybe. I'm glad I chose this book.

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A wonderful fantasy book, that touches on dark truths.

I absolutely loved this book! It had me laughing so often. I think Wyatt is hilarious and relatable. Especially the way he’s not created to be the perfect ideal of what it means to be trans. Instead he’s an angry teenager with a lot of trauma to work through.
This is the type of fantasy book I wish had been available to me when I was a teen. Very fun and full of magic, while still touching on some very serious topics.